Amsterdam’s best shops and markets
Designer clothes, antiques and vintage finds, very rare vinyl and, of course, ubiquitous velo-ware...
De Kaaskamer offers over 200 varieties of domestic and imported cheeses, plus pâtés, olives, pastas and wines. Have fun quizzing the staff on the different cheese types and related trivia.
Dutch dynamo Droog has expanded its HQ into a flagship ‘hotel’ – a city-centre design mall where you can attend a lecture series or an exhibition, sunbathe in the fantasy courtyard garden and, yes, even spend a night in the single suite. The historic building’s rag trade origins continue at ice-cool boutique Kabinet. The Droog shop still sells some of the wittiest ranges around – think Jurgen Bey, Richard Hutten and sofa queen Hella Jongerius.
Mail & Female
Mail & Female is the original sex shop run for women, by women - but is equally welcoming to their partners. Originally a mail order service that popped up in response to a demand for classy lingerie and high-quality sex toys, this friendly shop has further grown into a small unisex emporium that boasts the hottest sex wares and the biggest female-friendly porn collection in Amsterdam.
The best markets in Amsterdam
Dappermarkt is a locals' market: prices don't rise to match the number of visitors. It sells all the usual market fodder, and plenty of cheap clothes.
Amsterdam's largest general market sells everything from pillows to prawns at great prices. The clothes on sale tend to be run-of-the-mill cheapies.
North of Westermarkt, Noordermarkt is frequented by the serious shopper. The huge stacks of (mainly second-hand) clothes, shoes, jewellery and hats need to be sorted with a grim determination, but there are real bargains to be had. Arrive early or the best stuff will probably have been nabbed. They also have an organic farmers' market on Saturdays.
The best independent stores in Amsterdam
The ‘Froz’ is a paradise for lovers of contemporary furniture. It stays abreast of innovative Dutch designers like Piet Hein Eek, the maestro of furniture made from recycled wood; it also sells stuff by the non-Dutch likes of Marc Newsom, plus modern classics and photography.
290 Square Meters
In its former space, this shop/agency/gallery's claim to fame was that it was the first place in the world where people could purchase customised Nikes. Now, in a more spacious former bank vault, it offers a spectrum of goods, ranging from bikes to fashion, limited-edition books and scents.
Head here for classic Bach recordings, obscure Beatles items, or that fave Diana Ross album that got nicked from your party. There are also second-hand 45s and new releases at decent prices.
Condomerie het Gulden Vlies
A variety of rubbers of the non-erasing kind to wrap up trouser snakes of all shapes and sizes in a store that's equal parts amusing and inspiring.