The Best Shopping in Amsterdam

Amsterdam—a mecca for design fans—is a shopper’s paradise for everyone else, too, with vintage stores, one-of-a-kind boutiques, Dutch design outlets, and pop-up shops lining the streets and canals.

Highlights
Hartenstraat 37, 1016 CA Amsterdam, Netherlands
With their bold, unexpected color combinations and cool geometric shapes, Hester van Eeghen’s leather bags have gained a cultlike following in Amsterdam. Just about every Dutch fashionista owns one of these distinctive, über-functional purses—and likely a backpack and wallet too. Van Eeghen also brings her stylish design sensibility to briefcases, laptop holders, gloves, and shoes. All goods are conceived in Amsterdam and manufactured in Milan, which means excellent craftsmanship and the finest leather—with prices to match. Her flagship is on Hartenstraat in the chic Nine Streets area; there’s another location in the gallery district on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat.
Singel, 1012 XG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market. Here, you can browse 15 fragrant stalls on houseboats permanently moored on the Singel. Now the best-known flower market in Holland, this colorful attraction is packed with tourists on sunny weekends. Still, it’s a great place to pick up Dutch tulip bulbs in a plethora of shades and varieties, as well as many other types of bulbs, seeds, cut blooms, and houseplants. Ship a bag of bulbs home, or grab a souvenir at one of several shops hawking T-shirts, mugs, clogs, Dutch cheese, and other fun and inexpensive gifts.
Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BD Amsterdam, Netherlands
From morning until late afternoon every day (except Sunday), this blocks-long outdoor street market in De Pijp district teems with locals and tourists shopping for everything from produce, fish, and spices to clothing, fabric, and household goods. Among the 300-odd stalls you’ll find a wealth of Dutch delicacies including its famed cheeses, freshly made stroopwafels (a crunchy caramel-filled treat), kibbeling (fried-fish bites), and, for the brave, raw herring. There are also plenty of souvenirs to be had (clog key chains, canal-house magnets, Amsterdam T-shirts), and it’s a great place to pick up for cheap anything you forgot to pack (chargers, adapters, and socks galore).
Tweede Tuindwarsstraat 7, 1015 RX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Not only is this petite Jordaan-area concept store exceptionally well curated, but everything sold here—from lighting to handbags to scarves—is made using fair-trade production practices. Artfully arranged atop vintage teak furniture and shelving is a chic mix of pottery, pillows, jewelry, candles, and accessories, and staff members will happily explain the provenance of every item. Many pieces are by local designers, including leather goods from Monsak, minimalist jewelry by Dutch Basics, Van Tjalle en Jasper wood lamps, and shawls by Pom Amsterdam. And it stocks the must-have souvenir from the city synonymous with cycling: a miniature laser-cut-wood bicycle.
Haarlemmerstraat, 1013 Amsterdam, Netherlands
It could be the quirkiest strip in Amsterdam, featuring the Netherlands’ cutest collection of one-of-a-kind boutiques, bars and bistros. Stretching west from Central Station, Haarlemmerstraat and its continuation, Haarlemmerdijk, are the perfect stretch for a retail stroll, especially if you’re in the market for funky fashion, home decor or specialty food from all over the world. Lined with trendy shops (many with a conscience), delis, cafés, coffeeshops and even a few electronics stores, Haarlemmerstraat/Haarlemmerdijk offer one-stop holiday or souvenir shopping for Dutch and imported treasures. Start your retail therapy with free “wake and bake” juice and toast for those who purchase weed before noon at Picasso coffeeshop. Other smokers’ haunts on Haarlemmerstraat include Green House, where carp swim beneath your feet in an aquarium built into the floor; Barney’s, winner of multiple High Times Cannibus Cup titles; and Barney’s Uptown, a smoker-friendly bar and restaurant serving meals, cocktails, Belgian and Dutch draft beers and Italian wines. Suitably buzzed, browse shops like Mono, run by a friend of a Thai couple who supervise production of their fair-trade textiles and accessories in Asia; Meeuwig & Zoon, offering Mediterranean and flavored oils, from truffle to beechnut; Hollandaluz, proffering Spanish empanadas, sweets, cheeses and ceramic cookware; Jordino, a family-run business known for its chocolate pumps; and Ibericus, stocked with Iberian delicacies.
Tweede Egelantiersdwarsstraat 2, 1015 SC Amsterdam, Netherlands
It was the fifth of seven food stops on our Jordaan Food Tour (http://www.eatingamsterdamtours.com/jordaan-food-tour/), a four-hour gastronomic adventure through one of Amsterdam‘s most scenic and historic neighborhoods. We’d already devoured apple pie, Indonesian sandwiches, ossenworst, raw herring and lightly fried kibbeling. But could we find room for something sweet? Enter Mariska Schaefer, owner of Het Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje, an old-fashioned candy boutique that harks back to a simpler time, when kids saved pennies for a trip to the local candy store. As we might have expected, a child about ten was using his birthday money to buy a bag filled with his favorite sweets on the day we visited. “No pictures of children,” ordered Mariska, then turned her attention to the kid’s selections. “I opened the candy shop because I really like Dutch old-fashioned shops; they have so much more atmosphere than the big chain stores,” she reflects. Inspired by her grandmother, she stocks drop, the national sweet, in dozens of flavors in her small shop—some sweet, others salty, still others downright inedible for some.
Warmoesstraat 141, 1012 JB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Recognizable by the gaggle of camera-toting tourists who routinely gather to gawk at one of Amsterdam‘s funniest shop windows, The Condomerie proffers colorful condoms and other contraceptive methods in all shapes, sizes, flavors and colors, as well as a selection of erotic paraphernalia. To celebrate holidays, sports matches and other special events, fancy condoms are sometimes displayed as soccer teams and in other unlikely scenes. You’re in luck if you want your dick to look like a black cactus, Santa or the Statue of Liberty. Purchase a Fun Pack or other sexy souvenir for that boyfriend back home or pick up a Trial Pack to experiment with different condom brands, sizes and textures. Size does matter here, and you can order custom condoms based on measurements you submit of your erect penis (directions available online). Set on Warmoesstraat just off the famed Red Light District—where much of the erotic action happens—The Condomerie was founded in 1987 by two savvy women concerned about the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. The shop’s knowledgeable sales people contribute to a fun approach to responsible sex that makes it a pleasure to play it safe between the sheets.
Lijnbaansgracht 191, 1016 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Who knew you could buy a little string instrument for as little as €35, learn to play it in days and ramp up in weeks to performing in an urban orchestra? If you’re looking for a laugh to go along with your live music, hit Amsterdam‘s Uke Boutique, a canalside shop with a website that borrows a line from Beatle George Harrison to let us in on a little secret: “Everyone should have and play a uke. You can’t play and not laugh.” The small showroom stocks a wide range of ukuleles, from basic acoustic to concert, electric and designer models. You can also buy accessories, books, sheet music and handcrafted “ukalicious” straps, both in the shop and online. In addition to ukuleles, other small instruments are available, including harmonicas, flutes and melodicas. Both group and individual lessons are offered, for adults as well as children. The shop also plans ukulele workshops for parties and corporate team-building events. For a real laugh, order a whimsical, custom doll in the likeness of yourself or a friend, hand-crafted by The Uke Boutique’s owner, who also operates Crazy Orphelia’s Arts Emporium from inside her instrument shop. They’re not cheap, but they sure are funny!
516 SOU Singel
Are the Dutch so tall because they consume so much dairy? Hard to say, but the important thing is that delectable cheese made from the milk of cows and sheep grazing on lush pastures in Holland is sold throughout Amsterdam. Netherlanders have been making cheese since 400 C.E. and the product is as synonymous with Holland as tulips, clogs, and windmills. The country is the world’s largest cheese exporter, with a dairy industry that generates around €7 billion annually. There are touristy cheese markets in Alkmaar, Hoorn, and Edam where old weighhouses form the backdrop for the traditional cheese trade. For Amsterdam visitors, shops like Henri Willig Cheese & More proffer everything from mild Gouda and mellow Edam to Boerenkaas (literally, farmers’ cheese), an artisanal raw-milk product. The mini chain of cheese manufacturer Henri Willig was founded in 1974 and now has six shops in the center city and six others elsewhere in Holland. Over 1 million customers visit Henri Willig annually for organic, goat, and smoked cheese, as well as Dutch specialties like Frisian clove cheese (made with low-fat milk, cumin, and cloves) and Leidse kaas, the piquant, cumin-scented variety from Leiden. Henri Willig shops also sell cheese graters, slicers, fondue sets, and other accessories, as well as sweets like Dutch drop (licorice), chocolate, and stroopwafels. An export division ships products to 25 countries. Stop in for a snack, as samples are always set out for hungry customers.
29 Berenstraat
“9 Streets” (De 9 Straatjes) is a charming, picturesque shopping area in the heart of Amsterdam‘s canal district. Located between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat, this area is named after the nine side streets connecting the main 17th-century canals in the stylish Jordaan neighborhood. Spend a leisurely day browsing in the artisan boutiques, local designer shops, art galleries, cafes, canal-side restaurants, bars and more. You’ll be intrigued by all of the unique, beautiful objects for sale.
Leidsestraat
With shops offering enough pumps, boots, spike heels, designer clothes, cosmetics, suitcases and specialty foods to satisfy the fussiest shopper, Leidsestraat attracts droves of tourists, locals and fashionistas. Whether you’re searching for high style, camp shoes, Dutch cheese or soft drugs, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for in the boutiques, high-end department stores, specialty shops and coffeeshops on this busy passenger byway and the small streets shooting off from it. Running from Koningsplein to Leidseplein, Leidsestraat continues the shopping adventure where Kalverstraat (Amsterdam‘s other pedestrian shopping street) leaves off. Walking south, you’ll know you’ve reached it when you come to the flower stands at the Bloemenmarkt. Popular draws include Sissy Boy, Replay, Abercrombie & Fitch, Metz & Co., Cora Kemperman, V & D, Eicholtz and a Henri Willig Cheese & More shop. As you approach Leideseplein, one of Amsterdam’s entertainment squares, more souvenir shops, fast food options and money changing outlets appear. Watch out for trams running down the center of the pedestrian byway!
Staalstraat 7-A, 1011 JJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
What do you get when you combine a design gallery/store with a café, beauty salon, fashion boutique and rental apartment? Add it all up and it equates to Droog, a multifunctional space that melds a 160-square meter exhibition space with an airy dining room, a tearoom overlooking an outdoor garden and a single bedroom for overnight guests. “The concept of a hotel has been reversed,” says Renny Ramakers, co-founder and director of Droog. “Whereas a hotel is...mostly about sleeping, here we have enlarged and emphasized all the aspects that many hotels also offer and made them central to the experience—and it even has a room to sleep in.” Housed in a 17th century building in central Amsterdam, Droog showcases product design in exhibitions and lectures, and invites people to plug in as they choose. In the gallery, view the latest in international furniture design, art and fashion. Shop at the Droog Store, then refuel at RoomService by Droog, open for late breakfast, lunch, high tea and early dinner, or just drinks and snacks. Head to Cosmania to up your beauty game, shop for hip fashion at Kabinet and stock up on wellness products at Weltevree. On top floor, Hôtel Droog offers overnight guests a brightly-lit bedroom, bathroom with separate bath and shower, living area and kitchen. Perched in the aery enclave, enjoy a splendid view of Amsterdam rooftops and the city below.
Prinsengracht 112, 1015 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Just down the street from the Anne Frank House is the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. It feels more like a shop, shelves filled to the ceiling with a huge variety of Dutch cheeses, including the world-famous gouda and edam varieties. If you are strolling along the lovely Prinsengracht canal, this is a nice place to taste some samples and buy some packable souvenirs for home. And on the blocks alongside the museum are plenty of open-air, canal-side cafes.
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