Shopping The Markets In Amsterdam
Amsterdam is not only a beautiful, quirky, fun and walkable city, it is also a great place to shop for unique and vintage items. There are tons of cute stores, markets, antique and vintage shops and and oh, those home decorating stores! For vintage, you have to stop by Vintage Home in The Pijp area (where you'll also find the Albert Cuypmarkt) for fabulous 20th century furniture. The last time I looked, they had chairs from three of my favorite designers: Bruno Mathsson, Poul Kjaerholm and Verner Panton.
For contemporary works by independent artists and designers, check out Galerie KIS (Paleisstraat 107, Old Centre). KIS stands for Kunst in Serie (Art in Series) and they have tons of housewares, furniture and other home decorating items, but only a few sets of each, so if you see something you like, buy it!
As much fun as it is to stroll in and out of shops, if you're on the hunt for a bargain, head to one of the many markets in Amsterdam. There are 21 in all - some are specialized (books, flowers, food) and some are more "flea markety" in style. Market day schedules vary, so make sure the one you want to visit is open before heading out.
For food, don't miss the amazing Noordermarkt Organic Farmers Market (in the Jordaan district), held on Saturdays. You can find pretty much everything edible here: vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, cheese, bread, oil, herbs, dairy, etc., and it's all organic.
I'm always on the lookout for unique and vintage charms and jewelry boxes, and the following markets are great resources for that:
Noordermarkt Antiques Market
Held on Monday mornings and Saturdays, right next to the organic farmers market, this flea market is a gem, filled with treasures: toys, books, vintage furniture (20th century chairs in particular), second hand clothing, jewelry, books, silverware, all kinds of odds and ends.
Also in Jordaan on Monday mornings (9.00 am - 13.00 pm), this market is heaven for those looking for fabric and clothing. It was originally a market for textiles only, but these days, you can also find things like flowers, shoes, clothes (often designer labels from shop closures, also slightly defect items straight from the factory, and shoes in odd sizes), home decorating objects, etc.
Antiekmarkt De Looier
Another one in Jordaan (at Elandsgracht 109), this is one of the few indoor markets. It is open 11am - 5pm every day except Friday and is all antiques. If you collect anything, stop by this market! There is furniture, silverware, coins, clocks, jewelry, toys, dolls, paintings, and collectibles of all kinds. On Wednesdays and weekends, anybody can set up a booth and sell antiques here, so those days are extra good for finding that perfect addition to your collection. You never know what someone just found in an attic and decided to sell.
Located on Albert Cuypstraat in de Pijp, open Monday - Saturday. The most famous of Amsterdam's markets (and more of a bazaar than a flea market really), Albert Cuypmarkt has been in existence for over 100 years and it is huge. It takes up four blocks and there are roughly 300 vendors. Prices are great, and you can find pretty much everything here (no designer stuff though): food, flowers, bags, shoes, clothes, spices, fabric, jewelry, electronics, furniture, luggage, etc. The area itself (de Pijp) is also worth a visit - it's a very cozy place to stroll around and there are lots of cafes, shops, bars and restaurants, offering cuisine from all corners of the world.
Waterlooplein Flea Market
Waterlooplein market is open every day except Sunday and is located in the old Jewish quarter. It is another large market with 300 vendors and all kinds of stuff like vintage clothing, appliances, musical instruments, jewelry, records, some antiques, books, art, textiles, etc. You may have to dig through quite a few piles to discover that perfect find, but it's worth it. If you want to take an easy sightseeing side trip from the market, check out Rembrandt's house, which is just around the corner (on Jodenbreestraat 4-6).
And if you happen to be visiting on "Queen's Day" (Koninginnedag), which is celebrated on April 30 every year, definitely check out the freemarkets, which appear on streets all over Holland. It is like a country-wide garage sale, where anybody can put up a display of things they wish to sell. While you may not find any priceless treasures, it is a lot of fun - the color of the day is orange and the streets are packed with revelers.