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A vintage lover’s guide to Amsterdam

March 25, 2020

The demand for vintage fashion has skyrocketed in recent years with the rise of sustainable shopping; more vintage markets and thrift stores are popping up everywhere, and Amsterdam is no exception! A day in the Dutch capital would not be complete without a visit to some of the city’s best second-hand shops, as Amsterdam prides itself on being one of the world’s vintage capitals.


From hand- picked boutique items to vintage kilo stores, Amsterdam’s narrow streets have something for everyone, so whichever neighbourhood you are wandering around be sure to pay a visit to some of the best vintage stores in the city. The Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) is considered the heart of Amsterdam’s vintage scene, so start there and make your way to the Waterlooplein area to make the most of the amazing selection of high quality and unique vintage clothing stores on offer.

Episode Vintage
9 Straatjes & Waterlooplein | €€ | Instagram: @episodevintageclothing
Best for everything Levi’s!
Episode Vintage | Pic credit: www.thoughtfulflamingo.com

It would be wrong not to start with the most well-known vintage chain in Amsterdam- Episode. With 4 locations around Amsterdam and now branches in other European cities such as Copenhagen and Paris, it would be hard not to miss this popular second hand store. Their original shop is in the Negen Straatjes but the new Waterlooplein store is also worth visiting as it is now the chain’s largest; head there for its varied selection of vintage pieces ranging from 70s shirts to their extensive collection of Levi’s!


While you wander round the city- you will be sure to spot many a Dutch vintage shopper carrying one of their signature Episode tote bags! Between their multiple branches they have the largest number of vintage pieces of any second hand store, so you could easily spend hours rummaging through all their well organised stock. Although Episode is not the cheapest second hand shop you will visit, you definitely pay for the quality and incredible selection of vintage goods, as every item is hand selected and repaired before entering the shop floor. A locals tip is to head to the Waterlooplein Market where Episode have their own clothing stall every Monday- Saturday, as they rotate their stock between the market and their stores.

Zipper
9 Straatjes | €€ | Instagram: @zippervintageclothing  
Best for hand-picked vintage

Zipper | Pic credit: @zippervintageclothing

One of the oldest second-hand stores in Amsterdam, this family-run business prides itself on only selling items that they love, so you’re sure to find some amazing one off pieces at Zipper!


Set up in 1979 by an American couple who met through their love for vintage fashion, Zipper is a family owned store that takes inspiration from its LA roots and even has many of its pieces curated and shipped over from the US. Zipper started as a stall at the Waterlooplein market (which we will talk about later on) but quickly grew in popularity and transformed into their current flagship store on Huidenstraat, also in the Negen Straatjes area.


Zipper is restocked 3 times a week so you will always find something new every time you visit- one of the reasons it is such a popular spot! Head there for some amazing hand- picked vintage pieces, and be sure not to miss the unique jewellery and accessories section too. Their Instagram also features a mix of new stock and style ideas to inspire your inner vintage shopping bug!

Kiloshop
De Pijp & Waterlooplein| €€ | Instagram: @kilostore_amsterdam
Best for bulk buying!
Kiloshop | Pic credit: www.kiloshop.nl

Next up is Kiloshop, an alternative way of vintage shopping that works out cheaper and means you walk away with more items for your money- a win-win situation! At this second-hand store the clue is in the name, as you pay per kilo of clothing with different coloured stickers signifying each price category. Everything in red is €20 per kilo, green items for €30 and so on… A top tip is to check out their website before shopping for a handy breakdown of their prices; examples show that you can score a pair of Levi’s for €15 and leather jackets for just €18! You can also join their newsletter for an extra 10 euros off your first purchase- ideal for that second-hand splurge!


There are two branches of Kiloshop in Amsterdam, one in Waterlooplein and another in the trendy De Pijpneighbourhood. At the Kiloshop in De Pijp there is also a café, which is the perfect place for a relaxed coffee break after hours of rummaging through their clothing racks. Alternatively, it’s a good place to drop off any reluctant shoppers for a leisurely lunch so you can take your time trying on piles of clothes!  

Bij Ons Vintage
9 Straatjes & Centrum | € | Instagram: @bijonsvintage
Best for 70s & 80s fashion
Bij Ons Vintage | Pic credit: www.bijons-vintage.nl

One of the city’s vintage havens, Bij Ons Vintage has 2 branches, one in Negen Straatjes and the second on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal right in the centre. Bij Ons pride themselves on selling affordable vintage pieces as they source all their stock from the best clothing markets across Europe and the US. With new arrivals every week, their stock is organised according to the decade with a focus on 70s and 80s fashion, so this is the place to shop for some funky flares or floral shirts- perfect for the festival season!


The Bij Ons chain focuses on fighting fast fashion, as they believe that shopping vintage is the only solution to the pollution caused by the clothing industry. Their motto, “wear vintage or wear nothing at all”, encapsulates the sustainable shopping movement, so take inspiration from Bij Ons and source your new second-hand wardrobe here!

Waterlooplein market
Waterlooplein | € | Instagram: @waterlooplein
Best for one- off items
Waterlooplein market | Pic credit: @waterlooplein

Last but not least, there are the vintage clothing markets. Amsterdam’s many squares host a wide range of markets, from food to antiques and vintage furniture, and the most famous of these is the Waterlooplein market. The oldest flea market not only in Amsterdam, but in the whole of The Netherlands, it is open 6 days a week and offers vintage lovers the opportunity to rummage and barter for one-off items you may not find in thrift stores.

Lapjesmarkt
Westerstraat | € | Instagram: @noordermarkt_amsterdam
Best for textiles and vintage coats
Lapjesmarkt | Pic credit: www.amsterdamtips.com

Additionally, if you can’t get enough of this amazing city and are still there on a Monday, be sure to head to the Lapjesmarkt, a clothing market that takes over the Noordermarkt every Monday morning. This market day is a favourite of locals in search of unique vintage pieces, as here you can find everything from fur coats to vintage bags, as well as denim, shoes and accessories.


Lapjesmarkt is also a textile market so any DIY lovers will be spoilt for choice at the selection of fabrics and trimmings on offer! On Saturdays the Noordermarkt also hosts some great clothing stalls so if you are only staying for the weekend it is still worth a visit!

Hopefully this guide will leave you well-informed and raring to go and rummage through some of Amsterdam’s best second-hand stores, as there is no question that this city has some of the best vintage bargains on offer. Now that so many of Amsterdam’s stores and market stalls are selling unique vintage pieces for affordable prices, the future of sustainable fashion is looking bright!

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