Beautiful Mansion on a Canal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

What to buy in Amsterdam

Any travel itinerary would seem rather incomplete without a great shopping experience and a few souvenirs to remind you of your visit. While Amsterdam is a multi-cultural city with a plethora of sights and sounds to keep you busy, its street markets and ‘shopping corridors’ offer a variety of goodies that have retained the quintessential Dutch essence. 

Amsterdam is touted to be the shopping capital of the Netherlands, and not without reason. It offers items that can satiate the appetite of the budget traveler as well as that of the most discerning shopper. You can find the most sought-after designer labels at the Museum Quarter on the the P.C. Hooftstraat, or simply visit ‘The Nine Little Streets’ better known as ‘De Negen Straatjes’ to stroll into some cozy cafés, vintage stores, designer boutiques as well as specialty shops. However, there are a few things that you should add to your kitty while in Amsterdam.
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Souvenirs – Clogs and Calendars

We have some great souvenir shops in Amsterdam. One of the must buys for tourists are Clogs, the epitome of Dutch culture and your trip or souvenir collection cannot be complete without a pair. While you can only find a few farmers still walking around in them, you will be able to find a colorful selection of wooden and even furry clogs at Dam Square. You can even watch them being made in Amstelveen, a town south of Amsterdam. However, if a keepsake is all you’re looking for then you can find a pair of soft wooden-shoe slippers in almost every souvenir shop.

The birthday calendar is an integral part of every Dutch household and thus, qualifies for a must-buy as a memoir of your visit. Unlike regular calendars, these only feature dates without accompanying days or years, since their sole purpose is to keep a record of birthdays. Available at most card, paper or gift shops, they come with illustrations ranging from Van Gogh paintings to popular characters from Dutch children’s books.

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Tulips and Flower Bulbs

No visual image of the Netherlands can ever seem complete without the gorgeous rows of tulips splashing Amsterdam’s landscape with different colors. Stroll through the multihued floating flower market to take your pick of a pre-packaged memento approved for international transport to plant in your garden and adore every spring. A buy from the Amsterdam’s famous Flower Market will be your best bet. 

However, be warned that you will be spoilt for choice, as you will not only have 800 different varieties of tulips to select from, but also more than 500 types of daffodils and narcissi, along with 60 varieties of crocus and hyacinth to confuse you further. The wisest thing to do would be to opt for a combination package. However, due note should be taken of the fact that these graceful blooms do not take well to tropical climate.

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Dutch Cheese, Cookies and Chocolates

No foodie should even think about leaving Amsterdam without sampling its delectable variety of cheeses, cookies and chocolates. While the Gouda (khow-duh) and Edam (ay-dam) are the most popular cheeses, you should try to expand your palate and sample goat cheese, boerenkaas or farm cheese, sharper oud cheese as well our all out favourite cheese Old Amsterdam.

Dutch cookies are known to make people weak in the knees; however, you have not tasted anything until you experience the king of Dutch delicacies, stroopwafel. Stroopwafel is a highly addictive treat made of two thin waffle-cookie layers filled with sticky, sweet syrup or stroop. Chocolates, even though not as popular as their neighbors’, make for some sinful indulgence. Make sure to treat yourself to some traditional Dutch or homemade chocolates during you stay. There are a number of good confectionery shops worth visiting in Amsterdam.

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Antiques and Art

If you are an art connoisseur or antique-lover, then Amsterdam is your playground. With a choice of markets and around 160 antique stores, you will find everything here, from Chinese urns to African masks, tankards, armories, kettles, coins and silver boxes. In fact, Spiegelkwartier happens to be the treasure-trove of antiques and art in Amsterdam, with over seventy dedicated shops housing a variety of specialty items.

You will also find art aplenty in this beautiful city, as the combined areas of Rokin and Spiegelkwartier are home to around 141 art galleries. Not only do these galleries showcase the latest as well as acclaimed Dutch artists, but also put up their works for sale.

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Amsterdam’s rendezvous with diamonds dates back to the 15th century. It has served as the biggest diamond-cutting center and has come to be known as one of the best places in the world to shop for diamond jewelry as well as unmounted stones. 

While you won’t find the cheapest diamonds in Amsterdam, you can expect some competitive prices. Some of the most exquisite diamonds can be found with the member companies of the Amsterdam Diamond Group.

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Delftware made its debut in Amsterdam in the 16th century and has since become symbolic of the Dutch culture. It was developed as an economic alternative to Chinese porcelain. 

While delftware is available in red and white, polychrome as well as blue and white varieties, the latter is the most popular. Delft blue china is usually available in specialty stores across Amsterdam.

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Smart Shops

Almost everyone visiting Amsterdam is aware of the unique "coffeeshops" and in a way look forward to their "trip". However, Smart Shops are a different sort of institution where you can not only buy herbal or smart drugs, but also magic mushrooms. 

Smart shops generally keep a stock of stimulants, hallucinogens, weed seeds, mushrooms, vitamins, aphrodisiacs, sex enhancers, recovery kits and even a variety of souvenirs and arts. In order to fully enjoy your "smart" shopping experience, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for any kind of help, whether it pertains to buying suggestions or ultimate usage.

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Sex Shops

Amsterdam is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and the Dutch treat sex as a normal part of life. Therefore, you will not only find prostitution to be a legal part of society, but also a plethora of sex shops to tickle anyone’s fancy. 

The Red Light District, its vicinity as well as the area around Rembrandtplein, shelters a wide variety of sex shops with some very explicit toys and items on display and put up for sale. Gay and lesbian people too have a wide range to choose from, with several shops specifically catering to their needs. The only word of caution here would be that these places are strictly for adults and no minors allowed.

Amsterdam Photos

  • Amstel Hotel - Amsterdam

    Amstel Hotel - Amsterdam

  • Begijnhof - Amsterdam

    Begijnhof - Amsterdam

  •  Exploring the Amsterdam Canals

    Exploring the Amsterdam Canal...

  • Amstel Kerk - Amsterdam

    Amstel Kerk - Amsterdam

  • Jodenbuurt - Amsterdam

    Jodenbuurt - Amsterdam

  • Flower Market - Amsterdam

    Flower Market - Amsterdam

See all Amsterdam photos »


"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake" - Robert Louis Stevenson