Welcome to The Cuckoo Jar, a blog by Nanna Koekoek - illustrator, music- and flea market junkie.
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9 November 2011

Happening Haarzuilens

My friend Renée and I were working together at here place in Utrecht today, when we needed an extended break around lunch time. As we had some wheels to our disposal Renée decided this was a good opportunity to take me to the nearby village of Haarzuilens.

It's a pretty little village; it consists of nothing more than a castle, a few neighboring houses, a couple of restaurants (I'm sure they all serve pancakes), a common ground and a bus stop. The houses all have wooden doors and shutters, which are painted in the colors of castle: red and white. 

Nothing ever happens in Haarzuilens, it's a sleepy town. Expect on Wednesday afternoon! When the local charity shop Emmaus opens its doors at 1 pm promptly!! The only parking lot in the village fills up quickly with scavengers from all over the region and queues form in front of the several buildings (yes there are separate buildings for the 2nd hand furniture, clothing and books, records, lamps and kitchenware!). As Renée said: "It's an event". There is even a little coffee shop and a Vietnamese guy who sells spring rolls, soups, and excellent fries from his van (I know they were excellent because I had some. With frietsaus - a creamier version of mayonnaise). 

I wondered why there's this huge charity shop in a tiny, fairly posh village. So I did some research and turns out the shop came to existence in Haarzuilens after the founder of the Emmaus charity, the Frenchman Abbé Pierre, had incidentally met the duchess of Van Zuylen Van Nijevelt. She offered him the use of part of the castle grounds. And so the charity for the homeless and the poor started operating from one of the pigsties in 1966. Up until this day people live on the grounds and the community runs the shop. 

If you ever fancy going, here's the address: Eikstraat 14, 3455 SJ, Haarzuilens. Open every Wednesday 13.00-16.00 and every last Saturday of the month 11.00-13.00. Who knows what you will find...

I was so tempted to buy this dispenser, but it was so dirty I was afraid to touch it. I didn't dare open it to see what the inside was like. The outside didn't look promising (the picture doesn't do the smudge justice at all!!).

Another item I left with pain in my heart. But it just had too many scratches.

 Kitchenalia a plentyful.

No idea what this was. It looked like a Sinterklaas sleeping bag
Or may be it was an all-in-one suit?? 

I scored some awesome cookie moulds for baking speculaas, a Dutch cookie with lots of spices that traditionally is eaten during the Sinterklaas festivities early December (I promise to blog about this Sinterklaas character later!)

And I got myself some bright mint green lace ups! How cool are these?! ∨


  1. Oh die Sun Ra! Leuke schoenen hoor.

  2. Maar niet zo leuk als die Sun Ra had kunnen zijn he?