Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands: Drugstores


Having spent the past months writing about beauty and makeup products to which I have access here, I thought it would be good to put things into perspective for you with a series on Beauty Shopping in the Netherlands. Well, you never know when you might swing by this country and when you do, you just might find this series useful. To my fellow Dutch readers, you would probably find this series boring as this is like me talking about what’s in your backyard. However, if you do read this, feel free to chip in if I’ve missed out anything here as these are just the stores that I am aware of.

I will start off this series with the budget-friendly category: The Drugstores.

1. Kruidvat
Pronounced krowd-vaat
With more than 700 stores, this is by far the most commonly found drugstore in the Netherlands. It owes its Dutch roots to the de Rijcke family which started this chain in the 1970s. However, it is now owned by the health and beauty retail giant, A.S. Watson Group, which falls under the umbrella of the Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa. Some of you may recognise those names, of course, as the group has a wide retail presence in many countries all over the world. And that includes Superdrug in the UK too.

A Kruidvat shopping experience would vary from store to store. Presentation is average at best, but it can also be messy in some stores. By that, I mean having to squeeze between cardboard boxes in the aisles and tolerating eyesores like untidy product presentation. To be fair, in the past year, Kruidvat has been working hard at improving its image with a rollout of a new ‘store formula’ complete with a new logo. I have noticed a slight improvement.

Customer service is my other gripe. In general, it’s tolerable but I’ve come across sloppy staff who were less than polite and those who were simply clueless about the store’s product offering! Yes, I’ve been left dumbfounded before by their responses. Personnel training, Kruidvat, personnel training!


Still, we overlook all that and continue to frequent our beloved Kruidvats as there are often great deals to be had. Moreover, it has its own house-brand range of body care products. Women visit Kruidvat to get their beauty care products from brands too many to name (but they are the usual suspects), fragrances, makeup from Maybelline, L'Oréal, Rimmel London, Max Factor and nail care products from Sally Hansen and Herôme to name a few.

There are also makeup products from several European brands that are easy on the budget like Essence, Catrice, Manhattan, 2b and 2true. Most importantly, Kruidvat is the only place to go to for GOSH makeup!

However, beware. Not every Kruidvat stocks all the makeup brands mentioned. Only the larger stores would have the full range of brands.

Kruidvat also has a retail presence in Belgium.

2. Etos
Pronounced ay-tos
Etos has its beginnings in 1918 when the employees of electronics giant Philips established a co-operative with a grocery and drugstore. Over the decades, the drugstore division evolved into the Etos that we know now. With 500 stores currently, Etos is the second most common drugstore you will find in the Netherlands. Etos retains its Dutch-ness to this day and is now owned by the Ahold Group which also runs the Albert Heijn supermarket chain in the Netherlands.

I love shopping at Etos. Though standards may vary, the interior of Etos stores are in general more spacious and have a neat and tidy presentation. Shopping at Etos promises a pleasant experience. One can certainly notice that Etos invests a lot in their staff as they are not only better dressed but customer service there is of a high standard.

Just like at Kruidvat, you can also buy at Etos all sorts of beauty care products and fragrances and makeup from Maybelline, L'Oréal, Max Factor, Rimmel London and nail care products from Sally Hansen and Herôme. However, Etos also sells Bourjois, Revlon, Miss Sporty, Collistar and nail polishes from Herôme (although brand offering varies from store to store).


Most noteworthy is the body care and makeup range from its house brand. The Etos makeup brand offering covers the whole range from foundations to lipsticks and nail polishes. These are decent makeup products at decent prices. One such product that I reviewed recently was this makeup kit.

Etos also has a retail presence in Sweden.

3. Trekpleister
Pronounced trek-plaees-ter
This is a much smaller player on the market as there are only about 130 Trekpleister stores in the country. They are mostly found in the suburbs targeted as neighbourhood drugstores. Trekpleister is actually a sister store of Kruidvat as it is also owned by A.S. Watson Group. Owing to this connection, the standards of the Trekpleister stores are about the same as those of Kruidvat.

Here, you will find some of the common beauty care products and drugstore makeup brands plus one of two of the budget-friendly European brands mentioned above.

4. Boots
This name needs no introduction, I’m sure, especially to those in the UK. Boots made a foray into the Netherlands in the late 1990s but eventually pulled out of the market when the management realised that its retail format which included pharmacy did not fit the local consumer market then. During its absence, its house brands like No7 and Botanics found a home in Etos.

Well, Boots made a cautious return to our shores last year and to-date, has opened five stores. The retail format has been retained, which means that not only its house-brand body care products and No7 makeup products are available, but it’s also a pharmacy as well, just like in the UK.

The entire Beauty Shopping In The Netherlands series can be found here.

22 comments:

Eli aka Negra Cabreada said...

OMG, I need to go visit my relatives in Holland RIGHT NOW It sucks that we don't have this kind of drugstores in Spain :-(

Naoko said...

Wow, I feel like travelling to the Netherlands right now! The only places I have ever been in your country are Amsterdam, Marken and Volendam, and I loved them. It was many years ago, so it's time to come back! Thank you for this complete cosmetic-travel-guide! xx

Thess said...

Ik stopte bij het lezen van dit: Pronounced krowd-vaat

Ge-wel-dig! =D

Daarna natuurlijk verder gelezen.
Mooie post!
Nu komen allemaal vrouwen uit het buitenland bij ons shoppen! =O

Musicalhouses said...

Wow. I so want to go to the Netherlands now!

Fifi said...

I enjoy reading this. The two photographs inside the stores make me drool!

I also think customer service is vital and it bugs me when a staff is clueless about the products they're selling. :(

Babybubblz said...

cool! always great to know more shopping places hehe. and you're right, you never know where you will travel. great for reference!

Dina (XYYan) said...

love this post! it's always fun to know where to purchase if we happen to visit there :)

Mz. More said...

What a great idea! I wish we had access to these stores here in the US.

bowsnhearts said...

Wow all the brands look so exotic to me!

It's like my friends going crazy over Bloom cosmetics(Australian) in Asia when it wasn't readily available in Asia back then.

Gail said...

What a great idea for a post! Fascinating to hear how "the other side" lives! You have some nice choices there xxxx

Jennifer said...

wow thanks for this post! i'm travelling to Netherlands sometimes during these few months and this post just came in so handy!!

do u by chance have written any other posts about drugstores in UK or other EU countries?? :D

twinsouls888 said...

Wow the pix are sooo pretty, yummy yummy cosmetics. ^_^.

Who knows I might be able to visit Netherlands in this lifetime ;)

Tnx for this post ^_^

Advance Happy Valentines Day girl!! Enjoy a super romantic night this Valentines hehe.

xoxo
ems

Lavender said...

Thanks for the detailed post on the drugstore available in Netherlands. The drugstore in Malaysia is smaller.

witoxicity said...

@Eli
Oh, how nice that you have relatives here! Now, now, I’m sure you have access to cool brands in Spain which we can’t get over here. :)

@Naoko
You’re most welcome! Heh heh, perhaps it is time for a trip to Holland! Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. This is just Part One in this series. There will be more posts coming. :)

@Thess
Be-dankt! Ha ha! Ik moest zelf ook even lachen om de uitleg van de uitspraak van het woord Kruidvat, maar ik denk dat deze het beste is voor de Engels-sprekende lezeressen. :D

@Musicalhouses
Drop by Holland soon.....and bring this guide with you. ;)

@Fifi
I’m glad that you liked this post! It is indeed frustrating when you encounter a poorly trained staff who can’t or won’t bother to go the extra mile to assist a customer. :P

@Babybubblz
Yes, you’re so right! :)

@Dina
That’s true. If you ever come by this country, you would know what to look out for! :)

@Mz. More
But you have access to other amazing stores in the US which we don’t have here! Sigh, c’est la vie.

@bowsnhearts
Ha ha, exotic? That’s an interesting choice of word. :D Now that you’ve mentioned it, I don’t think we have Bloom here. Shucks!

@Gail
Oh, I’m certainly pleased that you liked this post. Yes, we have some nice choices here, but frankly, I think there are MUCH better choices available across the Channel! :D

@Jennifer
You’re welcome. It’s good to know that this post will be of some help to you. In answer to your question, no, I’m afraid I haven’t got similar posts for the UK or other EU countries.

@twinsouls888
My pleasure! I’m sure you will be able to come by here one day in this lifetime!

Do enjoy your Valentine’s Day celebrations this weekend! :)

@Lavender
You're welcome, but surely the drugstores in Malaysia are not smaller! No way! :D

Natalie Nguyen said...

Thanks for sharing this! I'm always curious to know how it's like in other countries! =)

witoxicity said...

@Natalie
My pleasure! It's good to know that you've found this post informative. :)

Shop N' Chomp said...

What a great post, sweetie! Not surprisingly, I've only heard of Boots. And we don't even have the store here. Just the products. =\

witoxicity said...

@Shop N' Chomp
It's good to know that you enjoyed reading this post. Well, Boots is an old established drugstore chain, no wonder the name is so well-known! :)

flyushkifly said...

Thank you so much for this series! My husband just left for Amsterdam and Hilversum for business and I used your comprehensive posts to send him with a nail polish shopping list. So glad I found your blog!

Cheers from Seattle, Washington.
:)
robin

Witoxicity said...

@flyushkifly
You're most welcome, Robin! I'm so glad you found this series helpful. I can imagine you gave your husband a pretty long list. I'm sure he will be back with loads of goodies for you. :)

renny222 said...

Thaaaaannkkkk you for dis post!!!! U savd my life!!

Witoxicity said...

@renny222
You're welcome! :)