For many of us, first moving to Switzerland means suffering sticker shock at nearly every turn. One way to find relief from this phenomenon might be a visit to a “Brockenhaus”. Also called brocante or Brocki, the Brockenhaus is a store that accepts donated old items and resells them to the public; in other words a thrift store. You will discover that the Brockenhäuser are full of unusual treasures other than just furniture. With a bit of luck, you can find old hatpins and cuckoo clocks, antique hand-crafted doll’s houses and a wealth of Christmas decorations. Why not give your home a unique touch and transform an old piece. Here is a list of our favourite Brockenhäuser in Luzern.
Bleicherstrasse 10 l 041 368 51 30 I website
Here you will find the normal clothing and household items as well as musical instruments and a variety of knick-knacks. Half the fun is that you never know what you will walk out the door with. Unique discoveries here include beautiful market shopping baskets, a brand-new clay Schlemmertopf, and two old cane chairs that were transformed with vintage Belgium grainsacks and a little paint.
St. Karli Brockenstube
St.-Karli-Strasse 11 l 041 460 47 02
This Brockenhaus offers the usual clothing and household items, but it also always has a big selection of furniture and is, perhaps, the best-priced shop in town. Negotiating a discount might be a challenge but is known to be possible, especially on items that have been sitting around for a while. The piece of dining room furniture pictured above was bought here and transformed.
Klosterstrasse 14 l 041 240 39 50
This is run by IG Arbeit, which helps people with personal problems get back into the work force. It has the usual array of furniture, clothes, books and jewellery.
Industriestrasse 17 l 041 362 00 69
If you would rather buy furniture that has already been renovated, then this is the shop for you. The furniture is slightly more expensive than in a Brockenhaus, but you are saving on hours of sandpapering and refurbishing. Right next to this shop are Ziitlos and Brocante, both offering second-hand goods at great prices.
Langsägerstrasse 5, 6010 Kriens I 041 310 85 10 I website
Slightly out of town the Salvation Army’s Brockenhaus contains a wide array of goods. From clothes, to crockery, furniture and rarities. It is well worth a visit.
For those who would like to have a go at fixing up a piece of furniture single-handedly but don’t feel they have the skill, Migros Klubschule regularly offers workshops that will help you give your newly found treasure a new look.
With a bit of imagination, a little money can go a long way.