Author: Natasja Admiraal

Cobra Art Gallery for Fashion On The Wall

There is so much to see in the Cobra Art Gallery at Van Baerlestraat 8: from photos printed on plexiglass to controversial sculptures with a nod to fashion and pop…

There is so much to see in the Cobra Art Gallery at Van Baerlestraat 8: from photos printed on plexiglass to controversial sculptures with a nod to fashion and pop art. The artworks at display are all unique or made in limited editions. They are sold according to the ‘art-à-porter’ principle: art delivered from the gallery directly to the customer.

A life-size portrait of David Bowie with a penetrating gaze, shot by the internationally renowned and award-winning photographer Markus Klinko. A little bit further along, a nun tempts the visitor with her seductive eye makeup. Slowly the picture changes, however: underneath her robe she’s wearing a sexy garter belt. In this image, art photographer Cécile Plaisance uses a lenticular printing technique in order to suggest movement. The same method is applied to a picture of a model wearing a Hèrmes burka with a bikini underneath. 

Another wall contains a monumental work by James Chiew. Famous celebrities and global stars, including James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Jimi Hendrix, Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela, are gathered around a long table. But there is a twist: they never could have met in real life… This is an image that keeps drawing one’s attention and its large size makes it all the more impressive. 

Extraordinary fire extinguisher

“Many artworks in our collection touch upon pop art, fashion, glamour and celebrities. In other words: fashion on the wall”, Leon Jonkman, gallery manager of the Cobra Gallery on Van Baerlestraat, explains. Apart from their iconic photographic artworks printed on plexiglass, Cobra Art is selling sculptures as well, such as the extraordinary fire extinguishers, made by James Chiew: they are adorned with a logo of Ferrari, Chanel or another brand and they even work! 

Or the cartoonish bulldogs by Christophe Comerro; with their glossy finish they seem to be made of china. Then there are the striking arty handbags by Debra Franses Bean that are filled with stacks of banknotes, shiny pistols, gold watches, lipstick shells and perfume bottles. These bags weigh around thirty pounds each. “No, you’re not really supposed to carry them with you”, Jonkman laughs. “These things are objects: it takes the artist takes around three months to make a single bag.” 

Special materials

Combining works from the Cobra Art collection with furniture and objects enables their customers to get a good idea of how these things would look in their own home, the gallery manager says. Practically everything is for sale, from the chandelier to the carpet. “We see art as an integral part of an interior setting.” 

The works sold at Cobra Art are always unique or made in limited editions. The use of special materials, such as liquid gloss with metal paint and resin, leads to stunning effects. Most works can be printed in four different sizes, quite handy if the picture in question needs to fit in an alcove or on a specific wall. And all the images displayed in colour are also available in black and white. Twice a year, in January and September, Cobra Art presents their new collection in Paris during the Maison & Objet Interior Design Fair, each time dedicated to a new theme.


Cobra Art Company is a family business that was established over 30 years ago and has grown from an art dealer into an international brand. Owners Mike and Jeannette van Rijswijk are still actively engaged in the company: together they travel the world to carefully curate the Cobra Art Collection. 

“We choose photographers and artists based on originality, creativity and innovation”, Jeannette van Rijswijk says. “And obviously there should be a good match with the Cobra Art style. We organize our own photo shoots with the photographers we have selected.” 

The company’s main office is located in the town of Veenendaal (province of Utrecht). Here, visitors can walk through an inspiring art gallery measuring 1,100 sq. (nearly 12,000 sq. ft) with over 500 different artworks. The gallery contains fully furnished studios, each with their own unique interior that perfectly highlights the work of art on display. 

Young and trendy

It is a place where art lovers head to when they’re looking for inspiration or simply want to discover new works. “Our target audience is trendy and young, on average between 25 and 55, mostly double earners”, according to Van Rijswijk. “People who love nice interiors, watches, cars, fashion and good restaurants.” The showroom is not only frequented by consumers but is also popular among interior designers and project developers. The Cobra Art project team is available to work with them on interior design or restyling projects. 

Boutique hotel TwentySeven in Amsterdam is fully furnished with artworks from Cobra Art, just like a number of luxury hotels in cities such as Dubai. Jonkman: “Next year we’ll start working together with the Art’otel in Amsterdam, located opposite Central Station. These things make our work so interesting: our art is represented in more than 28 countries, from hotels to luxury interior design stores.”


Opening an exclusive brand store in Amsterdam had long been a wish of the owners. The Museum Quarter, where arts and fashion meet, is an ideal location – especially with the proximity of Zuidas. Due to their many years of experience in the trade, Mike and Jeannette van Rijswijk know how to perfectly cater to the needs of the market and their target audience; one could say they simply sense what their customers want. Using their expertise, they’ve built their high-end Masterpiece Collection in close collaboration with leading international artists and photographers. 

What will the future bring for Cobra Art Company? “We’re already exporting worldwide. At the moment, there are Cobra Art Galleries in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf and London. And soon we’ll open stores in Paris, Tel Aviv and Moscow, but we would like to add even more”, Van Rijswijk says. “Eventually, it is our ambition to open Cobra Art Galleries in all large international cities.”


Cobra Art Amsterdam
Van Baerlestraat 8
T 020 2153 110


Jeannette en Mike van Rijswijk are the owners of Cobra Art

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Suittruck is tailor of the future

A mobile clothing store where customers can order a tailor-made suit, shirt, pair of jeans or shoes. A tailor coming to your home or office to take measures, using a…

A mobile clothing store where customers can order a tailor-made suit, shirt, pair of jeans or shoes. A tailor coming to your home or office to take measures, using a state-of-the-art full-body scanner. Sounds futuristic? Travelling tailor Rutger Vlaming makes it happen with his Suit Truck, causing a bit of a stir in the traditional world of made-to-measure clothes.

His Suit Truck, painted in dark grey metallic, attracts attention wherever he goes. In the back of his truck, Rutger Vlaming uses the espresso machine to make a nice cup of coffee and sits down on a brown leather bench. The broad-shouldered fashion entrepreneur is a keen sportsman who used to play football at a high level. 

Seven years ago, he set up fashion brand Frederik George, the predecessor of Suit Truck. His mission? Making the process of buying clothes easier, faster and more efficient. He started out selling shirts but extended his range to suits, jackets, jeans and shoes – all made to measure. “Men don’t like trying on lots of clothes; they want something that fits straightaway.”

Mobile tailor

Vlaming used to sell Frederik George and a few other brands in his pop-up shop in Amsterdam, but he soon came to the conclusion that waiting for people to walk into his store was not for him. “The modern businessman has hardly any time to find a good tailor. I’d rather visit my customers, but driving to their doorstep in my Smart Car didn’t seem a good idea to me.” 

When walking around at a food truck festival he saw a sushi truck and the penny dropped. However, an old-fashioned food truck, as romantic as it sounds, has a lot of disadvantages. For example, because of the emissions it is not allowed to enter most Dutch cities. So he approached a van and truck manufacturer. “This edition was especially designed for Suit Truck and made in Poland. By the way, the word ‘suit’ in the brand name doesn’t refer to a ‘man’s suit’ but rather to the ‘fit’, as the truck is in fact a luxurious fitting room.”

Thousands of fabrics

With his Suit Truck he drives to companies during office hours to sell their employees perfect-fitting tailor-made clothes, but he also pays home visits to his customers. “Recently I received a special request: a groom-to-be was organizing a dinner party for his best friends. He asked me to drop by and measure a suit for every dinner guest.” 

At the moment there are two Suit Trucks on the road. One truck is fitted with a rack of garments. “The customer puts on a shirt or jacket and I use pins to get the perfect fit. The customer can choose from more than a thousand fabrics.” He opens a sample book: “Everything is possible: plain colours, chequered, pinstripes or a bold pattern. The type of buttons and the lining can be personalized as well. It’s my job to guide the customer through this process. Usually, fitting and choosing a design, fabric and all the details is done within one hour.”


The other truck, which he uses half of the time, is equipped with a full-body scanner in order to make measuring easier and more accurate. Vlaming explains how it works: “Wearing only his boxer short, the customer steps into a sort of fitting room, closes the door and presses a button. Several cameras take pictures while a grid pattern is projected onto his body. Within two seconds we receive all the measurements we need. The customer can check his avatar online and see how a piece of clothing looks on him. This way it’s very easy to change the colour or the type of fabric.”

This advanced technology is still in development and Vlaming is busy experimenting. “I use the truck with the full-body scanner for two weeks in a row and then I’m fine-tuning it to adjust it to the demands from the market. And I’m working on setting up a link with our web shop.”

Less textile waste

Suit Truck is not the only company experimenting with a full-body scanner. “But I dare to say that we’re the only ones who are making it work, thanks to a couple of secret applications”, Vlaming says with a wink. Most companies use a body scan to help customers find the size they need for a particular brand, in order to reduce the number of returns.

“We primarily scan for production but in the future we will also use it to produce a size chart. A nice way to battle textile waste as returned articles won’t need to go back into the store. Tailor-made clothing is sustainable by definition. We only sell what people are really going to wear and that means we produce a lot less.”

Former pro footballer Levchenko as brand ambassador

Vlaming believes that reusing textiles has the future. He recently launched an exclusive bespoke suit made of hundred percent recycled fabrics: unique in the textile world. For this project he worked together with the Dutch-Indonesian weavers collective Khaloom. 

The first suit was made for former professional footballer Evegeniy Levchenko, a brand ambassador for two fashion start-ups. During a photoshoot at the stadium of AFC football club in Amsterdam last summer, Levchenko wore a self-designed recycled suit made by Suit Truck,. Vlaming: “These days, sustainability is still being used as a marketing tool, but it should really become the standard.”

Ripple effect

The fashion entrepreneur makes no secret of his ambitions: he wants to scale up as quickly as possible and roll out more of these trucks in order to achieve nationwide coverage. Then he is going to set up a franchise system to cover other European countries and in the near future he would like to enter the US market. 

“I feel the concept could work well over there because of the vast distances. Moreover, there are a lot of clustered areas with a high concentration of people. We could drive to a business district or to a college campus. Suit Truck is aimed at progressive, fashion-conscious men with little time and it is my mission to provide an efficient service to them.”


T 085 514 6431


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House of Artisans: fair and handcrafted

Seven female entrepreneurs join forces at House of Artisans. All products of the seven different brands are innovative, sustainable and tailored, or even custom-made. From heels without pain to stylish,…

Seven female entrepreneurs join forces at House of Artisans. All products of the seven different brands are innovative, sustainable and tailored, or even custom-made. From heels without pain to stylish, yet comfortable, sports dresses and beautiful handbags.

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Handmade jewelry from Jesse Jewelry

According to Luciënne Jesse, a perfect piece of jewellery starts with a good conversation. Twenty years ago, this jewellery designer opened a boutique in the Beethovenstraat. Nowadays she has more…

According to Luciënne Jesse, a perfect piece of jewellery starts with a good conversation. Twenty years ago, this jewellery designer opened a boutique in the Beethovenstraat. Nowadays she has more than five thousand loyal customers – independent, highly-educated women who like making a statement by wearing her hand-made jewellery.

You shouldn’t just read about Jesse Jewelry, you should go and visit this special boutique in the Beethovenstraat. With showcases full of pieces of jewellery containing sparkling gems, one feels like a kid in a candy store!

Jesse Jewelry

Jewelry should be comfortable to wear.

For woman with a personality

“I was always admiring Jesse’s creations through the shop window until one fine day I allowed myself to go in”, Dilia Meijboom, one of Jesse’s brand ambassadors, wrote in a testimonial. Luciënne Jesse (54) describes her customers as follows: “Women with a distinctive personality. Authentic, strong-willed and with their own unique style.”

Refined craftsmanship

In the palm of her hand she holds a pair of teardrop-shaped earrings made of 18 carat gold with champagne-coloured diamonds and petrified wood. “These would look wonderful on you”, she says. Looking and listening closely to her customers without being pushy, that’s her strength. She says that often she only needs a single look to know what type of jewellery would perfectly suit the woman in front of her.

As Jesse herself admits, marketing and PR is not her forte. She tries to avoid networking events; she’d rather sit down and have a good chat with one of her customers. She explains her way of working: “The type of coloured stone, the material, but above all the personality of the person who’s going to wear it – those are the main starting points for my designs. Quality and sustainability are key. We work with the best goldsmiths and setters. They are very refined craftsmen and they know exactly what we expect from them.”

Third generation

The wall is adorned with certificates from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York, where she graduated in 1984 as a gemologist. Diamonds and gems are in Jesse’s blood: her grandfather Bernhard Jesse worked as a diamond-cutter and founded Elion & Jesse Diamond Factory in Amsterdam, where her father, Albert Jesse, learnt the ropes. After the Second World War, Albert started his own diamond business but out of his four daughters, only Luciënne opted for a career in diamonds and she joined her father’s business at a very young age.

“When my father moved his company to Antwerp, I started a business of my own here in Amsterdam. At first, I was buying and selling a line of jewellery but soon I was designing pieces as well. Once well-established in the trade, I discovered my love for coloured stones. These days, I travel a lot to the Far East to buy unique diamonds and coloured stones. Plus, I’ve got my preferred suppliers who know what I’m looking for, such as special stones with two or even three colours.”

Sensual shapes

She opens a drawer and shows me a ring with a two-coloured tourmaline. When she slowly turns it around, as if by magic the gem changes colours – from deep pink to white. She shows me another ring, containing blue, green and grey sapphires. “I also buy rough gems and have them polished. Virtually every piece gets a unique design, with the gem, pearl or diamond taking centre stage. Every stone is different and that’s why the setting is always made to measure.”

The heavy quality of her pieces of jewellery is one of her trademarks. This doesn’t mean she only creates big pieces but they need to have sufficient gold weight in order to achieve the required body. There are a few very distinct ‘statement pieces’ in her collection, including a gold ring with multiple branches, aptly called The Forest. “You wouldn’t say so at first glance but it is very comfortable to wear! That’s rule number one: a piece of jewellery should always be comfortable to wear. My pieces are never edgy or sharp. I love feminine curves and sensual shapes.”

And she likes to create multifunction designs: a collier that can also be worn as a bracelet, a string of pearls that can hold a pendant, or a ring consisting of various independent rings allowing all kinds of configurations. She has a golden tip for her customers: “Don’t wear too many pieces of jewellery at the same time. One nice piece often suffices to complete an outfit.”

And she challenges people to get out of their comfort zone. “Someone who often wears black will be inclined to opt for black. From time to time, experimenting with something new can be very refreshing.” Customers also ask her advice on pieces they’ve inherited. “Usually, old pieces are kept in a safe somewhere because their style is a bit outdated. What a shame! With a few minor adjustments we’re able turn it into something special. There are so many options, really. If you’ve got an emotional bond with a certain piece, it’s always worth getting it updated.”

Loyal fans

Remarkably, some 70 percent of her customers are women buying jewellery for themselves and that’s pretty unique in this industry. Some of her ambassadors are women who bought their first pieces of jewellery at Jesse’s boutique and have gradually expanded their collection over the years. She also has customers from far-away places such as the States, South Africa and even Australia; usually business women who happened upon her shop and always drop by when they’re in Amsterdam.

And there are a lot of former expats who’ve remained customers. Jesse and her colleagues accurately register what their customers buy. “If you come here more often, we know who you are, what you prefer and what you’ve already got in your possession. This enables us to come up with suggestions to complete your collection. And it is very easy for your husband, in case he want to surprise you with a nice piece!”


Jesse Jewelry

Beethovenstraat 60


Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 – 18:00 hours
Saturday: 10.00 – 17.00 hours

T 020 670 89 89


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Fun things to do with your kids on the Zuidas

With all the new apartment blocks opening their doors in the Zuidas there are a lot of young families moving into the area. And there are plenty of new initiatives for…

With all the new apartment blocks opening their doors in the Zuidas there are a lot of young families moving into the area. And there are plenty of new initiatives for the youngest Zuidas residents. Journalist Natasja Admiraal and photographer Jeannette Huisman, two friends who gave birth to a baby girl on the exact same day, reveal their favourite hotspots and activities.

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