In these times where Ikea has the undisputed reign of home decoration, buying in second-hand markets (Flohmärkte) is:
f) all of the above :)
Walking through Flohmärkte on Sundays has become one of my favorite experiences. In my opinion, it is an activity with many advantages: you can spend time with your partner, family and friends, with any budget and, at the same time, discover treasures or collect inspiration and ideas. A laid-back attitude, comfortable walking shoes and some willingness to haggle are all the ingredients for a good day at the Flohmarkt.
I am increasingly amazed by the variety of objects on offer: from basic furniture and kitchen appliances to the most random stuff. Dog-faced knife holders, mink coats and fancy vitrified ceramic belonging to great-great-grandmothers, preserved vinyl, films of any genre in DVD format, toys and shoes that would now be classified as vintage… a little of everything.
However, what we buy at the Flohmärkte are not just objects, but stories. In some cases we can meet the previous owners, talk about their experiences, the trips where they got their relics, or even receive some secret tips about what we buy. It’s an experience that not even the best novelty store can offer, especially for just a couple of euros. I like to think that what I buy is a container of anecdotes and past lives, and that now I am the person in charge of giving it a new use.
This week two Flohmärkte were organized within our university: the Familien-Flohmarkt in the space adapted for children (Wuselhöhle) and the Bücherflohmarkt in the library.
Both, though small, struck me as perfect examples of what is happening on a larger scale this summer in Bremen. Especially when the weather is good one can visit different Flohmärkte in the city every weekend. The best known is the one that is organized in the Bürgerweide (on the esplanade behind the Hbf), every Sunday from 8am to 2pm. We have also visited some in Neustadt or Schwachhausen, it goes a bit by neighborhood. Also, especially for books, a Flohmarkt is organized in the Tierheim every last Sunday of the month from 10am-1pm.
I recently wanted to participate in the Bürgerweide Flohmarkt to find out what it feels like to be on the other side of the tables. It turns out that organizing for a Flohmarkt is heavy; one has to prepare everything from the day before, also pack a table, chairs, umbrellas, thermos with enough coffee and water, snacks and Kleingeld. One also sleeps little. At 5 am on Sunday we were already at the Bürgerweide to get a good place, since they are assigned as you arrive. We parked the car where they told us and dismantled the stall. The sale lasted until 2:00 p.m. and the strong moments fluctuated throughout the day, for example, the first hours (5-7 am) our main buyers were the same resellers with their own stalls; a bit disappointing. I suppose that besides the romantic ideal the Flohmarkt is still a business. Between two people we collected a little more than 150 euros, of which we spent 25 on space charges and 3 on trips to the bathroom (which charges -.50 per use). It was a nice and profitable day, and although I don’t know if I would do it again (I don’t have much left to sell), the hours flew by, I met a lot of people, and had a lot of fun.
Anyway, I share some IG accounts where one can find out about the current Flohmärkte happening in the city, since some are not regular but occasional:
Is the Flohmarkt something for you? Tell me in the comments.