Best places to shop in Amsterdam
Many come to Amsterdam for its breathtaking canals, to sample its cheese and even dabble in its infamous coffeeshop culture. Some, however, come to shop till they drop. Amsterdam’s extensive shopping experience rivals that of any other European city, with shopping avenues, multi-story department stores and markets that’ll quench the thirst of every shopaholic.
There’s no better place to begin the ultimate shopping adventure than at Amsterdam Central Station. From this launching point you can walk up the oldest shopping street in Amsterdam, the Nieuwendijk and pop into its small, trendy fashion houses and souvenir shops. Crossing over the cobblestones of Dam Square you’ll find yourself at the foothills of Kalverstraat: the Oxford Street of Amsterdam. This thoroughfare is jam-packed with fashion brands like H&M, Forever 21 and River Island. Head over to Leidsestraat to continue your fix of fashion and cosmetic brand shopping.
Lined with high-end luxury boutiques from Chanel to Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, P.C. Hooftstraat has not only been named Amsterdam’s best shopping street but third in the world! Locally referred to as the “PC” (pronounced “Pay-Say”), this chic thoroughfare is to Amsterdam what 5th Avenue is to New York.
All the top brands are here from Hugo Boss to Rolex, Benetton to Armani and everything in between. Simply the most expensive shopping street in Amsterdam and is usually full of window shoppers like me.
While its number of upscale shops have the potential to max out your credit cards, there are a handful of mainstream brands like Diesel and Replay to make sure you’re not rendered penniless after you splurge.
The 9 Streets
De Negen Straatjes are quite literally nine side streets that connect Amsterdam’s canals in the hip and trendy Jordaan.
The Nine Streets have many special shops, ones you will not find elsewhere, The toothbrush shop, the candle shop, many clothes shops, shops selling everything from the 1920's, another selling nothing but 50's 60's stuff. After the 9 streets comes the main Jordan area. the former workers area full of little houses and even more unique shops to explore.
These quaint, 17th-century cobblestone streets are brimming with speciality shops selling everything from vintage clothes, products, original gifts and retro furniture.
Get lost on these picturesque streets and end your visit at one of the cosy cafes or bars in the neighbourhood. Whether you’re in town to shop or not, De Negen Straatjes is the place to be for a real taste of Old Amsterdam. Not just the cheese.
Noordermarkt / Jordan area.
Berenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Oude Speigalstraat, Reestraat, Hartenstraat,
GathuisMolensteeg, Runstraat, Huidenstraat, WijdeHeisteeg ,this cosy area of Amsterdam, just a five-minute walk from Dam Square near the Noorderkerk.
The Noorderkerk. market held on Saturday, which is sure to satisfy the curiosity of most if not all visitors: second-hand books and clothes and other bric a brac as well as antiques, flowers and fresh food with an area dedicated to all that is organic.
Also located in the Jordaan area is Boom Chicago (Famous English speaking Comedy show http://www.boomchicago.nl located on Rozengracht which is close to the Anne Frank house.
Let’s face it; Amsterdam is the kind of city where it almost always rains. And when it rains, Amsterdam’s department stores quite literally have you covered. De Bijenkorf is more than an excellent shelter from the rain; it’s a multi-storey luxury department store on Dam Square.
The former haberdashery shop is currently home to some high-end fashion and designer brands. You’ll find everything from Louis Vuitton to Gucci and Chanel all living happily under one roof. Perhaps the biggest advantage De Bijenkorf offers tax-free shopping for non-EU travellers.
Just behind the Royal Palace on Dam Square is Magna Plaza, an indoor shopping centre spread over four floors. Its 19th-century neo-Gothic architecture and classical grandeur combine well with modern amenities and facilities that complete the shopping experience. Clothes, jewellery, shoes, food, the Magna Plaza has it all. Shop at the likes of Lacoste, Mango and Swarovski and find your way to Grand Cafe Ovidius for a well-deserved break.
Two of the most loved shopping streets among Amsterdammers are Haarlemmerdijk (leading into Haarlemmerstraat) and secondly, Utrechtsestraat. The thoroughfares are lined with quaint boutiques and quirky speciality stores selling lifestyle products, kitchenware, music and literature. Locals love having a borrel (drink) or dinner at one of the cosy cafes and restaurants on these streets. Do as the Dutch do and join them during or after your shopping spree.
Amsterdam is a shopping paradise; Amsterdam has so much to offer the average shopper, it's a wonderland of everything the shopper would ever want.
Other good shopping streets are Leidsestraat (Located between the
Flower market and Leidseplein) it's actually the street leading to Leidseplein. This also has several international brands as well as lots of Dutch stores. This street even has an American food store called "Iholtz" which sells a lot of imported products from the USA and is ideal for the American tourists who wish to have their favourite breakfast cereal or midnight snacks.
Leidseplein also has lots to offer, mostly eating places coffeeshops. and several of the top nightclubs.
Damrak and Rokin are the two streets which follow on from one another and are the first streets all tourists land on after exiting Central station on arrival in Amsterdam. Damrak is a real touristy street packed with cheap nasty hotels, rip-off exchange offices and several cafes and restaurants offering "Tourist Menus" with guys outside trying to get you inside and many other shops selling everything the tourist may require.
Opposite, on the other side of the street are where you can get a canal ride, several different companies offering several different tours and a little further up to the right stands Amsterdam's most famous (and one of the worst) coffeeshops The Grass Hopper. At night the entire building turns green.(click on link to see) This also has a bar and a restaurant.
Rokin and Damrak are very wide roads and can be quite dangerous to tourists, especially ones just arrived so be careful of bicycles, trams, cars and buses which will be coming up one way and down the other with trams in the middle and bikes every way. If you hear a cling, cling from behind you, get out of the way quick but remembering NOT to jump the wrong way as you may get hit by a tram as happened a few years back to a now deceased tourist. Take care, they are everywhere.
On Damrak Maison de Bonneterie and a little further up on the corner of Dam Square Bijenkorf's (Beehive in English) are Amsterdam's answers to Harrods of London, Both large upmarket department stores with all the best brands as well as their own high-quality brands. Dutch people only tend to shop in Bijenkorf's during sale times which is several times a year. There always seems to be a sale on and during sale days the number of bikes outside and on Dam square increases by several 100%. 1000's of them. A pretty amazing sight in its self.
Further on past Dam Square is Rokin which has a few interesting shops as well as being home to most of the mobile phone shops in case you need to obtain a sim card to make your mobile phone work while on holiday. This street has many fine buildings which belonged to merchants from centuries back and now home to many of the antique shops, art galleries, diamond centres, more restaurants and the latest attraction to arrive in Amsterdam The Dungeon
Top of Rokin leads on to De Munt (The Munt) where the famous floating flower market is located (Only one stall actually still floats, rest are permanent structures) which is a pity. The flower market also has several interesting shops and cafes.
The street at the back of the flower market is the main gay street in Amsterdam. The flower market and the shops on it sell many local specialities such as tulip bulbs, chocolates, cumin cheese, stoneware bottles of Jenever (Dutch gin), blue Delft china and diamonds as well as a head shop and mushroom gallery.
Amsterdam has gained several cool shops selling even cooler clubbing clobber, with Cyber Dog at
PUISTRAAT 250, Amsterdam
Phone +31 (0) 20 3306385
http://www.cyberdog.net and Samen vatting Clubwear House located at Spuistraat 242, and ZX Fashion located at Kerkstraat 113 are just three of the funkiest outlets in town.
They also offer information on parties taking place which few tourists ever get to hear about.
Amsterdam Markets are a good place to find something usual and maybe pick up a bargain, Amsterdam has 25 of them all over the place. See Amsterdam Markets.
They are open during normal shopping hours (Not Sunday's) and weather permitting, the most famous being the Waterlooplein.
Amsterdam's trading hours have undergone a transformation in recent years, just back five years ago very few places opened on Sunday's, now very few places close. Traditional shopping hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm but now a days most shops open later, particularly on Thursday and many open 7 days. Still many open on Mondays after 1pm and many restaurants close on Tuesdays.
Vat(sales tax) is on everything and at present is 21% except certain items like hotel reservations is 6%. All visiting tourists from another EU country can obtain a tax refund at shops displaying the tax-free shopping sign. Just fill in the form and present this to customs at the airport, before check-in. Further info on this see www.global refund.com) .
As many streets and roads are closed to cars it makes shopping in Amsterdam even more of a pleasure but look out for buses, trams, taxis and the crazy bicycles and keep your head about you.
If you hear a clink clink behind you, if means get the f... out of the way as I am about to knock you down.
During your shopping spree if you fancy a sit down and a quiet drink you can make a detour on to the top of Spuistraat and "The Spui:, where you will many bars including several of Amsterdam's most famous ones like the famous "Hoppe" bar with its sawdust-covered floor and many other bars and cafes as well as restaurants and other shops of interest. The Spui seeing several markets, Friday is the book market and Sunday is the art market both of which are well worth a look
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