Everything You Need To Know About Shopping In Amsterdam
While shopping might not be one of the main reasons most people consider visiting Amsterdam for, it should be. Amsterdam is one of the most stylish and atmospheric cities for shopping in Europe.
What makes it so special, and pretty unique, is the eclectic mix of store-lined streets, quaint historic districts peppered with high-end boutiques, galleries and antique shops, and then its more modern department stores and malls. Amsterdam's markets, like the Albert Cuyp Market and the Bloemenmarkt, are hubs of bustle where you can buy not just Dutch produce, but shop and eat from an array of international offerings too.
It's practically impossible to not buy anything when you go to the shops in Amsterdam and you'll be surprised at just how quickly you have a handful of bags. You can't carry all that shopping and your luggage. Leave your suitcase or rucksack with our partners for luggage storage in Amsterdam and you'll enjoy your session of Dutch retail therapy much more.
Shopping Streets In Amsterdam
Nine Streets – Negen Straatjes
You can explore the city's unique UNESCO World Heritage Canal Belt at the same time as going to the shops in Amsterdam when you shop in the Negen Straatjes.
The Negen Straatjes, or Nine Little Streets in English, is a characterful nine street district a five-minute walk from Dam Square, the Anne Frank House Museum, and the Rijksmuseum as well as being close to many of Amsterdam's other main attractions.
Shopping in the Nine Streets is just as much about enjoying the historic buildings, the chic cafes, and the atmosphere as it is about what's in the quirky boutiques and stores that line the narrow paved streets.
Best thing to do before you go is download a map from the Nine Streets of Amsterdam official website then wander through the neighborhood in a zig-zag fashion so you don't miss one little corner of it. What you'll find is a diverse array of unique shops selling everything from watches to Doc Martens to vintage- that means second-hand - Louis Vuitton bags.
The PC Hooftstraat is a very trendy shopping street in Amsterdam's museum district. Named after a 19th-century Dutch poet, the boutique windows PC Hooftstraat will have you waxing lyrical, but the price tags may well reduce you to tears.
The PC Hooftstraat is what is known as Amsterdam's fashion district and it's where you'll find all the big-name exclusive shops like Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton leather bags, Ralph Lauren, Armani, and many, many more. Go dressed to the nines when you're going shopping on PC Hooftstraat. Even if you're not, you'll give off the air of being wealthy just because you're shopping on PC Hooftstraat.
If you want to get some exercise while shopping then Kalverstraat in Amsterdam's city center is the best street to head for. Kalverstraat is the longest and possibly the busiest shopping street in the city center. It's pedestrianized so you don't have traffic to deal with when you see something in the window on the opposite side of the road, just throngs of shoppers.
On this three-quarters of a kilometer long street you'll find an immense variety of shops, small boutiques, and cafes you can drop into for a rest when you've run out of shopping steam. There are middle-of-the-road price fashion stores such as H&M and Nike shoe shops as well as haute couture, homeware shops, and in between them all, gift shops and souvenir shops where you pick up something memorable to take home with you.
The Leidsestraat is another popular shopping street in Amsterdam which, while it's wider than Kalverstraat, isn't so long and on Leidsestraat you have trams and bicycles to look out for so it can seem quite chaotic.
What Leidsestraat is renowned for is its fashion boutiques so if you’re wanting to go clothes shopping in Amsterdam this is the street to head for. On Leidsestraat you'll find stores for the French label Zadig and Voltaire, American fashion firm Abercombie and Fitch, Levi's, and Timberland as well as discount sportswear shops like Adidas and JD Sports. There are high-end boutiques on the Leidsestraat too including Hugo Boss and Ted Baker.
Beethovenstraat in the Zuid district of Amsterdam is one of the city's main shopping streets, but one with a distinctly different character to most of the others.
The Beethovenstraat has a reserved look and atmosphere created by high-end boutiques, expensive jewelry stores, posh nosh delicatessens, and first-class wine merchants. Favored by the well-known and wealthy, the Beethovenstraat is the street to take a seat on a cafe terrace and wait to see who passes by laden down with their purchases.
Department Stores And Malls In Amsterdam
If you haven't been to Dam Square you haven't been to Amsterdam and if you haven’t been to De Bijenkorf, one of Amsterdam's high-end department stores, then you haven’t been shopping in the city either.
Dam Square really is the heart of Amsterdam and on one corner sits one of Holland's iconic department stores, De Bijenkorf. The De Bijenkorf department store dominates the square. Externally imposing, the building has several floors and inside totally lives up to its name which means beehive.
You'll need a good few hours to browse this store in its entirety and you'll want to. It's a bit like being in an Aladdin's cave of goodies that just keeps giving. You'll find products from well-known Dutch brands as well as renowned international names ranging from quality regular items to stuff that can only be classed as pure luxury goods.
The Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet is a huge mall in Lelystad which is around an hour outside of Amsterdam which is easily accessible by public transport. If you're not sure about using buses, trains or trams, read this how to get around Amsterdam guide.
The Batavia Stad is an indoor mall where all the stores carry discounted stock so if you're not into luxury shopping then this is the place for you. That means huge savings as the price can be anywhere from thirty to seventy percent lower than in normal shops. In the mall, there are more than a hundred and fifty stores stocking over two and fifty well-known brand names at irresistible prices so be prepared to leave with an armful of bags.
Once a palatial-looking post office, the Magna Plaza is now one of Amsterdam's biggest shopping malls. Located in Amsterdam city center not far from the real royal palace, this late 19th-century Gothic building is a treasure trove of stores stocking Dutch and international brands.
The Magna Plaza is as architecturally interesting inside as it is outside and you may well find yourself staring up at the ornately decorated arches, columns, and ceiling rather than window shopping.
The Magna Plaza houses shops stocking everything from Dutch cheeses to perfumes to homeware. The only thing that will stop you from getting exactly what's on your shopping list, is finding your way around the place.
Shopping Districts In Amsterdam
The Spiegelkwartier of Amsterdam is where to go when you want to shop in a more relaxed atmosphere. The Spiegelkwartier is not far from the Diamond Museum and the Van Gogh Museum and is rightfully known as Amsterdam's art and antiques district.
In the canal-side Spiegelkwartier, there are numerous art galleries and antique stores as well as vintage clothes shops and curiosity gift outlets stocking some weird and wonderful one-off objects. Even if you don't want what's on offer in the Spiegelkwartier shops, it's still worth going as it's a pleasant area to wander around with endless photo opportunities.
The Haarlemmerdijk is an Amsterdam shopping district right next to Amsterdam Central Station so even if you've just arrived you can get straight into some retail therapy before you head for your accommodation.
The busiest day in Haarlemmerdijk is Wednesday when a large outdoor farmers market takes place. On the market they sell fresh, organic produce so don't compete with the boutique-style stores which stock everything from vintage fashion to books and kitchen equipment. When you need a break from all the browsing, Westerpark is just a few paces away. Have a rest there by the river then start your Amsterdam shopping spree all over again.
Markets In Amsterdam
The Albert Cuyp Market is one Amsterdam shopping spot everyone should visit. The hustle and bustle of the busy market has a vibe all of its own and is also where you can get your hands on some of the best street food in Amsterdam. That's a good enough reason on its own for going.
The market is held over six days, closed on Sundays, on Albert Cuypstraat in the De Pijp district of the city. There are almost three hundred individual stalls to browse around so to see them all between nine and five you need to get your running shoes on. No need to waste time on bartering though as everything has a fixed price the same as in the shops.
Visiting the Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market, is an experience in itself. Even if you're not into plants and flowers, you can always pick up some tulip bulbs to take home as a gift for any friend or parent that has a garden.
At the Bloemenmarkt the curbside stalls are really on barges that are actually afloat on the Singel Canal. The flower market has been operating for well over a hundred and fifty years and is iconic of Amsterdam. The market is open seven days of the week though the hours of business are shorter on Sundays. If you suffer from hayfever or any type of pollen allergy then the Bloemenmarkt is best avoided.
Once you've been shopping once in Amsterdam, it's something you'll want to repeat time and time again. Amsterdam is, in truth, a shopaholic's and bargain hunters retail heaven where you could spend an entire week just going from boutique to boutique, store to store, street to street, and mall to mall. That's without mentioning the art galleries with unique items, the antique shops with their classy examples of vintage goods from bygone days, or the city's sensational markets where you could spend an entire day alone. The only thing you have to do when going shopping in Amsterdam is enjoy it because it'll be a fantastic experience you won't forget in a hurry, especially if you snack midday on pickled herrings followed by a stroopwafel.