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The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

Mevius – the odd second-hand market of Gideon Italiaander

Porcelain statuettes, toys, antique pieces of furniture and ragdolls

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by Virginia Zoli

Mevius is an old, second-hand market full of objects of each type where you usually spend a full day digging through piles of clothes and lots of used books. Porcelain statuettes, toys, antique pieces of furniture and ragdolls are sensibly piled up, above and below the tables.

I arrived at the door out of breath looking for the owner after almost an hour of riding my bike. Gideon Italiaander (yes, this is his name) is one-third Italian, one-third Jewish and one-third Dutch and he seems to have a nice face. I asked him to talk about his business and to explain how is it possible to keep things going and above all where he is finding all this stuff (?!).

“Mevius was founded 16 years ago and works in a very simple way: people come in here to sell things they don’t use anymore and we buy them back to resell at a higher price. For this reason we are different from Kringloop, where people used to donate their things”.

Now I can understand the comings and goings of people out of the door, everyone with lots of bags, ready to negotiate the best price for a blouse, a jacket or an empty eyeglasses case. “How many people come to sell their stuff in here?” I asked him.

“We have pretty much 10 appointments with different customers every day but sometimes people come here spontaneously leaving clothes, furniture or everything else. We also have many loyal customers.”

I was looking around when I saw porcelain dolls, many objects of dubious value and even a make-up set perfect to take on the appearance of Black Peter, the companion of Saint Nicholas. Now the question is: “Which is the oddest thing people sold to you?”

“A guy wanted to sell me the body of his dead wife” Gideon told me. I was totally stunned. “And what did you do? Did you get it or you call the police?” “No, I didn’t want it in my shop because it stank so badly” he answered. I looked right at him so puzzled while he started laughing out loud. It may be the effect from last night or the fact you can expect to find anything you want there but I believe everything today. “Come on! I was joking” he told me. “I once bought a human skull from a man for only 5 euro reselling it for 10”.