AMSTERDAM’S BEST MARKETS

Lots of trash, a few treasures at the Waterlooplein.



I’ve just done another little (paid, thank you!) travel-writing job, giving my take on Amsterdam’s markets.

Here’s what I decided was worth including…

Looking for clogs, antiques, a rare tulip bulb or a raw herring for lunch? Or just looking? A stroll through an Amsterdam market gives a great feel for the city, with all its charm and diversity. It’s a far more interesting travel experience than fighting your way down a street lined with the same generic shops found all over the world.

Each Amsterdam neighbourhood has a modest food market where locals buy their vegetables, and close to the town centre are larger markets, perhaps of more interest to visitors.


Waterlooplein Flea Market

The bazaar on the square behind Stopera, the city opera and town hall building, is an Amsterdam institution. The usual stalls sell cheap leather goods, DVDs and sunglasses, but the focus is on second hand clothes and bric-a-brac. There is plenty of trash, and there are also a few treasures among the household goods and objets d’art.

This is the place to find that unique Dutch souvenir, retro outfit or bargain antique.

Open Monday to Saturday.

Will it fit in your hand luggage?


Noordermarkt

On Saturdays the old Jordaan area adjoining the canal belt comes alive as locals flock to the front of the Noorderkerk (northern church).

The Farmers Market is the place to buy bread, cheese and organic vegetables, or just to admire the tempting range of fresh Dutch produce. Craft stalls sell hand-made souvenirs small enough to fit in your luggage. On Mondays the fruit and vegetables are replaced by the clothing and textile market.

Cafe Winkel on the Westerstraat/Noordermarkt corner regularly wins the vote for Amsterdam’s best appeltaart (apple cake). Join the queue and you won’t regret it!

Saturday and Monday morning.

This is Holland - cheesehead land. Of course you'll want to try the Gouda at the Noordermarkt.

Albert Cuyp Market

Cheap, cheerful and multicultural, that’s the formerly run down, now trendy and bohemian area de Pijp. The Albert Cuyp Street is a kilometre-long strip of stalls, open daily. Pick up a cheap change of clothes, try a traditional Dutch raw herring, or buy the makings of a picnic to eat in the nearby Sarpharti Park.

If you want to take the load off your feet, de Pijp area is well supplied with cafes for a fast or leisurely lunch.

Open Monday to Saturday.

You could look like this after a visit to the Albert Cuyp market.

Bloemmarkt

The row of house-boats just off the busy Leidsestraat bills itself as ‘the world’s only floating flower market’.

Don’t expect massed displays of colourful blooms; customers come here to buy little brown bulbs for the garden. Knowledgeable stallholders sell rare and interesting specimens, though visitors should check their country’s quarantine regulations before trying to take them home. There are other Dutch souvenirs on sale here too, so if importing real plants is not allowed, you could settle for a bunch of plastic tulips or a model windmill for the front garden.

Open Monday to Saturday.

Nice to look at, but those quarantine sniffer dogs may not like you importing them.

If you spot something that takes your fancy, doing business in a Dutch market is easy and fun. A little haggling is possible, though in business-like Holland not essential. The quoted price will generally be fair, and there are unlikely to be awkward language issues; every stallholder will speak English (and French, German and possibly Arabic too!)

5 Comments

Filed under Holland

5 responses to “AMSTERDAM’S BEST MARKETS

  1. I think you have listed the most interesting markets in Amsterdam. Although I would say, if you want to buy bulbs you shouldn’t go to the Bloemmarkt, they are way to expensive there… I would recommend going to a garden center, like Tuincentrum Osdorp (next to tram line 1, stop Baden Powellweg). They have plenty of choice for regular prices, all year long (but mostly from August – November). ;-)

    • Thanks for the tip, Marjolein. You’re right about the Bloemmarkt – it is more for tourists than for serious gardeners. I also like some of the smaller local markets – Bos en Lommer and Ten Kate, to name but two. But they’re probably harder for visitors to find and have less facilities, like cafes, surrounding them.

  2. I am really enjoying your writing, Richard. How did you wrangle getting PAID for traveling and writing about your trips? Well done on that! :-)

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