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Shopping in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a shopping paradise that offers something for every taste and budget.

The city boasts several world renowned shopping streets and districts, which we will soon cover in more detail on this site:

Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk

Two very busy shopping streets on either side of Dam Square. Home to anything from the down-to-earth HEMA warehouse to the elegant Maison de Bonneterie. Shop owners in the Kalverstraat – especially the ones closest to the Munt plein – pay some of the highest rental rates in the country. Yet you will still be able to find plenty of bargains.

Should you brave the hustle and bustle here, do take some time out every now and then to admire the architecture of the house above the shops, such as this 1750 monument at number 143. The calf statue that tops the building is a reference to the cow market that used to be held here centuries ago (hence Kalverstraat).

De Jordaan

Time to use the word ‘picturesque,’ as this is the part of Amsterdam most often immortalized in songs, on postcards and in photo albums around the world. An eclectic collection of boutiques, bars, cafes, unique shops, markets and galleries – in an neighborhood laced with colorful back streets and tree-lined canals. “Jordaan” is most like a Dutchified version of the French ‘jardin’ (garden). It could be a referene to the countryside that made way for this neighborhood. Developed for the working class, the streets and canals are patterned after the original country roads and drainage ditches.

De Pijp

“Pijp” (pipe) is descriptive of the narrow streets in this erstwhile working-class neighborhood. People who moved out of this area in the late seventies are now kicking themselves as the area has become a trendy, ethnically diverse neighborhood with much of the charm that has made De Jordaan quarter so popular. De Pijp doesn’t have canals, though. Instead it boasts the world-famous Albert Cuyp street market.

Waterlooplein

Amsterdam’s best-known flea market. Amsterdammers old enough to remember the market in its original insist the ‘het plein’ is not what it used to be. Indeed, it has lost much of its charm since the government butchered the neighborhood to make room for its oversized, out-of-place combination city hall/theatre. Still, you can find some mighty good bargains here.

P.C. Hooftstraat

Amsterdam’s more modest version of Rodeo Drive. Don’t expect bargains, as even the price of a shirt may give you sticker shock. There are persistent rumors that ‘the maffia’ owns many of the buildings in this street. Shoppers tend to be more interested in celebrity-watching.

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This post was last updated: Apr. 3, 2006