Amsterdam boasts some of the best and most interesting shopping opportunities of any international capital city in the world. Take your pick from the many street markets that pepper the city centre to the high end fashion palaces around Dam Square. You will find tiny souvenir shops on many a street corner and miles of Dutch international and independent chain stores and pretty boutiques to explore too. From high streets stores, department stores, street markets to supermarkets, Amsterdam has it all. We at www.amsterdamapartments.com have put together a list of the city’s most interesting and exciting shopping locations to make life easier for you during your visit to the city. So begin planning your shopping trip now!
Shopping districts and department stores
Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk – These two mammoth shopping streets stretch outwards from Dam Square like two gigantically long arms. Both streets are jam-packed with a combination of Dutch and international chain stores selling anything from men and women’s fashion clothing, mobile phones, shoes, sports equipment, Amsterdam souvenirs, jewellery, toys to fast food. There are also a small number of cafes here too. In actual fact each street has a deceptive curve as it makes its way north and south to Central Station and the Muntplein. As a result wandering along these busy streets to reach your destination can take a lot longer than you may at first imagine. It’s also easy to forget which way you are facing and walking when you leave a shop as both streets look almost identical. To add to the confusion you will find several duplicate stores on each street. The streets are extremely busy in the day time whilst at night time they are nearly deserted so take care when wandering here late at night. Many of the upper floors above the shops are being slowly converted into residential apartments so the area is moving forward to being a populated area day and night, making it ultimately safer for all. www.kalverstraat.nl and http://www.nieuwendijk.nl/
Magna Plaza and Bijenkorf – These two huge stores are located behind and in front of the Royal Palace in Dam Square respectively. They house some of the country’s more upmarket brands of clothing and household goods amongst other items.
The Magna Plaza is an amazing19th century building designed in a rather glamorous Neo Gothic style and remains one of the most beautiful constructions in the city. Inside you will find multiple levels rising upwards sporting pretty archways built around a central foyer. In the centre a grand piano is often played to entertain you during your shopping experience. More of a shopping mall than a department store, you will find yourself darting in and out of stores and up and down escalators in search of all your favourite designers. You are likely to be exhausted if you venture into every shop in the complex so head down to the Italian style brasserie Ovidius which is located on the ground floor or the Italian coffee bar Ristretto on the top floor in search of much deserved refreshments. Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182 http://www.magnaplaza.nl/
The Bijenkorf is an extremely popular high-end department store featuring all the major designer names that you love. You can purchase everything from clothing, kitchenware and electronics to shoes, bags, watches, jewellery and cosmetics here. Head up to the restaurant and café on the top floor to grab a coffee and snack to keep your sugar levels topped up during your shopping spree. Address: Dam 1 http://www.debijenkorf.nl/
P.C. Hooftstraat – For yet even more high-end, high fashion labels head to the rather swanky P.C. Hooftstraat which has the dubious title of being the most expensive shopping street in the Netherlands. It’s at least fun to do a spot of window shopping here even if you, like most of us, can’t really afford the designer threads on sale during your holiday. There are also lots of little cafes and bars to pop into for a fresh Dutch beer or frothy coffee on your travels. The street runs along the side of Museum Square and is located, unsurprisingly, in one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in the city. http://www.pchooftstraat.nl/
Nine Streets District - Known locally as ‘De Negen Straatjes’ and located in the very heart of Amsterdam’s beautiful canal district, just two minutes’ walk from Dam Square, the Nine Streets make up one of the city’s most truly unique and delightful shopping areas. These nine parallel streets link each of the four great canals that loop the oldest part of the city and are an absolute delight to explore. You will discover the most charming shops and boutiques selling everything from the latest fashion clothing to vintage wear, jewellery, antiques, souvenirs and modern art amongst other items. Look out for the extremely unusual curiosity shops that also pepper the neighbourhood. You will also find some excellent restaurants serving delicious fare and laid back cafes to keep you refreshed on your travels around the city. Be sure to look up at the amazing architecture of the buildings since they date back to the 17th century and represent an excellent overview of all the construction styles incorporated across the city. http://www.theninestreets.com/
Floating Flower Market – this world famous market really does actually float on the water of the Singel canal since the flower stalls are built onto a buoyant platform. Here you can find all kinds of wonderful and unusual colourful plants and bulbs to choose from. The market offers a popular service sending authentic Dutch tulip bulbs oversees to either friends and family as gifts or to your home as a souvenir of your visit.
De Jordaan - For a more eccentric, bohemian experience, head to de Jorddaan, a maze of tiny streets alongside the Canal Belt district chock-full of small boutiques, art galleries, second-hand treasure troves and artists' studios. (http://www.jordaaninfo.nl/)
Haarlemmerstraat - Haarlemmerstraat is a charming central bustling street full of shopping opportunities and eateries.It was recently voted to be the best independent shopping street in the Netherlands.
Red Light District – This world famous city attraction is not only home to the city’s ‘Red Light community’ but is also packed with a host of small stores, boutiques and kiosks selling a large range of ‘adult items’. Whether it is fetish clothing, marital aids or silly ‘sexy souvenirs’ you are looking for, you are sure to find it all (and so much more) here.
Amsterdam is famous for its many street markets selling food, clothing and household goods at much more affordable prices than the high-street supermarkets and stores. The main city markets are:
Albert Cuyp Market - Textiles, toys, plants, clothing, army surplus and jewellery as well as preserved food ingredients, fresh fruit and vegetables and so much more. Open daily. http://www.albertcuypmarkt.com/
Waterlooplein Market - Pick up just about anything and everything form this mainly second hand street market. Highlights are the excellent bric-a-brac stalls laid out on the ground and the many mountiaous piles of clothing. Dig seep in search of buried treasure and be prepared to haggle if you are determined to get an absolute bargain. You will also find lots of international handicrafts on sale. Open Monday to Saturday : http://www.waterlooplein.nl
Ten Katestraat Market – Fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, cheeses, household goods, bicycle accessories, toys, textiles and more. Open Monday to Saturday from 09.00 until 17.00 http://www.detenkatemarkt.nl/
Nieuwmarkt – Themed markets are held daily here in the warmer months. Records, handicrafts, books and antiques, amongst other items, can regularly be found on sale here. Saturday markets see an excellent array of farmers’ market products including delicious organic vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat. http://www.nieuwmarkt.org/
Dappermarkt – It’s particularly famous for its delicious unusual international cooking ingredients from countries including Morocco, Antilles, Turkey and Suriname. This market was named as one of the top ten markets in the world in the November/December 2007 edition of National Geographic Traveller Magazine. Non-food items are also available here. The market is open Monday to Saturday between 10.00 and 16.30 throughout the year and is located on Dapperstraat. http://www.dappermarkt.nl/
Noordermarkt – As with Nieuwmarkt, Saturday markets here also present Farmers’ produce including delicious cheeses and organic fruit and vegetables. Mondays see an excellent flea market from 09.00 until 14.00 whilst on other days you will find stall upon stall selling all kinds of fabulous fabrics as well as clothes and other interesting items. The Noordermarkt is located outside the Noorderkerk in the city’s beautiful Canal Belt district just a few minutes’ walk from Central Station.
Individual Shops of Interest
La Savonnerie – Handmade elegance. This is an especially lovely shop featuring handmade soaps and toiletries and you can select your own customized soap to be made. (Prinsengracht 294, 1016 HJ Binnenstad. 020 4281139 http://www.savonnerie.nl/)
Beauregard - Featuring a large range of original and colorful women’s fashion and accessories mainly from southern European designers, this is their flagship store. (Runstraat 29, 1016 GJ Amsterdam 020 5287222 http://www.beauregard.nl)
Leuk! - Innovative women’s fashion with friendly and attentive staff. (Utrechtsestraat 35, 1017 VH. 020 6387768 or http://www.leukdewinkel.nl/)
Look Out - Daring designer men’s and women’s clothing in a wide variety of styles. (Utrechtsestraat 91, 1017 VK. 020 6255032 or http://www.lookoutmode.com/)
Kaashius Tromp - Tromp’s House of Cheese - This is the place to be for Dutch cheese. Also in addition to more than 250 foreign cheeses on offer you will find Beemster cheese sold exclusively under the Smaaq label. Scrumptious farmer’s cheeses are also produced by independent farms from the province of Zuid-Holland. The atmosphere is warm, the cheese delicious and the wine pairings divine. (Utrechtsestraat 90, 1017 VS. 020 6241399 or http://www.cheesebymail.nl/)
Oud Hollands Snoepwinkeltje - Sweet tooth heaven. Be sure to visit thist charming old-style sweet store. (Tweede Egelantiersdwarsstraat 1, 1015SC. 020-4207390)
Zilch - Casual & chic. This shop features a great collection of casual wear made entirely from natural fabrics in a wide range of styles and sizes with mid-range prices. (Haarlemmerstraat 1, 1013 EH. 020 - 420 62 68 or www.zilch.nl/winkels.asp)
Kwazimodo - Cool style. This popular shop boasts a great collection of ultra stylish men’s and women’s clothing and friendly, knowledgeable staff (Haarlemmerstraat 60, 1013 ES, 020 4223911)
Jay's Juices - Thirst quenchers. This is a great place to stop in and refresh yourself with some delicious freshly-squeezed juices. The passion fruit-apple-pineapple combo is especially tasty and wheatgrass fans won’t be disappointed. (Haarlemmerstraat 14 1013 ER. 020 6231267 or http://www.jaysjuices.nl/)
Sabon - Healthy luxury. has marvelous health and beauty products - everything in the store can be tested out, from five minute mud masks to hand scrubs, and everything is all-natural (Kalverstraat 94, 1012 PH. 020-6202055 or www.sabon.nl/vestigingen).
Pompadour - Best Chocolate shop. Most popular Dutch chocolates include Droste and Verkade but for those who appreciate chocolate as art visit Pompadour and sample some divine hand-made creations. (Huidenstraat 12, Amsterdam. Tel: 31 250 623 9554)
Robin & Rik - Best leather in town. Located just off Runstraat, this shop is the best place to find gorgeous handmade leather items. (Runstraat 30, Amsterdam. Tel: 31 250 623 7302)
Zipper - Second-hand style. This is the shop for well-priced, stylish, second-hand clothes. (Huidenstraat 7, Amsterdam. Tel: 31 250 623 7302)
Good to Know
For more information on where to shop in Amsterdam, as well as detailed descriptions of what’s on offer in each of Amsterdam’s many shopping districts check out NL Streets, an online Netherlands shopping compendium. For the tech-saavy, make sure to download their NL Streets app, to get on the go shopping advice and information. www.nlstreets.nl/EN/
Most goods are subject to a value added tax (BTW) which amounts to 6% for books and 19% clothes, housewares, and home goods. Non EU citizens are eligible for a partial refund providing the correct forms are presented to customs on departure. Look for shops displaying “Tax Free for Tourists” signs and follow the instructions but be sure to keep all receipts to prove the total exceeds 50 euros.
Note: This information was accurate at time of posting. Because things often change, we suggest that you confirm details directly with the location of interest. Copyright 2012.
by James Fisher