Saturday, March 15, 2008

Amsterdam's Best Umbrella

The weather here tends toward what many people might describe as "bad." To those of you who thrive on rain, wind gusts and generally wildly unpredictable temperature swings, well boy howdy have we got the conditions for you.

After living in sunny southern Spain before this, and dusty Dallas before that, by the time I moved to Amsterdam I did not even own an umbrella.

Then I got caught out in a downpour and bought some cheapie at a tourist trap for ten euros. That lasted about a week. Repeat. After I went through four successive umbrellas, none of them lasting through any substantial winds, I decided to investigate this umbrella thing a bit further.

I went to the Bijenkorf department store, where is where you want to go to find a bunch of things in one place, all of generally good quality and quite possibly overpriced. Still, you can be reasonably sure that you won't leave with some horrendously inferior product, such is the quality level of the Bijenkorf. Really, it is the department store in Amsterdam, and I figured if anyone had a decent umbrella, they would.

I was right. For about 20 euros I bought a cool silver and sky blue Knirps. The saleswoman informed me that it was guaranteed, and confirmed that it was an umbrella that would last. Best 20 euros I ever spent. The winds have flipped it inside-out on many an occasion, but it still works like new after six months. If you're going spend more than a few days here, it's definitely worth springing for a Knirps.

the Knirps site


  1. I will never forget a day in NYC... an umbrella disaster day. It was sleeting, and the wind was blowing really hard. My feet were immersed in slush at every street crossing. (I was actually going to work instead of playing hooky; talk about young and foolish!) My umbrella turned inside out. I got it right side out again. Then it twisted, twisted, literally twisted until the "business end" broke clean off. I think it was one of those street umbrellas. The vendors would say: "Umbrellas, umbrellas, $5 now; $10 when it's raining."
    - Jean

  2. I had an umbrella I inherited from Michael (but it was eventually stolen at work). It was the Cadillac of umbrellas, one he had from his days as a mortician. It had a solid brass handle with a bicycle handlebar-type grip. It was sturdy. You would get carried away by gusts like Mary Poppins, because it never turned wrongside out. And you could fit a family of six beneath it.
    Damn, I miss that brolly!


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