With The Netherland’s long history as a trading nation, it is no wonder that its capital city boasts over 30 markets throughout the week, each in different neighbourhoods and offering a wide range of foods, clothing, and beautiful Dutch flowers. A trip to Amsterdam would not be complete without sampling traditional foods such as stroopwafels (caramel biscuits) and herring, as well as making the most of the city’s incredible vintage scene. Lucky for you, Amsterdam has it all! This guide will help narrow down the city’s best markets, so keep reading to learn more about this unique element of Amsterdam’s culture.
Albert Cuyp Market
De Pijp | Mon- Sun | Best for trying traditional Dutch food
Where better to start than the Albert Cuyp market, probably Amsterdam’s most famous and popular market situated in the central De Pijp neighbourhood. Known locally as ‘The Cuyp’, this market has run along the canal belt since 1905 and hosts over 300 stalls selling fresh produce and Dutch souvenirs- this is the best place to stock up on traditional Dutch delicacies before heading home from your trip.
The number one stall to head to is Original Stroopwafels, where you can watch them handmake these delicious waffle biscuits and fill them with hot caramel syrup right in front of you- sure to give you all the energy needed for a day wandering around market stalls! Another Dutch delicacy found at The Cuyp is raw pickled herring, which is traditionally eaten with your head back holding it by the tail… one for the braver foodies to try! The Cuyp is among the cheapest market prices in Amsterdam, and is also a central tourist hub so on weekends and sunny days it can get very crowded. If you’re there to grab some bargains or do your food shop make sure you head down early!
Waterlooplein | Mon- Sat | Best for those who love vintage bargains
The site of Amsterdam’s first market stalls from as early as 1885, Waterlooplein market is located in the former Jewish district of Amsterdam, and is now known for its amazing flea market. After closing during WWII, the market reopened in the 60s as a trading place synonymous with youth culture, and nowadays it hosts more than 300 stalls selling an arrange of vintage clothes, books, antiques and general bric-a-brac.
One of the few markets in Amsterdam where haggling is commonplace, the Waterlooplein market is the place to go for some one-off bargains and unique trinkets- vintage lovers, this is the place for you! You will not be disappointed by the market’s supply of second-hand denim, retro clothing and antique accessories. Read our article about Amsterdam’s vintage clothing scene to learn more about the Waterlooplein market and what you can expect to find there!
Singel | Mon- Sun | Best for those who love flowers
Next up is the Bloemenmarkt, a floating flower market in the centre of Amsterdam that is bursting with world famous Dutch tulips and bulbs. If you are lucky enough to visit Amsterdam between March- May then most definitely head to the Keukenhof, one of the world’s largest flower gardens, to experience the most amazing array of tulips and flower arrangements.
However, if you are visiting outside of blooming season then pay a visit to the Bloemenmarkt for your Dutch tulips fix! Tulip bulbs are by far the most popular purchase at this colourful market, as you can take them home to grow in your own garden or in flowerpots, and they also make great gifts for those green-fingered parents or relatives. The market has been open since 1862 and is reminiscent of its traditional trading set-up where the flowers were brought into the city centre on boats. Nowadays the market stalls are set up on houseboats and are the perfect place for some last minute souvenir shopping, as most of the stalls also sell traditional Dutch clogs and wooden tulips.
NDSM | Monthly | Best for those who love a rummage
Known as the biggest and most unique flea market in Europe, IJ-Hallen market takes its name from the massive halls that it occupies, as it used to be part of the NDSM Wharf shipyard. Nowadays, this converted shipbuilding warehouse hosts over 700 stalls once a month and is open to anyone to rent a stand, as long as everything sold is second-hand. There are hundreds of stalls across two industrial warehouses, with stalls also set up in the outdoor area between the two buildings- in other words, it will take you a while to visit every stand in this market! Therefore this is the place to be if you enjoy spending a day rummaging through people’s used and renewed items hunting for the perfect leather jacket or antique lamp to take home with you.
Remember to bring your own bags with you, as many vendors don’t provide shopping bags in an effort to keep the shopping process completely sustainable. The IJ-Hallen market is located across the river from Amsterdam Central Station, so this is the perfect opportunity to take the free 15 minute ferry to the market for a budget-friendly day trip to explore the Amsterdam- North neighbourhood!
Jordaan | Saturdays | Best for those on the hunt for organic food
Originally a 17th century pottery market, the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan area has been converted into the most trendy of Amsterdam’s markets in recent years. It hosts the famous Boerenmarkt (farmer’s market) every Saturday, which prides itself on selling premium organic fresh food and produce. Started in 1987, the Boerenmarkt has quickly grown in popularity thanks to the growing healthy food movement, and nowadays attracts a wide audience of shoppers looking for some delicious organic options. It is also worth checking out which foods are in season when you visit, for example mushroom season in May, as these are a speciality at the Boerenmarkt and are brought in fresh from all over Holland for you to sample.
On Saturdays there are 3 sections to this market- the farmer’s market, the Noordermarkt selling antiques and vintage items, and the Lindengracht food market around the corner. Also, on Mondays there is the Lapjesmarkt, which boasts both a clothing section full of vintage pieces, and a textiles side of fabrics, trimmings and ribbons- ideal for any DIY project!
Het Spui Boekenmarkt & Artplein
Spui | Friday & Sunday | Best for those who love art
Finally, for those who love books and art there is Het Spuimarket, which hosts the Boekenmarkt (book market) on Fridays and Artplein (art square) on Sundays. Artplein is the place to be for genuine art lovers, as there are 25 market stalls where artists showcase their work, so you can not only come across some amazing pieces but also meet the artists themselves who are more than happy to discuss their artwork. The market also hosts jewellery makers, sculptures and glass-smiths, and the exhibitors change frequently as they rotate between 60 artists from the foundation, so you’re guaranteed to see a different selection of art every time you visit!
At the Boekenmarkt, booksellers from all over the country meet here to trade and show off their impressive collections, including rare first edition or out-of-print books, postcards, maps and posters- a collector’s dream! This market is a great place to go for a wander and appreciate their trade if you are just passing by, however for the book fanatics amongst you, you’re sure to spot a gem or two at this market. An extra bonus of the Boekenmarkt is that many sellers are more than happy to send purchased books in the mail if you don’t have enough space in your hand luggage on the way home!
Hopefully this guide to Amsterdam’s best selection of markets will ensure you have the opportunity to try some traditional Dutch snacks, score some vintage pieces, and leave with a very full suitcase full of bargains! A chance to also explore new neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, visiting these famous markets will allow you to immerse yourself in Dutch culture and wander along the city’s many canals, as well as shopping with a clear conscience- the perfect way to spend a day in Amsterdam!