Sick of endless H&Ms, Zaras and Blokkers? Fed up with Albert, Jumbo and Dirk? Amsterdam has a lot of markets as well. Here’s our list of 11. And no, we have not included the Bloemenmarkt because it mainly sells tourist tat.
1 The Albert Cuyp market in de Pijp (daily) is over a hundred years old. It’s probably Amsterdam’s best-known market. Vegetables, fish, clothes, bike locks, flowers, plants, stuff, stuff and more stuff is what its over 300 market stalls have on offer. If you’re partial to stroopwafels all you have to do is follow your nose. Don’t handle the fruit and veg though, the market holders are not partial to you testing the goods and can get pretty crochety.
2 Dappermarkt (daily, except Sundays). Refurbished a couple of years ago, the Dappermarkt fortunately hasn’t become prettified or too trendy. It’s still a good mix of excellent fruit and veg stalls, clothes and stuff. Kaas van Klaas is a must for any cheese lover of Dutch cheese and there’s bargains to be had flower-wise as well.
3 Ten Katemarkt (daily, except Sundays). This market can get quite crowded, wedged in as it is in a narrow street off the busy Kinkerstraat. Good cheese and sausage stalls and of course very close to the now super trendy Hallen.
4 Plantenmarkt Amstelveld, off Utrechtsestraat (Mondays only) is a jolly little market on a very pretty square where you can stock up on bulbs and plants while enjoying the view of the canal on a quiet sunny Monday morning.
5 Every Monday morning, the Westerstraat is home to the Lapjesmarkt or fabric market. As the name suggests, you’ll find stall after stall filled with assorted fabrics sold by the metre plus buttons, bows, thread and all those sewing essentials it is impossible to find.
The Lapjesmarkt runs into the Noordermarkt just around the corner. Here you’ll find more fabric, plus some antiques and second-hand books. If you love antique knick-knacks and old furniture get there early and have a nice wander round before sampling the appeltaart at Café Winkel 43. Bill Clinton tried some and he thought it was ‘fabulous’. But don’t take Bill-I-did-NOT-have-whipped-cream-with-that-tart Clinton’s word for it, go there yourself.
6 Boerenmarkt. On Saturday the Noordermarkt is home to a farmers market. Lovely fresh produce, cheese, sausages, bread plus herbal remedies, oysters to eat on the spot and crepes for the kids. There are also a number of stalls selling second hand clothes, antiques and knick-knacks.
7 Haarlemmerplein farmers market (Wednesdays 10am – 5pm). Best not access this market from Haarlemmerstraat and its many tempting shops because you will need some serious money if you plan on doing your weekly shop here. Farmers sell their organic products here and they are happy to tell you all about them (it’s called slow shopping).
8 Oudemanhuispoort boekenmarkt. As you walk through Oudemanhuispoort antiquarian (and modern) books market, take a peek at the university building and its charming little square hidden behind the big door. The passage is a bit dark and gloomy but that won’t deter the true book lover. When you pop out at the other end and access nearby Staalstraat you are well on your way to the Waterlooplein market.
9 Waterlooplein market (daily, except Sundays) is on the Waterlooplein but it wasn’t always. In the seventies, with the controversial arrival of a metro system, people never knew where among the rubble the market might pop up and in the late seventies, when the town hall and opera building were built, it was moved to nearby Rapenburgerstraat for a long while. To NbN, it was a good sight jollier then and proper second hand bargains could be had, especially in the leather jacket department. The Waterlooplein has become a little scraggly and uninteresting although you can still find some bargain books.
10 Ah, Mercatorplein, once a sea of pink blooms in spring, now a not very inspiring square on top of an underground car par. That was in the nineties but the square has taken a long time to recuperate. The good news is that there is plenty of space for a market i.e. the MercatorMarkt (operative again from March, see www. mercatormarkt.nl for opening hours) with a capital M in the middle of the word to denote contemporary coolness. People who are clearing out their attics can apply for a stall as well. Hurry, they may not know it’s a Rembrandt they have there.
11 Westergasfabriek Sunday market. (once a month on Sundays, see website www.sundaymarket.nl) Get your art, design, ceramics, fashion, organic food here. Established artists and young talent present and sell their wares on this market which takes its inspiration from the London markets at Camden, Portobello Road and Spitalfields.