I’m a serious fan of shops selling stationery and household goods. As an exchange student in Maastricht, it became all the more important that such shops exist because they are crucial to all the stuff that helps us cope with hostel life! Here are the shops that I mainly visit to buy essential goods for the hostel, beside the supermarkets (which you can read about in this post).
HEMA sells literally everything except fresh groceries. I like to buy their stationery and snacks. They sell stoopwafels that can be even cheaper than C1000! You can also buy bicycle accessories cheaply too. I bought my strap-on bicycle lights and cable lock from HEMA at only the cost of a few euros (less than €10 in total if I remember correctly). Beware though, the keys to the bicycle locks tend to be flimsy and a couple of friends broke their keys inside the lock, rendering the lock to be useless on top of being left stranded with a locked bicycle.
[FYI: The best bicycle locks for the prevention of theft would be those steel U locks, but beware as these are also pricey. Cable locks are much cheaper but can be easily compromised with a good wire cutter which can be easily procured in shops. I saw a massive wire cutter specially designed to cut bicycle locks being sold in Aldi!]
HEMA also sell clothes but what I find most useful among their apparel line is their socks and gloves because mine wears out quickly.
Oh, and do give their hot dog buns a try! I cannot recommend it enough. Their sausages are similar to the German bratwurst and juice spurts out when you bite into the succulent sausage. A must-try! They have food stalls at various train stations and at Schipol Airport.
This shop is my go-to for all my household needs. I bought stuff ranging from bowls and ponchos to shopping bags and even souvenirs in Blokker. They even sell toys. In the photo below, I bought some plastic hangers from Blokker at 3 euros because I was always short of hangers in the hostel (each person is only provided with 2 hangers only).
This chain specialises in skin and hair products, but also sells other related products like tissue paper. Their housebrand products are extremely cheap. I bought the body shower gel at only €1 for a 300ml bottle. A similar-sized bottle would usually cost at least €4 and above depending on the brand.
Similar to Etos above, Kruidvat also specialises in health and beauty products. I think Etos has a wider product range (e.g. wider range of brands for shampoos and soaps), but Kruidvat has a better product mix as they sell a greater variety of products.
To sidetrack a little, thinking of the name “Kruidvat” brings a smile to my face because back then, one of my exchange friends pronounced it as “Kru-dee-vaht” and this sparked off a discussion on whether the “i” came before or after the “d”! When we checked the spelling online, we all started laughing when we realised that no one knew exactly how the shop name was spelt or pronounced, but everyone had a general vague idea of how it should “look” like.
All the shops above are chain stores and can be found everywhere in the Netherlands. But the very best thing about all of them is that they can be found under one roof in Maastricht, and that is at the Brusselsepoort shopping centre near the Guesthouse! 10/10 for convenience! 🙂