history of HEMA
HEMA was founded almost 100 years ago in 1926. At the time, department stores in the Netherlands were mainly for the wealthy. Ordinary people were on a tight budget and couldn’t afford to shop at them. The staff in department stores mostly spoke French. Then the first HEMA store opened – a different kind of store. The founders, Leo Meyer and Arthur Isaac, wanted to open a department store for ordinary people. They opened the first store of the Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam (Dutch Unitary Prices Company Amsterdam), or HEMA, in the centre of Amsterdam. It was a store where a nickel was worth a dime, stocked with everyday items. Plates, soap or towels, at affordable prices. The store was a hit.
From 1958, HEMA expanded quickly and opened new stores throughout the Netherlands. Some of the stores were franchises and HEMA became the first franchise company in the Netherlands. The 1960s were a time of prosperity in the Netherlands. Dutch cuisine discovered exotic new ingredients like bell peppers and pineapple. TV brought the whole world into Dutch living rooms. Having more money to spend, people wanted better household goods and more convenience. Free time was no longer a luxury reserved for a few. HEMA responded to the new situation by significantly improving the quality of its range and adding new product categories. The timing could not have been better: towels, mixers and new make-up sold themselves by word-of-mouth.
our own designs made with love
In addition to price, appearance was also important. Dutch consumers developed more sophisticated tastes thanks to HEMA, which, because of Dutch Design is still far ahead of its time. Our own designs, made with love, were both iconic and affordable. Products that looked attractive but were also practical and long-lasting. HEMA demonstrated that even a wastebin or frying pan could look attractive. And an umbrella could bring joy. Life became more global. Products and chain stores from all over the world found their way to the Netherlands and vice versa. Travel and commerce within Europe became more commonplace and HEMA too, expanded beyond Dutch borders. First by opening stores in Belgium (in 1984), then followed by stores in Germany (2002), Luxembourg (2006), France (2009) and Austria (2018).
better daily life
As times changed, HEMA changed with them. We are now also active online, with webshops in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany that also offer consumers products that are more practical, more attractive and simply better.
For almost 100 years, HEMA’s aim has been to make everyday life better in a more beautiful world. Every day, every season, all year round. For everyone. HEMA has everything you need around the clock.
This is what makes HEMA “truly HEMA”