De Bijenkorf

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De Bijenkorf
Department store
Industry Retail
Founded 1870, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Headquarters Amsterdam
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.

De Bijenkorf (literally, "the beehive"[1]) is a chain of high-end department stores in the Netherlands with its flagship store on Dam Square, Amsterdam. It was founded by Simon Philip Goudsmit (1845–1889).

De Bijenkorf was owned by Maxeda (formerly known as VendexKBB), but at the end of 2010 was sold to the Weston family that also owns Britain's Selfridges, Canada's Holt Renfrew and Ireland's Brown Thomas. The Weston family also owns 54.5% of Associated British Foods which in turn is the parent company of Primark.


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De Bijenkorf flagship store on Dam Square in Amsterdam

De Bijenkorf was founded in 1870 by Simon Philip Goudsmit (1845-1889), starting as a small haberdashery shop at 132 Nieuwendijk, one of Amsterdam's oldest streets. Initially limited to yarn and ribbons and employing a staff of four, the stock expanded gradually. After the death of Goudsmit in 1889, Goudsmit's widow expanded the business with the help of a cousin, Arthur Isaac, and her son Alfred, eventually purchasing adjacent buildings. In 1909, these connecting shops were replaced by a new building.

That same year, a temporary building was erected on the site of the demolished Beurs van Zocher, and construction of a new store commenced beside it.

De Bijenkorf in The Hague

In 1926, a second store was constructed in The Hague. It was designed by architect Piet Kramer and stands as an example of Amsterdam School architecture.

Rotterdam store, 1930-1940

A third store opened in Rotterdam in 1930, designed by Willem Dudok. 700,000 people attended the ceremony. The store was heavily damaged in the Rotterdam Blitz of 1940. The intact part of the store remained open to business until 1957, but was cleared in 1960 to build the Rotterdam Metro. A new store was designed by Hungarian-American architect Marcel Breuer (1902–1981).

As of 2014, de Bijenkorf has 10 stores nationwide. The oldest and largest branches, situated in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam have retail space ranging between 15,000 and 21,000 square meters. Smaller stores (7,500-10,000 m² of retail space) can be found in Amstelveen, Eindhoven, Utrecht and Maastricht. The branches in Breda, Den Bosch and Groningen specialize in fashion (3,000 m² retail space).

World War II[edit]

During the occupation of Amsterdam by the Nazis, they did not want their soldiers shopping at De Bijenkorf due to it being of "Jewish concern." The store could not close due to its popularity, thus, they prohibited German soldiers from shopping on the ground floor. The ground floor was where the majority of the Jewish employees worked, in the luxury goods department.[1]

See also[edit]

De Bijenkorf (Rotterdam)


  1. ^ a b Martin Dunford (2010). The Rough Guide to The Netherlands. Penguin. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1-84836-882-8.