editor's choice

Learning with the International Primary Curriculum

Remote training for expatriates

Should our kids go native too?

Pre-school activities in Belgium

How expats are learning the local lingo

Expatica countries
Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home Life in Lifestyle On the antiques trail
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size

07/10/2008On the antiques trail

On the antiques trail The Antiques Diva explains how Europe became her playground and her house became ‘just her!’ She shares her knowledge of antiques shopping in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland.

When we accepted our first expat assignment, I orchestrated the move, while my husband went ahead to start his new job in Paris. When our shipment arrived months later with only a forth of our furniture in tow, my husband was baffled. As he desperately scanned the living room for a chair to sit on, he asked incredulously, “Why didn’t you bring all of our furniture?”

Europe as the playground

As the consequences of his not sharing in the coordination of our international move finally hit home, I gave my husband an answer that would define nearly a decade of expatriate life: “As an expat, Europe is now my playground.  A person’s home should reflect not only who they are, but where they’ve been and where their going.”  By bringing only our favourite possessions, I had given us room to grow into the people we’d become through living abroad.

Lacking a dinner table as well as the china to set on it, we began searching the flea markets of Europe, letting our travel choices dictate our décor.

The Antiques Diva and Husband shopping“Darling,” I rang my husband’s office one day, “We need a buffet and I’ve just read an article on the selection of antique side boards available in the Costa Blanca.  Shall we go to Spain this Easter to see the procession and stop by an excellent source for richly carved chestnut chests?”  Weekends were passed ‘flea-marketing’ in the French countryside as we filled our home, and stomachs, while sampling the regions’ specialities. Along with our expanding waistlines, we’d return to our 6eme Parisian apartment with spoils such as a shabby chateau canapé, which groans when sat upon and Napoleon III side-tables lacquered and adorned with mother of pearl embellishments.  

When we moved to Holland, Belgium became our favourite getaway as it brought back memories of France with it’s abundance of French antiques, at more reasonable Belgian prices. Trips across Germany have filled our home with the types of knick-knacks that we never knew we needed until they completed a tableau.  Visits to friends in Switzerland resulted in our starting a new collection of antique globes found at the many Swiss brocantes and led us to purchasing a politically incorrect vintage fur throw straight from a chalet at a bargain-bin price.

Friends and family visiting us in the Netherlands nearly a decade after our expat journey comment unfailingly on the eclectic international décor, and when I point out a pile of plates that I peddled home in a box tied to the back of my bungee cord, they exclaim, “It’s just so you!”     

Read the Antiques Diva ™ Expatica Resource Guide, which takes you on an antiques shopping trip through all six Expatica countries:
France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland

logos By The Antiques Diva, an expert in scouting for antiques in Holland, Belgium and France. For more information, visit: or


7 October 2008


0 reactions to this article

0 reactions to this article

Inside Expatica
Looking for work in Belgium

Looking for work in Belgium

This handy guide from Expertise in Labour Mobility includes how to write a CV, application procedure, interview dos and don'ts, Belgian management culture.

Practical, easy-to-use, free and... in English

Practical, easy-to-use, free and... in English

Belgium’s first alternative directory assistance services - available through the shortcode 14-14 - can now be accessed on the internet.

Finding a rental home in Belgium

Finding a rental home in Belgium

Moving to Belgium presents a host of challenges to expats, not least of all finding the right home.

Learning to cope with life abroad

Learning to cope with life abroad

The psychological effects of global mobility can be physically painful.

0lifestyle_leisure 1lifestyle 2Guide-to-antiques-shopping-Expatica_country-wide_13042