The Markets of Amsterdam
The true character of a place comes alive in its charming markets and bustling crowds
While chain stores and supermarkets are the mainstay of any modern city, the true character of a place comes alive in its charming markets with their temporary stalls, bustling crowds and the exciting sights and smells of fresh produce and antique goods, colorful flowers and yellowing books. Amsterdamabounds in big and small markets that are worth a visit for some great bargains, free samples of cheese and baked goods, and perhaps for stumbling upon a rare artifact from hundreds of years ago.
Before sunrise Monday through Saturday, stalls are set up along more than a kilometer of Albert Cuyp Straat for what is Amsterdam’s largest and most vibrant street market the Albert Cuyp Market. Fresh produce, meat and poultry, clothes and accessories, flowers and plants, cosmetics, and lots more can be bought at bargain prices, and every few steps you’re tempted by hot and fresh food: be it the classic stroopwafel, frites, haring or multicultural street food experiences that you can’t afford to miss.
If you’re looking for a cheap bicycle, handicrafts from across the world, or antiques and souvenirs at bargain prices, the place to visit is the Waterlooplein Flea Market (Mon-Sat). Get there early and you could be the proud owner of a second- (or third, or fourth) hand bicycle that will let you experience Amsterdam like a local, or grab a bagful of kitschy souvenirs to take home, all at surprisingly low costs.
Dappermarkt(Mon-Sat) in the east of Amsterdamis a young and bustling street market where you can shop to your heart’s content without spending a fortune. Stop by to sample fresh produce, buy a bunch of flowers, taste some delicious foods and carry home fabrics, household goods and more. Voted as the best market in the city, this one is a worthy addition to your Amsterdamitinerary!
Bloemenmarkt (open daily) is the perennial home of flowers in the heart of Amsterdam. The stalls all but float on the Singel Canal, an assortment of colors and fragrances as each stall offers seasonal flowers, bulbs, souvenirs and plenty more. Be warned though, as it’s not the cheapest place to buy souvenirs, and all your bulb and seed purchases must be made carefully to comply with import laws in your country!
Other markets that are open almost everyday are the Ten Katemarkt (Mon-Sat) tucked into the shopping street of Kinkerstraat, the Boekenmarkt (Mon-Sat) an eclectic book market in the passageway of the historic Oudemanhuispoort in the University District, and the city’s only indoors antique market, the Antiekmarkt De Looier (except Fri) in the Jordaan. Stroll around these and you’re sure to find a little piece of Amsterdamto take home and remember your visit by!
If you’re in Amsterdam on a Saturday, you cannot afford to miss the two liveliest weekly markets in the city: The Nieuwmarkt and Noordermarkt: where street musicians create a mesmerizing backdrop for your purchase of fine cloth, affordable clothing, organic fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, bread and cakes, books and antiques, and lots more. The Nieuwmarkt is a historical landmark that transforms into a buzzing market every Saturday. The Noordermarkt is spread across the streets and the square near Noorderkerk, and if you visit either of these, you’ll find it impossible to resist purchasing some fresh bread out of the oven, funky jewelry, hats and purses, and fresh fruit and quirky books.
Monday mornings are made for the Westerstraat Market, where textiles and clothes from all over the world vie for your attention. If you’re looking for cheap and stylish clothing or a dizzying range of buttons, stop over and get yourself a bargain.
If you’re into collecting stamps and coins, look out carefully for the blink-and-you-miss-it Postzegelmarkt on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. The pop-up stalls have collectibles from all over the world, and careful browsing might help you complete a set or find a treasure in coins, stamps, maps, medals and more.
Sunday is the day for a walk down history, with a specialty antiques market at Nieuwmarkt and the Spui antique market. Browse through art, prints, sculpture, metalwork and an array of curios knickknacks, and claim your piece of history at a fair price!
Books are the flavor of the day on Fridays at the Spui Book Market, where you can find rare editions and priceless prints, together with popular and classic works in Dutch, English and many other languages. It’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Every month begins with a bang in Amsterdam, and if you’re in town on the first weekend, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the markets department!
Head over to the Cultuur Westergasfabriek for a quirky shopping experience on the first Sunday of every month. Everything you can dream of is right here at prices that won’t give you nightmares! Almost every month, you can also enjoy al fresco dining and shop for organic food at a special food market around theWestergasfabriek called the Neighbourhood food Market.
If you’re serious about antiques, head over to the IjHalen on the free ferry from Amsterdam Station (direction NDSM Werf), and pay a small fee to enter the largest antique fair in Amsterdam(every first Sat-Sun of the month). Peep into various eras of history and in case you decide to splurge, rest assured that you’ll have got some of the best bargains on the antiques circuit.
Sinterklaas and Christmas bring lights, joy, mulled wine, and some beautiful seasonal markets to Amsterdam! Head over to Rembrandtplein or Leidseplein for festive cheer of the season, or to the Westergasfabriek for funky markets set up exclusively for the two festivals.
Culture, shopping, food and fun, what’s not to like about the authentic Amsterdammarket experience? Give it a try and we’re sure you’ll be back for more!