Shop in Amsterdam
Chic and unique
Your first port of call should be De Negen Straatjes (‘nine little streets’). Just two minutes’ walk from Dam Square, these attractive avenues lined with historic architecture criss-cross the western district’s 17th-century waterways. This is where to go for one-off gifts such as ceramics, prints, Art Deco memorabilia, designer fashion, artisanal soaps, textiles and hand-made jewellery, and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the area’s many charming cafés and eateries, too.
Whether it’s a pair of classic boots, a quirky knick-knack or a first-edition book, a vintage gift feels personal and unique. Amsterdam is home to an impressive array of vintage shops and flea markets, including Antiekcentrum (previously De Looier), the largest and most popular antiques market in the Netherlands. Around 20 minutes’ walking distance from Dam Square, this covered market occupies almost a whole block between Looiersgracht and Elandsgracht – a real Aladdin’s cave for collectors.
Lovers of antiques and art should also soak up the culture of Amsterdam’s historic Spiegelkwartier (‘mirror quarter’), which features a host of shops selling vintage treasures such as Dutch Delftware. Combine this with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Allard Pierson Museum, all just a short stroll away in Museumplein.
For a taste of more affordable Amsterdam street culture, try the popular and laid-back Albert Cuyp street market just south of the city centre in the heart of the 19th-century De Pijp neighbourhood. This market has been trading here for more than 100 years and its mix of Moroccan, Turkish, Indonesian and Surinamese goods encapsulates the city’s reputation as a melting pot of cultures. You’ll find an impressive array of textiles, leatherware, handicrafts, clogs, spices, chocolate, confectionery, street food and second-hand books.
If you’re buying for someone special and money is no object, then head for the unparalleled luxury of P.C. Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s most exclusive shopping street. Browse upscale brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and DKNY, or drop into the Parisian-style boutique department store Maison de Bonneterie between the shopping streets of Kalverstraat and Rokin. A good tip if you’re buying for someone who has everything is to choose gifts from famous Dutch designers they might not be familiar with, such as lingerie guru Marlies Dekkers, who has a store on Cornelis Schuytstraat.
What’s in store?
For a one-stop shop, you’ll find some of the swankiest designer names in the De Bijenkorf flagship department store on Dam Square. The same company owns the UK’s Selfridges and it’s not dissimilar, selling lines from Karen Millen, Maison Scotch, Ted Baker, Barbour, Calvin Klein, French Connection, Guess and L.K. Bennett. Close by is Magna Plaza, a beautiful and grand converted post office building that houses stores such as Mango, Lacoste, Swarovski and Coccinelle.