There are plenty of options for shopping in Amsterdam – the city is famous for its stylish boutiques and markets where you can buy typical Dutch products of all kinds, modern designer’s items, fashion, antiques, vintage objects, tulip bulbs etc. You will also enjoy the street food stalls and the warm attitude of the sellers, as the Dutch are known for their sense of humour and are very friendly towards tourists.
What to Buy in Amsterdam – Best Souvenirs and Gifts
The most classic of all Dutch sweets and a perfect gift from Holland. Stroopwafel literally means “syrup waffle” and it’s a round crunchy waffle with chewy caramel filling. The correct way of eating it is as shown on the photo: put it on your coffee or tea cup and wait for a minute until the caramel melts and the waffle warms up – it enhances its flavour and makes it taste as fresh from the oven. Delicious! You will find them everywhere – in any supermarket or grocery shop. They are packed in foil or in boxes – to transport them more safely, or even better – in stylish cans with typical Dutch decorations.
2. Amsterdam Houses
A typical souvenir from Amsterdam are magnets, mugs, chocolates and all kinds of other souvenirs in the form of the classic Dutch houses. The 17th century rich merchant canal houses of Amsterdam are recognizable all over the world and they are UNESCO World Heritage for a reason. They look as if they were made of gingerbread, taken straight from a fairytale. What’s even more characteristic, they are often crooked – they seem to be falling!
3. Van Gogh’s Patterns
Some of the very best souvenirs from Amsterdam include all kinds of items with Van Gogh patterns. They come in the form of handbags, umbrellas (very useful in the Netherlands), coffee cups, glasses boxes, notebooks, silk scarves, ties, suitcases etc., with characteristic vivid, intense colours and expressive shapes of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”, “Sunflowers”, “Irises”, Self Portraits and other paintings’ motives. You will find the best ones in Van Gogh Museum shops (there are 3 of them), but also in big Amsterdam souvenir shops.
4. Delftware Windmills
Another among the best souvenirs from Holland is Delftware or Delft Blue – the characteristic Dutch white and blue pottery. The most popular motives include, of course, windmills and tulips, as well as cows. My own favourite Delfware set is a piece of salt&pepper shakers in the form of little ceramic windmills with rotating sails. Other nice items include milk jugs, vases, napkin holders etc.
One of the most typical products from Amsterdam or souvenirs for family and friends is Dutch cheese. There is overwhelmingly rich offer of cheeses, especially Gouda, Edam and Maasdam, well known and exported all over the world. Apart from the classics, try some really special ones: a turquoise-coloured cheese with lavender, pink-coloured cheese with red pesto, champagne gouda or even… coconut gouda! A typical cheese fromAmsterdam is Old Amsterdam, exceptional premium aged gouda cheese. Highly specialized cheese shops offer samples to try.
Read about the types of Dutch cheese here.
Here are the best cheese shops in Amsterdam:
Henri Willig Cheese & More (addresses: Leidsestraat 52, 1017 GZ Amsterdam; Singel 518, 1017 AX Amsterdam; Nieuwendijk 226, 1012 MX Amsterdam; there are more of them)
Amsterdam Cheese Company (address: Leidsestraat 2, 1017 PA Amsterdam)
A typical souvenir from Amsterdam is of course a pair of clogs – heavy wooden shoes. They are carved out of a single piece of wood, painted in different designs and varnished. The classic clogs are yellow with a red pattern. They have been the traditional Dutch shoes for centuries and they are apparently still used sometimes in the rural areas of the Netherlands. The main factory of the country is very close to Amsterdam. If you want to take home a pair of clogs, you will find them in souvenir shops and some specialized clog shops. Clogs are available also as funny slippers made of soft and fluffy material.
7. Tulip Bulbs
The Netherlands is the main producer of tulips worldwide and many visitors choose to buy tulip bulbs during their visit to plant them (or give them to dear ones) on their return. They are easy to transport and can be preserved well for a few weeks or months, depending on the type, quality and packaging. The enthusiasts of gardening will find in Amsterdam the most rare species, difficult to find anywhere else in the world. The choice is overwhelming.
You’ll find them in Bloemenmarkt – the famous floating flower market (located on boats along the canal) and in many flower shops and souvenir shops.
8. Bike Accessories
For fans of cycling, there is no place like Amsterdam! The city is heaven for spotting the coolest bike constructions, additions and decorations. There are plenty of specialized bike shops offering premium equipment, often innovative or not easy to find in other countries. Bike accessories are also a fun and very Dutch gift – like seat covers with Van Gogh sunflowers, a bell with a windmill design, stylish vintage leather handles etc.
Amsterdam is known as the city of diamonds and its jewellers are considered the best masters of cutting and polishing diamonds in the world. To see how they work, you can find a guided tour, available in more than twenty-five languages. In Gassan Diamond Centre you will find the most prestigious shops in the city to buy jewellery made of diamonds and precious metals – only for the richest ;)
Jenever, also known as Dutch gin or Hollands, is the precursor of the regular gin. It is a a national pride and the most typical Dutch liquor. It is juniper-flavoured liquor distilled of malt wine. There are two kinds of it: an old (oude) and young (jonge) one, and these names don’t indicate the aging, but the way of distilling them. Old Jenever is very aromatic with a malty taste, while Young Jenever has a neutral taste like vodka, with only a hint of juniper berry. Renowned Amsterdam brands of Jenever are Van Wees and Wynand Fockink.
11. Space Cake – try it, but don’t take it with you!
One of the most typical products of Amsterdam is of course cannabis and everything you can make out of it: not only joints, but also marijuana lollipops, marijuana chocolate, marijuana candies, and popular marijuana brownies called Space Cakes. If you want to try this truly classic product of Amsterdam – you’ll find plenty of cannabis shops (where you just buy them) and coffee shops (like cafés where you eat them sitting in), or just souvenir shops which send a wide range of products to get high.
Attention! You can’t take any of marijuana products on the plane, it’s illegal.
We are mentioning them only as a suggestion of a truly typical product to buy in Amsterdam – to consume on the spot ;) Careful though, don’t eat an entire cake, try just a bit, because some of them are strong.
Main Shopping Areas in Amsterdam
De Negen Straatjes or The Nine Streets could be called the epicentre of the city in terms of shopping and one of the main commercial spots of the country. These shopping streets cross the main canals of Amsterdam and are located in the heart of the old town, so in addition to walking through the different boutiques, galleries, vintage and second-hand shops, cafés and a wide etcetera, you will enjoy getting to know the environment.
The Jordaan neighbourhood is another of the legendary points of Amsterdam because it maintains the essence of its infrastructure since its founding, consisting of narrow, almost labyrinthine streets where you can get lost for an entire afternoon of shopping, because this humble working class neighbourhood dating from the eighteenth century is full of boutiques and unique shops and bars in each of its streets.
Check out also De Pijp area – the 19th century quarter often called “Quartier Latin of Amsterdam”, with its creative boutiques, artisan shops, many exotic shops and pleasant cafés and restaurants.
Tourists looking for international brands can find them in the two main shopping streets of the city, Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat, where the most prestigious and high fashion brands coexist with standard firms, so that any visitor can meet their demand in their shopping centres.
Amsterdam is world-famous for its collections of precious antiques, old prints and maps and unique old books. Antiques can be purchased in the area of Prinsengracht, Lijnbaansgracht, Hazenstraat.
One of the most impressive shops is Kramer Kunst & Antiek (address: Prinsengracht 807, 1017 KA Amsterdam). Other good shops include: Antiekcentrum Amsterdam (address: Elandsgracht 109, 1016 TT Amsterdam), Wildschut Antiques (address: Eerste Looiersdwarsstraat 8hs, 1016 VM Amsterdam) and The Antique Ring Shop (address: Staalstraat 18, 1011 JL Amsterdam).
Guide to the Markets of Amsterdam
The Dutch markets, as we mentioned above, are one of the tourist attractions of the city. Regularly organized markets are very popular in the Netherlands and you will find them in every city and town. In Amsterdam there are the main markets of the country – the largest, coolest and most unique ones that include the highest number of stalls.
Waterlooplein Market in Amsterdam is one of the main street markets in Amsterdam that continues to maintain its original essence and bargaining is still allowed. In its more than three hundred stalls you can find anything from luxury items and well-known brands, to second-hand products of almost all unimaginable genres. Address: Waterlooplein 2, 1011 NZ Amsterdam
The Albert Cuyp market is actually the biggest market in Europe! It is definitely one of the most popular and cosmopolitan markets of the city, a bit more exclusive because it is full of bars and restaurants, but no less charming. It has everything: food, spirits, clothes, gifts. Address: Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BD Amsterdam
Other interesting markets to visit are:
Dappermarkt, one of the oldest markets in Amsterdam located west of the capital. Address: Dapperstraat 279, 1093 BS Amsterdam
Bloemenmarkt, the popular floating flower market where you can find specimens of all flower species on the planet. Address: Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam
More on Shopping in Amsterdam
Do you know any other typical souvenirs from Amsterdam? Would you like to add something or maybe ask for some specific information? Leave a comment below!