With all the sightseeing tours, art, and round-the-clock entertainment, it’s easy to forget that Amsterdam is a modern shopping hub for every budget. The Dutch capital is littered with modern malls, street markets, and upscale shopping districts. There are numerous areas around the city to get a retail fix with each district offering its own unique shopping experience and atmosphere.
In fact, there are interesting places to shop in and around Amsterdam’s famous landmarks, so a customised private tour can easily combine shopping and sightseeing seamlessly. Searching for a unique Amsterdam gift not found in mainstream shopping malls? Our in-the-know local guides will show you around Amsterdam’s specialist shopping districts. Here are our top 5 recommended shopping spots in Amsterdam.
The Nine Streets
Tucked between the Singel and Prinsengracht canals in the heart of the canal belt, the ‘9 Straatjes’ is the center of Amsterdam’s independent boutique scene. This is where hip locals shop for clothes or simply hang out in trendy cafes. Although a cosmopolitan, modern shopping district, the area dates back to the 17th century with many preserved gabled townhouses converted to chic boutiques or art galleries.
Virtually every store in the nine streets has its own unique style. That means lots of choice for quirky street fashions, vintage clothing stores, antiques, hand-crafted homewares, art, gifts, and much more. Every store has something distinctive which is all part of the charm of the 9 streets experience.
There are as many cool cafés as there are fashion stores, so you won’t go hungry. There is a focus on bistro-style dining with organic, global cuisine, plus trendy cafes for a slice of cake and a caffeine fix. Stop by the eccentric specialist shops for one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs, from homewares from the 1950s and 1960s, to scented candles and incense.
If you only have time to browse one Amsterdam street market, make it the Albert Cuypmarkt. This is a shopper’s mecca which has been around over 100 years. It’s a one-stop trove of global food products: fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, spices, chocolate, and cheese, but it also sells virtually everything else you could possibly need. This includes cheap clothes, shoes, trinkets, bedding, fabrics, and cosmetics. There are about 300 vendors in total.
The vibrant fish stalls are the most photogenic if you just fancy strolling and soaking up the atmosphere. Don’t forget to stop and snack as you go. It is a great spot to sample quintessential Dutch street food, such as stroopwafels, poffertjes pancakes, raw herring, and chocolates. Also check out the cheese stalls and bakery stands. Popular with locals and tourists, it can get extremely crowded with as many as 50,000 bargain hunters on Saturdays.
Magna Plaza Shopping Center
C messier, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
The best thing about this indoor shopping center is the setting. Magna Plaza is housed in a grandiose 19th century neo-Gothic building which once served as the central post office. It has three floors of shopping topped with a large glass roof. Shops are situated behind classical arches on walkways.
Although small for modern shopping mall standards, there is a wide variety of wares for sale, from mainstream and upscale fashions, jewellery, gifts, and more. The ground floor hosts live music at weekends and on holidays, and there is a permanent Rembrandt exhibition of life-sized, digitally remastered paintings.
It seamlessly combines classical grandeur with modern shopping. Magna Plaza attracts almost as many sightseers and photographers as shoppers to admire the grand architecture. Magna Plaza is just a short walk from the Royal Palace and Dam Square.
P.C. Hooftstraat is commonly regarded as Amsterdam’s top luxury shopping hotspot. Situated in a leafy district between the Vondelpark and Museumplein, it is named after poet and writer, Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft.
It is home to celebrated luxury brands such as Chanel, Prada, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Jimmy Choo, as well as trendy local independent boutiques located in the quiet side streets. This neighborhood is one of the most attractive in Amsterdam.
P.C. Hooftstraat is a relatively short street so it’s a relaxing stroll, admiring the glamorous window displays and stopping for refreshments in one of the elegant cafes. The Museumplein is situated at one end of P.C. Hooftstraat, so a spot of luxury shopping can easily be combined with a day of sightseeing and art.
Waterlooplein Flea Market
This is the oldest flea market in the Netherlands, situated at Waterloo Square, previously the location of the old Jewish quarter of Amsterdam. Running from Monday to Saturday, it’s an always vibrant place housing over 300 stalls selling a huge range of second hand and new goods. It is one of the few places in Amsterdam where price haggling is encouraged.
There are antique dealers, second-hand trinkets, collectibles, furniture, old books, vintage clothing, and all kinds of quirky items. There is a big new goods section too, selling household items, fashion, textiles, handicrafts, jewellery, and souvenirs. Locals even come here to get their bicycles repaired.
The market has a colorful atmosphere with a constant hustle and bustle that should be experienced even if you are not in a shopping mood. There are food trucks and food stalls to grab a bite and soak up the atmosphere as well. Waterlooplein flea market is only a 15-minute walk from Amsterdam Square.
Amsterdam is definitely one of Europe’s top shopping experiences whatever your budget. The fashion scene is one of the most vibrant on the continent, while art and antique collectors flock to the Dutch capital. While you will notice many global brand stores from the mainstream to ultra-luxury, Amsterdam has a very independent spirit with a vibrant artisan and boutique scene offering goods you’ll find nowhere else.
A local guide will show you the best places to browse for exactly what you need. The city makes shopping such a stress-free delight thanks to the ease of getting between different shopping districts quickly on foot. Maximise your time with a shopping focused tour of Amsterdam.
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