FOLLOW US

World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Netherlands > Amsterdam

Amsterdam Weather

6°C

Local time Amsterdam

Currency

Shopping in Amsterdam

As in any European capital, international fashion labels in Amsterdam are well represented. However, the city truly excels in its range of specialty shops, stocking everything from comic books and vintage vinyl, to 3D holograms and erotic toys.

Key areas

A stomping ground for hordes of shoppers, pedestrian-only Kalverstraat offers a combination of classy department stores and fashion outlets. PC Hooftstraat, near the museum quarter, is lined with high-end boutiques like Tiffany, Azzurro and Ralph Lauren.

The Spiegelkwartier district is the place to go for art and antiques, with Nieuwe Spiegelstraat being a hotbed for archaeological pieces. Adventurous shoppers should comb De Negenstraatjes - a set of nine narrow streets lined with some seriously quirky boutiques, jewellers and vintage clothing outlets.

For something a little more off the tourist radar, head to Haarlemmerstraat in the Jordaan district. There you'll find everything from ethically-sourced food products to Fair Trade clothing.

Markets

One of the liveliest open-air food and clothing markets, the Albert Cuyp Markt extends for miles along Albert Cuypstraat in the eastern district known as De Pijp. Open from Monday to Saturday 0900 to 1700, this is the best place to enjoy a Dutch Stroopwafel prepared fresh here.

Noordermarkt (Boerenmarkt op de Noordermarkt) is another great market. Open on Saturdays from 0900 to 1300, it focuses on organic produce, fresh herbs and homemade cakes. There's also a side market selling various non-food products.

The colourful 'floating' bloemenmarkt (flower market) on the Singel is another worthy diversion, with its vast selection of tulip bulbs that make the perfect souvenir or gift.

In De Hallen, a cultural complex in Amsterdam's Oud-West district, you'll find De Kloffie Markt - an indoor second-hand clothing market that takes place once a month. Another great place for bargains is IJ Hallen flea market which is also held over one weekend every month. IJ Hallen is the city's biggest flea market which charges a small entrance free, but you're very likely to find great bargains from any of its 750 stands.

Shopping centres

Right on Dam Square is the hulking Bijenkorf, the city's premier department store, with a good range of clothing, accessories, cosmetics and household items available. Nearby, behind the Royal Palace, is the Magna Plaza - an exclusive shopping centre in a fairy-tale, neo-gothic building. In addition, the Kalvertoren shopping centre in Kalverstraat has a variety of shops and two department stores.

Opening hours

Traditional shopping hours in the main shopping zones such as Kalverstraat are Tuesday to Saturday 1000-1800. Shops usually open an hour later on Monday and have a shorter opening time on Sunday. Many shops in tourist areas tend to open till 2000 or later during weekdays, particularly on Thursday.

Big and centrally located department stores usually open from 1000-1800, although you should also expect them to have a shorter trading time on Monday and Sunday.

Souvenirs

Made of three vertical St Andrew's crosses, XXX is Amsterdam's coat of arms for the past 500 years. Contrary to what many people would assume, the city's XXX symbol doesn't signify the Red Light District. Anything emblazoned with the XXX symbol of Amsterdam, whether it's a useful mug or a t-shirt, makes a good souvenir.

Bicycle accessories such as bells or flower-print panniers make a practical reminder of Amsterdam's cycling culture. You can also take home traditional Dutch items in the form of blue and white Delftware pottery. For tulip bulbs, visit the 'floating' flower market alongside the Singel canal.

Edible souvenirs include cheeses (particularly the aged varieties from Gouda), jenever (Dutch gin) and 'drop' candy, a sort of black liquorice that comes in a bewildering array of shapes and sweetness levels.

Tax information

The VAT is 21%. Non-EU residents can obtain a tax refund by requesting tax receipts when making purchases. Upon departure, they must have these receipts validated at EU Customs at Schiphol Airport, then apply for a refund at the vatfree.com service desk in the Departures section. See www.vatfree.com/nl/ for details.

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

The Hoxton

The Hoxton flung its decorative doors open in 2015, shaking up the city’s mid-range hotel scene in the process. Occupying a former mayoral residence on Herengracht, the hip and handsome Hoxton is an establishment of effortless cool. Rooms retain a 17th century charm (embroidered rugs, paneled walls, wooden floors, etc.), but with mod cons (digital radios, power showers and the like). There’s a fine bar and restaurant downstairs and checkout is a hangover-friendly 1200.

Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

As a former shipping house, this five-star hotel still showcases its maritime heritage with its nautical themed stained-glass windows, original ship lanterns, and statues depicting Poseidon and Fortuna overlooking the hotel entrance. With 165 plush rooms, a wellness centre boasting two saunas, a steam room, heated swimming pool and fitness room, plus a stunningly decorated bar overlooking the charming Amsterdam canals, the Amrâth offers its guests a luxurious stay in historical surroundings.

ClinkNOORD

When Amsterdam’s shipbuilding industry went to the wall, the Noord district became a ghost of past glories. Happily, the area is in the process of regeneration, which ClinkNOORD is helping pioneer. The hostel opened to much fanfare in 2015, taking over a former Royal Dutch Shell testing lab. Rooms are a bit bland, but the hostel is good value, affable and only a short (and free) ferry ride from Central Station.

Hotel Prinsenhof

About the finest budget option available, the Prinsenhof is a homey establishment in an 18th-century canal house. Overlooking a picture-postcard section of the Prinsengracht, it stands in the pleasant southern canal belt, a quick bike ride from the nightlife centre of Rembrandtplein. Simply furnished with painted ceiling beams, the 11 guest rooms are quite cosy, though only nine are equipped with bathrooms. At these prices, they're booked far in advance.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms combined with an intimate courtyard garden spectacular canal views efficient staff and an excellent restaurant ensures a luxurious stay.

Hotel de l'Europe

Standing majestically on the banks of the River Amstel, this grand old dame is still the address in town for lavish Old World luxury. From the 19th-century paintings adorning the public areas to the plush appointed guest rooms, this modern hotel maintains an old-fashioned charm. Hotel de l'Europe features the restaurant Bord'Eau which was awarded two Michelin stars, two bars, a brasserie, a café, meeting rooms and a spa.