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Amsterdam shopping guide: where to go and what to buy

Looking to splash some cash in town? Here are the best places to go shopping in Amsterdam
290 Square Meters, Shopping, Amsterdam
© Thijs Wolzak
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The beauty of shopping in Amsterdam is that, with unique boutiques, eateries, coffee shops (the kind that deal in flat whites rather than green buds) and galleries in most cosy neighbourhoods, there's no need for ugly scenes when it comes to deciding where to flash the cash. Ramble through the 'Nine Streets' (those small lanes connecting Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht and Herengracht in between Raadhuisstrat and Leidsegracht) which used to be the go-to for vintage threads but are increasingly packed to the gills with upmarket boutiques by the likes of Filippa K and Dutch underwear queen Marlies Dekkers; delve into the Jordaan's many dinky and quirky merchants; or tackle the ritzy glam and designer brands of the PC Hooftstraat, the place you're most likely to rub shoulder pads with a native celebrity in the process of re-wardrobing.

For fans of Delftware pottery and Golden Age painting, the Spiegelkwartier across the road from the Rijksmuseum is packed with shops selling real treasures at accordingly high prices. Dress for success and keep your nose in the air if you want to fit in with the legions of big-spending locals here. One thing's for certain: wherever you set foot, you are assured retail treasures of every stripe.

Amsterdam shopping guide

Shopping, Independent retailers

290 Square Meters

icon-location-pin Jodenburt

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.

Shopping, Markets and fairs

Albert Cuypmarkt

icon-location-pin Pijp

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.

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Shopping, Bookshops

American Book Center

icon-location-pin New Side

Now located in a fancier location a mere two blocks from the old shop and an Amsterdam institution since 1972, the American Book Center stocks English-language books and magazines from the US and UK, mostly to bilingual Dutch customers.

Shopping, Bookshops

Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum

icon-location-pin New Side

This is where Amsterdam's most highbrow literary browsers choose to hang around. The Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum, as its name might suggest, also stocks newspapers from all over the world, as well as a wide choice of magazines, periodicals and, the bookworm's staple, tomes in many languages.

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Shopping, Designer

Azzurro Due

If you've got to splurge, this is as good a spot as any. Saucy picks from Anna Sui, Blue Blood, Chloé and Stella McCartney attract the usual mediacrities.

Shopping, Markets and fairs

Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)

This fascinating collage of colour is the world's only floating flower market, with 15 florists and garden shops (although many also hawk cheesy souvenirs these days) permanently ensconced on barges along the southern side of Singel. The plants and flowers usually last well and are good value.

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Shopping, Music and entertainment

Concerto

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.

Shopping, Independent retailers

Condomerie het Gulden Vlies

icon-location-pin Red Light District

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.

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Shopping, Markets and fairs

Dappermarkt

icon-location-pin Oost (East)

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.

Shopping, Department stores

De Bijenkorf

icon-location-pin Red Light District

Translated, 'De Bijenkorf' means 'The Beehive' - an apt alias for this busy department store. Stationed in a grandiose building on Dam Square, this deluxe temple to shopping offers an extensive range of high-end brands, including Chanel, Marc Jacobs and popular Dutch designer Bas Kosters.

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See more shops and markets in Amsterdam
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