When I first moved to Amsterdam's East neighbourhood, Oost, the area was changing a lot. At this time I was going to culinary school and I was looking for a shop that would let me sell my coffee and freshly baked goods. So I went around and knocked on some doors, but got little response. That’s when I decided to build something of my own.
I registered with the local council and felt so gratified when they saw the potential. I found a small space that would fit perfectly. That’s when everything started coming together. The landlord informed the council was overseeing renovations and the space would almost double in size. At that point a friend approached me and told me she wanted to open a shop. We decided to go ahead together: a shop and a café in one. We settled on ‘Hartje Oost’ because it’s in the centre of Oost and because it’s a labour of love: from its conception to the fresh coffee every morning.
At the time we joined the neighbourhood so much was changing around here. The whole area was being gentrified. It was clear to us from the start that we wanted to offer something new that would give something back to the area. You’ll find much of the food and items are local: groceries from around the corner, meat from the butcher at the market, bread from the Turkish bakery next door.
You’ll find brands close in location and close to our hearts. Many of them come from artists and designers who come in looking for a place to display the creations. In our clothing, jewellery, and lifestyle collection we focus on timeless pieces, which were durably made. Like we want to positively impact our direct surroundings we also believe in doing our part for the future of the planet.
Come in and you’ll find regulars, our neighbours coming round for a chat, a connection with everyone who walks through the door. We’re like a village hall - just add the fresh brands and strong coffee. My goal is for people to leave feeling a bit lighter on their feet. When people go I want them to feel happy, like you do after spending some time with friends.
Oost is my home, so I wanted to build something here. When Hartje Oost started, all the business bits were done the wrong way round. The focus was on what we were building. I had fallen in love with it and I knew everyone else would too. The combination of the cafe and the boutique makes us different. Our charm makes us unique.