Although Amsterdam is most famous for its canals,
numerous coffee shops, uncanny museums and the red light district, the city
also hides many other gems waiting to be discovered by the more-adventurous
visitors. So drop your classic tourist booklets and dare to go beyond the usual
sights! First step – The Waterlooplein Flea Market!
population of less than a million, Amsterdam is not among the biggest European
cities. Yet the abundance of sights and the city’s unique charm make it one of
the top tourist destinations not only in Europe but world-wide. Over 5 million
international visitors and 16 million day trippers visit the city each year and
these numbers are steadily rising. In fact, tourism is a significant part of
the city’s economy so significant investments have been made in this sector
looking to secure and increase the tourism revenue.
Amsterdam is in many ways a tourist paradise. You never seem to run out on
sights or entertainment options, and the only limiting factor seems to be –
your finances. It’s quite easy to spend a fortune in Amsterdam without even
realizing it, but if you are on a short budget your options become limited. Or
at least it seems that way if you are looking at the tourist booklets or aiming
for the best knows city attractions. But Amsterdam offers heaps of other
options that don’t require as much money and are in fact just as unique,
thrilling and worthy of a visit. One of my favorite such places is the
Waterlooplein Flea Market, located right in the city center, in the former
Jewish quarter, near the Amstel River.
Most big cities
have at least one flea market in them, but there is something very special
about Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein market. Its size and profusion of goods as well
as the diversity of things on offer and people browsing and walking around all
add up to the distinctive atmosphere and experience of shopping around or just
visiting this market. With over 300 stands, the Waterlooplein market truly
offers a little bit of everything! You’ll find both used and new things ranging
from all sorts of clothes, uniforms, books, CDs and DVDs, electronics, bicycles
and bicycle parts, souvenirs, art and a lot of what I’ll commonly call – garbage.
If you get hungry there’s also a few stands that offer snacks and drinks so you
can easily recharge and continue browsing through the market. Among the
thousands of tacky things and souvenirs there’s always at least one bric a brac
thing you just can’t do without. So be prepared for at least one impulse buy.
The prices at
the market vary depending mostly on whether the items are new or used and how
“popular” they are. New clothes and electronics are not exactly cheap (not what
you would expect from a flea market at least) but among the used stuff you can
really find amazing deals. And don’t be afraid to bargain your way to a lower
price, as that is in fact expected of you.
And never forget
– to find gold you really have to dig hard and deep so take a good look at all
the items on offer, particularly if you are into antique and vintage stuff, and
you are sure to find your little lump of gold. As with any flea market you only
need to be patient, keep your eyes open – and yes, keep a lookout for
pickpockets as they do tend to operate in this area.
Whether you end
up buying heaps of stuff or go home empty handed, one thing is for sure – you
will have a lot of fun walking around, browsing through clothes and other goods
and just enjoying the unique experience and atmosphere at the Waterlooplein. If
you don’t hear it at the market itself – you might want to put your headphones
on and play the famous song (in Netherlands at least) “Oh Waterlooplein” while
walking around – just to make your experience that much better.
1011 NZ AMSTERDAM
through Saturday, from 09:00 to 18:00. Closed on Sundays.
How to get there:
Walking: Around 15 minutes from the Dam square
towards east. The Waterlooplein is located behind theRed Light district,
just next to theRembrandt house.
Amsterdam metro lines: 51, 53 and 54 (stop: Waterlooplein)
Tram: 9 and 14 (stop: Waterlooplein / Stadhuis)