HEY, ma, look at this HEMA site!

I am not one to go gaga over websites, but promise me you’ll check this one out. On-line ad from Dutch department store HEMAHet is uitstekend! That’s “it is outstanding!” in Dutch. It’s a shopping site for the ubiquitous Dutch department store HEMA, pronounced HEY-ma. You’ll see its products do the most creative Rube Goldbergian song and dance imagineable. If you haven’t looked yet, do it! And don’t forget to turn on the volume!

The site was passed along to me by Karen Richards in Boston, who has fed me more Where they Went ideas than anyone ever. Karen sent this by way of her friend Nancy Shepard. I wrote about a trip they and friends took, with kids in tow, to Holland in 2002.

logo of Dutch department store HEMAHEMA is known for offering affordable modern products with a touch of design (read, Target) that carry the chain’s name. The first store opened in 1926 in Amsterdam and there are now HEMA shops in Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany. You can imagine the Dutchies’ shock last year when the company was sold to the British investment company Lion Capital. But if this website, created by Dutch ad agency CCCP, is how they’re spending their money, they can’t be all bad. On the flip side, as mod as the site is, customers have to pick up the products in person at a store. That’s gotta change!

Another cool thing about HEMA that Wessel noticed is it organizes a yearly design contest for university students. A very cool dynamic site shows the 2007 winners, while a more static one lists presents them in more organized fashion. The most famous student design, from 1989/1990, is for a whistling kettle called Le Lapin, or the rabbit.

HEMA in Emmen, The NetherlandsWhen I was in Leiden in 2005 for three weeks to study Dutch (I would say to learn Dutch, but I’m not sure that transpired), HEMA was the first store I visited. My pal Victor Benard took me there in search of two items I was desperate for — a plug adapter for my laptop and a fan to drown out the noise from the busy street below my rented room. HEMA had them both. Hoera!

As Karen says, “it always tickles me that in Dutch a shop is called a winkel! It’s a word I can’t say without laughing!” Ik ook, Karen. I agree. Hmmm …. I guess I did learn some Dutch after all!

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12 Responses to “HEY, ma, look at this HEMA site!”

  1. Chris Says:

    Can I purchase items from the HEMA shop, please? If so how do I make contact with them?

  2. didaniel Says:

    Excellent question, Chris. Although the HEMA graphics are ahead of their times, the store’s online services are behind. You can “order” online but you must pick up the items in a store. So that’s not exactly conducive to online shopping. I suggest you visit one of their stores the next time you’re in the Netherlands. HEMA stores are everywhere. Or you can try to eBay approach. You never know… Good luck! — Diane

  3. Mark Says:


    Ikzelf, als Nederlander, vind dat Hema supervet is :P

    (In English: I personally, being Dutch, think that Hema is super cool :P)

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  5. Joline Says:


    I totally agree that the Hema is a very nice and afordable shop to go to. i work in one. But I must correct you on one point, the Netherlands are not that big so picking up yout stuff in the shop isn’t that much of a deal, it even saves you costs of them sending it to you. If you life in the Netherlands you can get your shoppings send to you, but that dos cost you the sending rate. It would be cool if they could send it to other countries. Hope I’ve cleared it up and that you come shopping at the Hema next time you in the Netherlands!

  6. didaniel Says:

    Thanks and dank u wel, Joline. When I wrote that, at the time even Dutch people couldn’t order online at Hema but I think that might have changed now. We Americans love our online shopping. Just today I got a replacement GPS car charger for $5 and no shipping, from Hong Kong! Now I have to go see if it works!

  7. My Says:

    It’s so funny to hear what people think of the Hema. I grew up with the Hema and for a long time it was NOT cool to be seen there….because it is a store like Target.
    But the way they re-new products, the nice designs, the bright colors and low prices….it’s one of my favourite shops! The also won an effie (marketing award) for their commercials. Really cool that people start to notice the shop!

    • didaniel Says:

      It’s always great to get feedback from the locals. What amazes me is that, more than a year of my posting the Hema piece, it gets several views every day. It’s my most-viewed entry. If I made money with views, Hema would be my bread and butter. Alas, it’s just fun to know that so many people are interested in it. Maybe they’ll give me a discount next time I shop there. (Doubt it!)

  8. wil Says:

    oh echt waar HEMA is zo cooooooooooooooooooooooooool

  9. claudia Says:

    I love the hema, especially the colorfull paterns they always use for their products.

  10. Bobbie Says:

    mark, jij snapt hem! (mark, you get the point!)
    HEMA 4 LIFE!!
    its greaaaat, so colourfull, and fresh and cute :D
    im now making an assignment for school (economics) about the hema!
    its about how they work with marketing, commercials, and publicity and stuff. but if you are at holland once.. skip visting hema is no option:) !
    Bobbe from Amsterdam

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