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Antique and Curiosities Market (Utrecht)

Last weekend we went to visit the “Antiek & Curiosa markt” (Antique & Oddities market) in Utrecht and found hundreds, maybe even thousands, of time capsules that brought us back to grandmother’s time. We literally spent nearly 5 hours browsing all off the stands and were stunned with what kind of antiques we could get our hands on. The market had more than 120 stands and was happening both days of the weekend and we were lucky with the beautiful sunny day to travel down to Utrecht for this.

Little drummer boy dollThe entrance fee was a mere 5 euros and gave you access to the entire market for one whole day. You can get there easily by public transport by bus from station Utrecht Centraal on line 25. We could get off at a bus stop right in front of the Central Studios venue and could go back again using the same bus which left every 20 minutes back to station Utrecht Centraal.

We bought ourselves a little bit of history as well: a set of three containers for coffee, tea and sugar, two manual coffee bean grinders, a wooden chopping board, a silver necklace, a complete set of vintage wooden chess pieces, a fountain pen, an ink pot and a liter of ink that will last another life time.

Jihui’s story
Here today, gone tomorrow... no, still there

I like to go to a flea market and antique market is even better. But when Mark suggested to go to antique market held in Utrecht, first I was reluctant to say ‘Yes!’. Because of  unfriendly dutch winter weather and disappointment from IJ-Hallen market where I visited with such a big expectation months ago. But Utrecht antique market turned out to be a hidden gem. Basically the market was composed with people who own antique stores (I guess) and that’s why every stand was decorated well like a show window of a small cozy antique store. Most sellers in the market proved ‘antique’ for themselves.  It brought me back to my childhood when I used to go to a antique market with my daddy in Korea. Me and my daddy had a lot of fun and  shopped an old telephone or a big dusty record player which bothered my mom. As my daddy had done, some sellers explained the history of the stuff and those days.

Especially I got inspired by vintage packages from old soap, fragrance bottle and even tobacco produced around second world war. Letter’s font and color combination were beautiful. Stratton powder compacts were very tempting but my shopping ended up with practical items. We shopped a wooden cutting board, DE coffee hand mill and coffee jar sets, vintage ink pen, ink container and “1 ltr”of ink for Mark’s life long writing, two records of Bing Crosby and a necklace with small dutch clog pendant. Indoor lighting and good display helped us to take nice pictures as well. I got overwhelmed by those images but never bored.

Mark kept saying ‘Oh, my grand mother has this kind of oil lamp!’ ‘This is the same object my mom had before’. It must have been a travel back to the old memories for him and to me was one step further to understand dutch culture. Anyone who is interested in vintage and antique items, it’s definitely worth visiting. Things are changing but some things are still there.

Tip #1. This market is more focused on antique home accessories and hobby stuff,  but clothes. If you expect more vintage design clothes you’d better not check this market.

Tip #2. Entrance fee is 5€ and there is only one small coffee corner near by the entrance. Bargain is another fun. Actually it’s very common to pay the entrance fee for special market here. But I’ve never done it in Korea nor China. So I couldn’t understand why I should pay to shop in the market but this market was worthy. Because it was almost like a small museum  filled with interesting stuff to me.

Tip #3. There is a flea market street near by Cheonggyecheon in Seoul, South Korea. If you are interested in Korean traditional or antique stuff, never forget to check the area called Hwanghak-dong during travel in Korea.

Mark’s story
Curiosities and time capsules all in one place

As soon as we entered the market I was surprised by the amount of stands. There were fewer than I expected, but as we walked further we found a second hall which was even bigger. We were amazed by the amount of antiques and vintage items we could see on every stand. The first stand we stopped at had so many interesting items that we were gawking at them for nearly 20 minutes. As soon as we left this stand we already had our first purchase: a dark wooden chopping board.

We went on to other stands and kept saying to each other how we want to have it all! So much to see, too much to take in. Most of the things sold here were in such a good condition that it seemed like they were taken straight out of my grandma’s house. I kept telling Jihui: “Look, my mom used to have that hanging in the living room!” or “I remember my grandma having this on top of the fireplace!” I had to keep myself from calling up the bottom of my cash limit. So we kept walking on and just kept admiring.

Soon I started looking out for something related to calligraphy. A fountain pen, some ink and maybe an ink pot, and maybe even a nice writing desk. Before we left home I was secretly hoping for a cocktail cart, but I soon found out they didn’t have anything like this.
When we were halfway I finally found what I was looking for: a fountain pen, a bottle of ink (1 liter!) and a double ink pot. My goal was met and I could now enjoy the market just looking around instead of scouting. From the same stand where I got my “goodies” we got Jihui a nice silver necklace with a little shoe on it. A nice little trinket that you would only find at an antique market like this.

All the way at the other side of the market we found more valuable gems. One more precious than the other. Here it was where we also got a box of vintage chess pieces. Sadly enough without a board, but nonetheless a treasure you wouldn’t want to miss. Once we were settled we quickly became unstoppable and bought a manual coffee grinder, a set of milk glass “DE” branded containers and a couple of bakelite records of Bing Crosby.

The whole market was the first one of its kind we went to and we enjoyed every single minute of it. The major advantage was that it’s easy to get to from station “Utrecht Centraal” by bus 25. The entrance fee is very reasonable (€ 5) and the atmosphere was informal. I would definitely recommend visiting if you don’t expect a huge market, given that there are bigger markets out there and outdoors.