Waterlooplein: Finding Gold Amidst Others' Garbage
If searching for treasures amidst other folks' junk is your kinda thing, head to the Waterlooplein Flea Market on Amsterdam's northeast side, across the Amstel River from Rembrantplein. Named for the Battle of Waterloo that took down Napoleon in 1815, the city's oldest outdoor bazaar features 300 stands stocked with everything from new and second-hand clothing to antique bric-a-brac, old military camouflage, bicycle parts, Che Guevara posters, vintage tableware, vinyls from the '50s, graffiti spray paint and other curiosities from past and contemporary eras. With roots going back to the late 19th century, when Jewish merchants hawked their wares on the square, Waterlooplein has a long tradition of commerce in Amsterdam. The Nazi invasion forced a hiatus of trade, but the market rose from the ashes of World War II as an outdoor bazaar in the city's Jewish quarter, soon magnetizing youth and hippie culture in the '60s and '70s. Open daily except Sunday, it remains a big draw for tourists. Adjacent to the market, find the Mozes en Aäronkerk church and Stopera, the latter housing both Amsterdam's City Hall and its Muziektheater, home of De Nederlandse Opera, Het Nationale Ballet, and the Holland Symfonia. Exit the first stop on the metro to reach Waterlooplein, or access the square via tram 9 or 14. A visit to the flea market is easily combined with tours of the nearby Jewish Historical Museum and Portuguese Synagogue.
By Melissa Adams, AFAR Local Expert