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Our Newest Store in Amsterdam: Mingling Tradition with Innovation

Only a few months ago I was standing with our design team inside a cavernous concrete shell below the beautiful city of Amsterdam. We were inside “The Bank,” a landmark building in Rembrandt Square, and were about to transform the empty 1,400 square foot bank vault into the biggest single space for one of our stores in all of Europe. It had to honor the existing architecture and culture of the city, but is also had to feel just like your neighborhood Starbucks.

We started with a deep study of Dutch design.  The Dutch have a strong sensibility of using open spaces with clean lines – a simple aesthetic combined with functional ingenuity.  But this is also a culture rich with trade history that influences an inviting, intimate and relaxed old world aesthetic, and no one knows this more than our Dutch-born Concept Design Director Liz Muller and her team in Amsterdam.

It was important to employ local artists and use indigenous materials as much as possible – decisions in direct support of our commitment to sustainable building using LEED practices. Exposed stone walls and repurposed Dutch oak picks up the aged beauty of blue and white Delftware tiles, a local art form dating back to the 16th century, while a cartographic mural celebrates the history of 17th century Dutch coffee traders. And should your eyes wander up, the ceiling features an undulating relief composed of 1,876 hand-cut and stained wooden blocks forming the face of our Siren. 

This is a store that breaks new ground for us in Europe. It’s the first store in Europe to feature Starbucks Reserve® coffee via the Clover® brewing system, and our first store equipped with its own in-house bakery.  The experience that is brought to life in this store - new design aesthetics, amplified coffee theater, and the depth of connection to the culture of this place – sets the stage for  our future across Europe. 

“My vision was to bring the space to life by celebrating local history and tradition,” says Liz, “while looking to the future by giving it a sense of theatre and discovery.”

Next time your travels bring you to Amsterdam, we invite you to stop in and explore this innovative coffeehouse – a place where history and possibility merge into one. 

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