The Perfumery Inspired by Amsterdam’s Floating Flower Market

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Artwork by Christina Worner

Atelier Bloem is the bespoke brand placing modern scent within the context of Dutch history

Who? More than likely you have already heard of skincare brand Malin+Goetz, the family run apothecary established in 2004 by partners in life and business Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz. If you haven’t yet caught wind of the couple’s latest olfactory venture Atelier Bloem, however, now’s the time to pay attention. Inspired by Goetz’ seven-year stint in Amsterdam, during which he cycled to the Bloemenmarkt on a daily basis in order to gather bunches of fresh flowers to place in vases dotted about his apartment, the perfumery focuses upon recreating the aromatic experience unique to the only floating flower market in the world.

Upon returning to New York, Goetz was unable to find fragrant respite in the vaporous of isle of Manhattan, so he and Malin relocated upstate on a part-time basis, where they began tending to a flower garden of their own (whilst listening to Gardeners Question Time with their pug Mr Greenberg). “This was the real catalyst for Atelier Bloem,” he says. The town that they moved to in the Hudson Valley was founded by Dutch settlers in the 16th century, bringing the concept for the brand full circle.

What? There are six eau de parfums that form Atelier Bloem’s debut collection, each with a story to tell from elements of Dutch history. Nieuw Amsterdam, the original Dutch name for New York, is a rose-based fragrance, but not in the traditional sense: it’s “a rose by any another name,” Goetz quips, with notes of ginger, cedarwood, amber and musk. Half Moon is titled after English explorer Henry Hudson’s ship Halve Maen, the vessel that sailed from Amsterdam to the Artic in 1609, and represents new beginnings with hints of honeysuckle and jasmine emerging in spring. The Hudson Valley town that Malin and Goetz recently settled in founded in 1614, which is how this namesake perfume came to be, hints of black pepper and sweet clover reflecting the meadow beside the couple’s farmhouse. 

Iris was inspired by Goetz’s regular visits to the Van Gogh museum during his tenure in Amsterdam: “I know why Van Gogh painted the iris, because they are so architectural and they perfume the air with this incredibly heady scent that you can almost feel a little stoned from,” he explains. William, a neroli-based scent interspersed with orange blossom and amber is a wink and nod to the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange - “you’d be surprised how many people don’t get the joke!” laughs Goetz. And last but not least there is Black Tulip, an earthy and sexy floral, the inspiration for which was garnered from the 17th century period of Tulipmania, a time during the Dutch Golden Age when prices for bulbs skyrocketed, and the elusive ‘black tulip’ was unsuccessfully grown.

Why? “I love that the brand isn’t defined by gender in any way,” explains Goetz. “If something smells good it doesn’t matter what your gender is. I like to stir the pot a little bit and root for social justice and equality. This is my way of saying ‘it doesn’t have to masculine or feminine,’ and I think strong people – whether they are a woman or a man – will gravitate towards Atelier Bloem.” Alongside the democratic ethos behind the perfumery, it is clear from speaking with the founder that his project is real a labour of love, nurtured through extensive historical research right down to the subtlest of notes in the individual fragrances – and if that isn’t reason enough to invest in a bottle, then we don’t know what is.