Schmidt Optiek, the longest-running optician’s in the country, is the crown jewel among Amsterdam’s eyewear shops. Their store on Rokin opened its doors in 1868 and they’re rightly proud…
Schmidt Optiek, the longest-running optician’s in the country, is the crown jewel among Amsterdam’s eyewear shops. Their store on Rokin opened its doors in 1868 and they’re rightly proud of their status of purveyor to the royal household. Their second branch, located on Gelderlandplein, is frequented by Zuidas business professionals and local residents alike. The health of your eyes is in very experienced and capable hands at Schmidt Optiek and they offer a wide range of frames, with the spectacular customized glasses by Cartier or Dita – diamonds optional– topping off their collection.
Schmidt Optiek focuses first and foremost on your vision, but their varied range of frames guarantees you’ll look the part as well. Did you know that former Dutch Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard, had their own drawer in the mahogany-clad Rokin store? And their branch on Gelderlandplein houses an even wider range of frames.
There is a dazzling display of correction glasses, reading glasses and sunglasses by brands ranging from Lindberg to Chanel. As fashion designer Coco Chanel famously put it: “The best things in life are free. The second best things are expensive”. This fits in with Schmidt Optiek’s vision: they focus on the health of your eyes and the medical aspect of your glasses, selling high-end fashionable frames comes second.
A nostalgic wink
The sleek interior of Schmidt Optiek in the Gelderlandplein shopping mall may be in stark contrast to their Rokin store, but the compartments in dark brown are a reference – a nostalgic wink – to the hundreds of mahogany drawers in their historic shop downtown.
The Schmidt Optiek branch on A.J. Ernstraat was established in 1968 and has much more floor space than their 150-year old store on Rokin. Edwin van Dijk is the eighth generation of store owners. His son, head of management Tijmen van Dijk, and marketing manager Jim de Vos tell us more about the company.
Measuring with a ruler
Jim: “I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say we have some of the country’s finest optometrists working for us. They measure your eyes and gather all sorts of information including the position of your pupil, the moisture balance and vision correction. They even use special tiny rulers! The whole procedure takes about an hour; after all, the health and condition of your eyes are very important. And if necessary, they’ll refer you to an ophthalmologist. To be honest, other eyewear stores don’t have sufficient knowledge as the only training their employees have had is a 3-month in-house crash-course. Here at Schmidt, however, we consider optometry a serious profession.”
“It takes years of studying optometry in order to be able to assess what pair of glasses will provide the right correction for someone’s eyes. And that’s absolutely crucial! To give an example: my mother’s eyesight deteriorated significantly as she was given the wrong prescription glasses after a measurement that hardly took 15 minutes – this was long ago, but unfortunately it is still more common than you’d think. We don’t want that to happen to our customers.”
Glasses as a piece of jewellery
Tijmen, a well-dressed young man, explains why glasses are so important for Zuidas professionals. “Eyewear is like jewellery to them; glasses are obviously more conspicuous than your shoes, watch or tie. And in our Gelderlandplein store that is a very important factor: the business customer is looking for a pair of glasses with a serious look, but what they really want is something that defines their identity and will make them stand out among all the other businessmen in their grey or navy corporate uniform.”
“The right pair of glasses enables business professionals to lend a subtle twist to their look: slightly different coloured arms, a unique positioning of the actual glass… Moreover, glasses are more than a fashion item: they can accentuate or mask certain facial features, so it is important to get the right type of advice on the aesthetic part as well. The more comfortable you feel wearing your glasses, the more confident you’ll appear.”
Schmidt Optiek is a company of extremes as the difference between their stores on Rokin and Gelderlandplein shows. On the one hand there is the traditional craft and medical knowledge of the 150-year old company, on the other hand they’re offering the latest futuristic innovations in the world of opticians such as glasses with lightweight, fully flexible arms. Hundreds of labels, influencers on social media, rappers and models are keen to promote Schmidt’s eyewear.
Jim: “It is hard to imagine that not even that long ago glasses were regarded as ‘nerdy’, whereas these days eyewear represents something very stylish. And here at Schmidt Optiek we try to connect to that. It is exciting to bring a classic brand to the fore using modern marketing tools, with all the events and promotion activities that go with it.”
Arent Janszoon Ernststraat 569
T 020 644 2108
T 020 623 1981
Schmidt Optiek recently acquired Reyer Lafeber opticians in Utrecht. In this wonderful eyewear store, Schmidt Optiek will focus on extending its range of products and services. In a pleasant and luxurious ambiance, Schmidt offers a wide range of eyecare and sells beautiful frames and sunglasses, as well as special collections. Buying a new pair of glasses will be a very nice experience in this wonderful new eyewear store.