Saturday, June 23, 2007

IKEA, helping the needy...especially in Holland

The population of the Netherlands is 16,570,613, tiny compared to the UK which has 60,209,500 people. So if the population of Netherlands is 27.5% of the size of the UK, how come, HOW COME, the Netherlands has 12 IKEAs, but the UK only has 15?

Map source: and

Nothing is different about the stores. In both countries IKEA follows the exact same store format, which guides you through the different rooms of a house upstairs, and then kitchen ware, rugs, lighting, pictures and plants downstairs. In both stores you need to queue for half an hour to pay for your shopping, but in the Netherlands of course that's because only 10% of the available cash tills are in service at any one time.

The only reason I can think of that might explain why there is a greater availability of IKEAs in Holland per person is that it is in fact a Dutch owned organisation. IKEA is registered as a foundation in the Netherlands, which basically gives it similar rights to a charity organisation and better tax rates etc. I guess the idea is that IKEA is creating low-cost furniture for the needy. Perhaps the Dutch are just more needy than the British.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, I saw the link to your blog at facebook. Great to read your stories about my country; it's all completely true!
I think we have so many Ikea's because the Dutch just love to hunt for bargains. (Well you'll know all the expressions with the word 'dutch' involved: it's really based on something!) And besides the idea that everything at IKEA is cheap I think the decorating style of the Dutch has maybe more 'similarities' with the style of the Swedes than the British has. Or am I wrong about that??

Sarah de Mul said...

I'm not sure whether the Dutch have more in common, decorating-wise, with the Swedes or not. All I know is that most young Brits (18-35) love IKEA as it makes furnishing the houses they live in cheap and easy. And when you consider the price they pay for the house in the first place, the cost of decorating it needs to cost as little as possible.

Paul said...

For all IKEA fanatics, this is a great blog to follow...

I have yet to post photos of my own "hacks" which include a nifty shoe cabinet, boiler cupboard and computer desk.

Anonymous said...

I think in the case of furniture,
you definitely get what you pay for. I would instead pay a little bit more to make sure that I am getting top quality pieces
that should last.