Earlier this week I cam back from The Netherlands and thought I’d give a round up of 5 must-see shops when visiting Haarlem City. There were literally a zillion places that I really, really enjoyed visiting but if you only have a few days and you want to visit some lovilee and big chain-stores that have not made their way to South Africa in terms of decor, these ones are a MUST! So grateful to friendy Liezel from Match Set Love for all her time and awesome navigation skills taking me everywhere I wanted to go!

1. IKEA Haarlem

Don’t even get me started on IKEA, I have raved about this place since my first visit to one of these stores in France a few years back and it is just as amazing as I remembered. This store is situated just outside the hustle and bustle of Haarlem city itself and is accessible by train. IKEA is set up in such a way that you enter the shop and visit the whole store by following the one-way passage and arrows leading throughout the different store sections.

Upon entering the store you are greeted with a lifestyle section of real rooms decorated only with items that can be purchased throughout the rest of the store. Kitchens, bedrooms, dining and living room areas, even smaller patio sections to inspire and get you ready for the next section – Furniture and bigger decor items. Next up are the smaller items and storage that you can start loading into your shopping bags and then lastly the big warehouse where you can collect the flatpak furniture items that you desire.

The store also boasts a coffee shop halfway through the shopping trip as well as at the end that sells affordable food items and beverages. Visit the IKEA website.

Ikea catalogues

2. HEMA Haarlem City

O my goodness… Think paperie, gifting, clothing, decor and more, all under one roof! I LOVED this store, upon entering there was a stationary section that I emptied out – washi tape, gift bags, tags and gift paper. Little note books, paperclips, you name it! I also found my letterboard that I shared on Instagram in this store, I have wanted one for ages.

There were plenty of other lovilee items that included light boxes and clothing items and accessories for little people. Their bedding was also stunning!!! I could have brought quite a few options home with me. HEMA almost reminds me of our Clicks stores as they also have some lovilee kitchen accessories and then lifestyle products and make-up at great prices should you be in need of these whilst shopping. Visit the HEMA website.

Hema letterboard

3. XENOS Haarlem City

I was lucky to find a store product brochure of the items on sale before I visited this store for the first time, so I could already plan what I wanted to see beforehand. The store boasts a large kitchen accessories and decor section with some furniture items on their upper level. They alos had some lovilee gifts for kids that included some kids eating utensils and sets as well as party decor.

What I loved about this store was the gift wrapping station that they had to the front of the store where you can wrap the gifts that you purchased free of charge. They also sold some nice sweets to take back for the little (and not so little) people at home. Visit the XENOS website.

Xenos Haarlem City

4. Flying Tiger Haarlem City

This shop is filled with quirky and well-priced items that are great to take back as cadeaus (gift-items). There are witty party decor and supplies and plenty of stationary to choose from. I found some great items on this store that will be part of our ‘Follow the Fox’ give-away launching next week.

They had funny game items, really gorgeous ceramics, bathroom items and more, all smaller accessory items that can easily fit in a bag for you to bring with home. This store did not accept my Visa / Mastercard so I had to purchase the items I paid for in Euros. Visit the Flying Tiger website.

Flying Tiger Haarlem

5. Sissy Boy Homeland

The perfect fusion between great taste and great decor. This new flagship store is gorgeously laid out and boasts a must-visit coffee shop. The one section having clothing and then the other decor items. Items that they had available were unique and pretty items like egg cups, planters, frames and throws. There was also a smaller section with kids decor items and clothing – everything items that were totally swoon-worthy.

I also spotted another one of these stores at the Train station in Amsterdam, a smaller version, but equally pretty! Visit the Sissy Boy decor website.

Sissy Boy Homeland Haarlem

We are obviously really privileged to have such stores as H&M now in South Africa (at the V&A Waterfront as well as Mall of Africa) as well as ZARA home, so if you want to get a head start before visiting Haarlem City… Get to one of these! And remember off-course that you can purchase a selected number of items from IKEA via MYKEA here in South Africa.

My tips for shopping in Europe

  1. Wear comfortable flat shoes.
  2. Always take foldable and re-useable shopping bags with you.
  3. Make a list of must-find or items you are on the lookout for beforehand. I really got side-tracked :).
  4. Plan your shopping route beforehand. Fortuanately Liezel could navigate me around the city!
  5. Not all of the stores accept Mastercard of Visa cards, so I always carried some cash with me.

And if you feel you can’t shop anymore there is always The Yoghurt Barn that you can visit, great coffee, healthy eats and stunning decor!

The Yoghurt Barn Haarlem City

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Karen Kelly is the founder and editor of lovilee.co.za. KaRi is also owner and creative director of weddinghangers.co.za. Learn more about her here and connect with her on social media on the links below.

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