Discover Benelux, Issue 14, February 2015

Page 45

2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:17 Page 45

Nature’s art, millions of years old TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK  |  PHOTOS: DE OUDE AARDE

“Many people find us when visiting the picturesque town Giethoorn, also known as the Venice of the North. When they discover our museum and shop, they are mostly surprised by the remarkable collection of stones and jewellery we have," says Neeltje Zijlstra, owner of De Oude Aarde. De Oude Aarde (the ancient earth) has one of the best gemstone, mineral, fossil and jewellery  collections  of  the  Netherlands. They have a huge collection of high-quality  stones  from  all  over  the  world.  They even have the biggest Aepyornis-egg ever found among other rare and unique minerals.  The  assortment  is  immense.  De Oude  Aarde  is  not  just  a  museum  and shop,  but  also  a  main  wholesaler  in  the field: “In De Oude Aarde stones lose their stuffy appearance: here they are elevated to art; nature’s art, millions years of age.”

Exclusive jewellery “We  are  more  than  a  museum  or  rock shop,” says Zijlstra. “For our special cus-

tomers, we are always looking for something exquisite and this is displayed in our special department with exclusive jewellery and mineral showpieces. Rings,  bracelets  and  necklaces  are  created with high quality stones that are set into jewellery in Italy. According to Zijlstra the  large  selection  of  exclusive  jewellery pieces  are  intended  for  the  “enjoyably pampered  customer”.  Zijlstra:  “This  jewellery is not made with just ordinary stones or  fossils,  we  use  the  best  Tourmaline, Aquamarine,  Pearl,  Sunstone,  and  Tanzanite  etc...  The  department  is  exclusive but accessible and can be visited without appointment.”

teen  years,  much  has  changed.  Zijlstra concludes:  “The  farthest  corners  of  the world and depths of the earth are more accessible than ever. We travel the world to find the best showpieces and stones, indeed not the worst thing our job offers. We go for quality, for us that’s the most important thing.”

History Forty-six  years  ago,  in  1969,  adventurer Rene Boissevain decided to quit his year’s long journey around the world to settle in Giethoorn. During his travels he had gained an impressive collection of gems and minerals.  With  this  he  successfully  founded the museum and shop. Over the past fif-

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