Amsterdam is famous for its many canals, museums, and forbidden pleasures. When planning a trip to the Dutch capital, shopping is likely the last thing on your mind. Big mistake! Amsterdam offers a variety of shopping destinations that can get your head spinning. Here is a sample of what the city has to offer to the curious consumer of any means and aims.
Get the unique Amsterdam atmosphere
For those who feel like a more intimate, trendy, and decidedly local shopping experience, de Negen Straatjes (nine little streets) is a great place to start. Beautifully laid out in Amsterdam’s Central Canal Ring, this mini-network has all kinds of vintage local boutiques and little restaurants springing up from every corner. Check out the Lock Stock & Barrel for a selection of truly outlandish clothing and accessories. Another such location is de Jordaan, a neighbourhood rich in second-hand stores, galleries, and boutiques. You will instantly breathe in its bohemian atmosphere, and before you know it, you will be treasure-hunting through the little shops, looking for that unique outfit that just screams “You!” De Jordaan is also home to Moooi, a powerhouse of recent European design products, which leads us to…
Design and innovation
The Dutch have a proven sense of style and aesthetics, and you do not need to ask for confirmation twice. If you head towards the Eastern Harbour’s KNSM Island, you will find a young neighbourhood bustling with life and creativity. The former warehouses now present a variety of shops dedicated to the household, modern design, and innovative lifestyle in general. Heading back into Amsterdam’s heart, you can get a touch of high-end design at Droog in Staalstraat. The company’s products are practical objects as much as works of art with witty and sharp social commentary. Whether it is a coffee cup printed with philosophical musings or mahogany sunglasses, you will find what you are looking for. If it is clever design you are after, Amsterdam covers the whole gamut.
As any European capital, Amsterdam offers you access to numerous high-end fashion brands. P.C. Hooftstraat in the Museum Quarter houses classic brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chopard, and Cartier. If you want to keep it high-brow but with a more local twist, head into the Oud Zuid neighbourhood, a beautiful residential area, ripe with classy stores and gift shops. Although you will not find many big brands in the “Old South”, there are chic and smart clothes for every man, woman, and child. Do not miss Ennu, a high-fashion place which carries the likes of Rick Owens and Junya Watanabe. If you are in a particularly Dutch mood and would like to take a chic traditional outfit home, pass by Cornelius Schuytstraat and explore the local stores.
Shop till you drop
Amsterdam, though classy and stylish, is also no stranger to department stores which will have you shopping till you drop. Head towards Dam Square for De Bijenkorf, more or less the Dutch equivalent of Harrods. If you still have energy left, you will find the Magna Plaza shopping mall behind the Royal Palace, not too far away. Its advantage is that it is open seven days a week. Then there is also HEMA, the number one department store chain in the Netherlands. It has locations all over Amsterdam, and it provides a remarkably uniform shopping experience, partly because it designs and produces most of its merchandise. Even in the department store game, the Dutch let their love for design show.
So, get yourself a flight to Amsterdam, and get shopping!
Michelle Day is a well-travelled freelance writer who loves to pass on tips about her favourite cities.