Over mid-winter break, Lucas and I flew to Amsterdam for a quick visit.
While away, we took a couple of days trips to other cities in the Netherlands including Haarlem which is just 15 minutes away by train.
I looked for things to do in the area and read about a very interesting pharmacy worthy of a quick visit.
Van Der Pigge still has a gaper right above the door.
According to Wikipedia, a gaper is “a stone or wooden figurehead, often depicting a Moor, Muslim, or North African. The figurehead first appeared in the late 16th century as a hangout sign used outside the storefronts of drug stores in the Netherlands.”Before heading inside, we noticed a collection of smaller gaper statues in the window.Van Der Pigge is like a time warp. It looks like things haven’t changed in years.
When you walk in, look up and you’ll notice two snakes hanging from the ceiling. You’ll also notice more gapers on the shelves.We spent around 10 minutes checking out the store, admiring all of the interesting items on display.We found it pretty funny how the gaper statues had their mouths open wide.
Based on what I read, the open mouth signifies the person is opening wide to take their medicine! Lucas was curious about the alligator hanging from the ceiling and asked one of the women working in the shop if it was real. It was and it looked like a very old piece of taxidermy. Overall, we really enjoyed checking out this old pharmacy in Haarlem.
It was interesting to read about this very old form of pharmacy signage and see many examples in-person. The shop also reminded me of other interesting sites I’ve visited in the past. I was definitely surprised that I didn’t come across Van Der Pigge on Atlas Obscura.
Have you ever seen a gaper outside of a pharmacy? If so, where was the shop?
Van Der Pigge is located at Gierstraat 3 in Haarlem, the Netherlands.