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June 30, 2015
A Starbucks for Rembrandt

I don't spend much time in Starbucks cafes when I'm in Vancouver so I have no reason to seek them out when I travel.

However, every now and then I stumble across a Starbucks where such care and imagination has been taken with the design in order to honour the history and culture of its host country that I have to wonder why similar efforts are not made closer to home. A perfect example is the Starbucks cafe located in Amsterdam's Rembrandtsplein.

Called "The Bank" because it is located within the site of a former concrete bank vault, the cafe is actually situated below street level, so when you enter from the top you get an immediate birds' eye view of the layout. At 430 square meters it's impressively large for a Starbucks, and possibly could be the largest in Europe. The space allows for seating areas to be placed at various levels - with a large and accommodating communal table placed at the centre. Reflecting the theme of the Dutch "Golden Age" the space uses wooden beams, seafaring maps, burlap, sailcloth, bakery items, Delft tile ... and because flowers are well loved in Holland, large sprays of seasonal blooms.

Check the photos below for the stories behind the various touches the designers installed to make this Starbucks like no other. I've seen similar staging given to the Starbucks outlet at Montmartre in Paris, and another celebrating gaucho culture in Buenos Aires, however I'm sure there must be others.  If you've encountered them, I'd love to read your comments on CityFood's Facebook page here.

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