All it took was a quick walk through central Maitland for Dutch artist Patricia Van Lubeck to fall in love.
After 10 years in New Zealand, a desire to return to a bigger city drove Patricia and partner Frank to scope out Australia’s east coast last year.
Priced out of Sydney, the couple put down roots briefly in Newcastle but “never really settled there”.
It was a day trip to Maitland which saw them throw their plans into the air again, with the couple immediately drawn to the historic buildings littered throughout the city centre.
“We came here for one day and the atmosphere immediately felt right,” Patricia said. “There’s a sense of community here that we hadn’t felt in Newcastle.”
They wasted no time purchasing their eventual home and studio at 321 High Street, rebranding the building formerly known as Heartland Antiques as Studio Amsterdam.
They opened in January, with Patricia continuing to sell her work internationally as well as picking up local customers.
The pair are full of praise for their new home, as well as the city’s burgeoning art scene.
“We had heard of the art gallery at Morpeth before we moved here, there’s a strong art scene here and a lot of events on,” she said. In terms of beauty, Patricia is confident the city measures up – even to Amsterdam.
“It has everything that a small city has,” she said.
“It’s a really beautiful city – maybe Maitland itself doesn't even realise it.”