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By | Jan Libbenga 12th May 2011 11:20

Apple's Dutch store plan leaves locals seeing orange red

Wants to strip down Amsterdam ladies' dress shop

Apple's plan to open a flagship store in Amsterdam have run into trouble after local authorities decided to gut the vendor's plan to gut an iconic building in the Dutch city.

Apple is a tenant of a 90 year-old landmark building at the Leidse Square, once home to the international fashion house Hirsch & Co.

The completion of the building with its copper dome and a total height of 38 metres took almost two years. When the store opened in 1912 critics savaged it, saying the architects had merely copied the London department store Selfridges. However, many upper-class women decided to purchase their made-to-measure costumes there and the building increasingly became an icon. Today the building still dominates the small square.

Given its status as a national monument, construction work at the Hirsch Building is not allowed without the say-so of advisory committees, and they have not been happy about the Mac vendor's plans.

According to the Dutch website One More Thing the experts in particular opposed the spiral glass staircase Apple plans to build. Initially, experts also had difficulties with the exteriors.

However, if no one else voices objections, Apple could proceed with construction after all. The municipality of Amsterdam has overruled the expert verdicts, saying the store is tremendously important for the local economy.

Apple itself has been in stealth mode about its Amsterdam store for almost a year. You won't even find their name on the permit applications, although Apple recently started to advertise for staff.

When Apple moved its tight Benelux office from the small town of Bunnik to the Hirsch Building last year, rumors of an Apple Store immediately began to swirl. Apple officials have remained tight-lipped ever since, and probably not without reason.

A couple of years ago Apple, along with Apple premium resellers, began to open up small retail stores in the Netherlands with a similar look and feel to the US stores.

The biggest store from MacHouse is near Dam Square in Amsterdam. The resellers were guaranteed Apple wouldn't compete with them directly. That picture changed after Apple opened up its first flagship stores in London, Rome and Paris. When the first rumors of a Dutch flag store began to emerge last year, the Dutch premium sellers decided to join forces to attack the plans. ®

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