Browsing through open-air markets is a great way to explore, enjoy and get to know any city – and this may be even truer when it comes to taking a tour of Amsterdam and its many colourful markets.
From aroma-rich flower markets to bargain-filled ones with art pieces, souvenirs, trinkets and more – Amsterdam’s diverse and eclectic markets proves to be a wonderful way of becoming acquainted with the city’s various neighbourhoods and people.
Indeed, Amsterdam’s markets are steeped in its culture, history and tradition – dating back hundreds of years to the first part of the 18th century, with the very first stall established in 1783 in the city’s Jewish Quarter. Nowadays, some dozen daily outdoor markets dot the city, and more than a dozen more are open at least one or two days every week.
However, one thing to note and be aware of is that these markets – similar to most markets and popular centres around the world – can be a haven for pickpockets. So be sure to always keep an eye on your wallet, purse and other belongings. With this in mind, you can comfortably shop the city’s many produce and products. By the way, haggling here is considered customary and normal, so feel free to barter for your bargain.
Here are a few of the city’s largest and most popular markets:
This bustling market has been around since 1905 and is a must-see for any visitor. As the Netherlands’ biggest and most popular open-air market, here you’ll find more than 260 vendors offering everything from fresh produce, fish and meat to delicious cheese, chocolates, flowers, plants and even clothes, jewellery, shoes… and much, much more. The market presents great bargains, but the quality of the products are often lacking… so be careful. Hours of operation are weather dependent, but the market is generally open Mondays to Saturdays from 9:30am to approximately 17:00.
Located at Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BL Amsterdam. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Albert Cuyp Market for more information and to confirm days/hours.
Considered the largest antiques centre in The Netherlands, this market boasts some 55 dealers offering a variety of antique pieces, artworks and collectibles. Here, among the many stands, you’ll find a range of art pieces – from pottery and porcelain to paintings, jewellery and more. The market is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 17:00.
Located at Elandsgracht 109, 1016 TT Amsterdam. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Antiekcentrum in Amsterdam for more information and to confirm days/hours.
As the world’s only floating flower market, this site also happens to be one of the most pleasantly scented areas in all of Amsterdam. Dating back to 1862, this market evokes some of the city’s history of when the market received its flower supplies daily by boat. Today, much of the market’s uniqueness is the fact that the stalls still float on local houseboats, now part of the city’s semi-permanent fixture. Here, you’ll find blooms of nearly every hue and color – and have an opportunity to purchase some export-ready Dutch flower bulbs for yourself.
Located at Singel 630 to 600, between Koningsplein and Muntplein (Central Canal Belt), 1012 WP Amsterdam. Open throughout the year, Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 to 17:30, and Sundays from 11:00 to 17:30. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Bloemenmarkt for more information and to confirm days/hours.
Though modest in size compared with some of the city’s other markets, this lively market is well situated in the very centre of town along the Spui Square. Bibliophiles are sure to marvel at the selection of antique and used books – from biography, literature and poetry to fantasy-fiction, history, psychology, geography and more. Though many of the titles here are from Holland, some English and international books are also sometimes available – along with antique maps, records and prints.
Located at Het Spui (between Kalverstraat and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal), 1012 WZ Amsterdam. Open Fridays from 10:00 to 18:00. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Boekenmarkt Op Het Spui for more information and to confirm days/hours.
Considered one of the world’s “Top 10 Shopping Streets” in 2007 by National Geographic Traveler (behind Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and Milan’s Navigli Antique Market), this bustling local market occupies a single street in the East Amsterdam neighbourhood. Boasting low prices and some 250 stands, this is one of the best markets in the city to find a deal. (Though, as with all markets, be careful of pickpockets.) While here, be sure to visit a café or browse some of the interesting stores around the Dappermarkt.
Located at Dapperstraat, 1093 BS Amsterdam. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 to 17:00. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Dappermarkt for more information and to confirm days/hours.
Bargain shoppers rejoice! Known throughout the city to have “great sales and a great atmosphere,” IJ-Hallen is one of Europe’s largest and most unique flea markets – and is located in Holland’s most densely-populated neighbourhood of North Amsterdam. Due to the market’s sheer size, you’ll find nearly everything you might be looking for (and more) at one of the many stalls here. Admission fee for this market is €5 and €2 for kids aged 11 and younger.
Located at IJ-Hallen T.T. Neveritaweg 1, 1033 WB Amsterdam. Open on certain weekends every month. Please visit IJ-Hallen Flea Market for more information and to confirm days/hours.
The Amsterdam Nieuwmarkt (which translates to “new market”) comprises a square in the city’s Chinatown and borders the famed Red Light District. The area was formerly a canal, but that changed in 1614 when the waterways were filled to create a marketplace that lends its name to the square. Now more than four centuries old, the Nieuwmarkt is a daily operation and becomes a colourful organic farmers’ market on Saturdays. From May through October, Nieuwmarkt is also home to a popular antiques market. Surrounding the square, you’ll find a myriad of bars, cafes, restaurants and engaging shops – all of which make it ideal for exploring and strolling the area.
Located at Nieuwmarkt, 1012 CR Amsterdam. Open daily from 9:00 to 17:00. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Nieuwmarkt for more information and to confirm days/hours.
At this popular Monday morning market, you’ll find a range of interesting items - such as bags made from World War II military gear to beautiful Asian antiques, books, clothes, quirky household items and more. On Saturdays, the market also welcomes an organic produce market.
Located at Noordermarkt, 1015 MV Amsterdam. Open Mondays from 9:00 to 13:00, and on Saturdays from 9:00 to 17:00. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Noordermarkt for more information and to confirm days/hours.
As one of the city’s most popular and oldest flea markets (dating back to 1885), the Waterlooplein is akin to being at some 200 garage sales at the same time. In this case, the neighbourhood happens to be both upscale yet casual… perfect for browsing for hard-to-find items. Check out the rows of African drums, second-hand clothes, antique items and furniture, souvenirs, and various bric-a-brac. Feel free to bargain for your bargain here.
Located next to the Amsterdam City Hall at Waterlooplein, 1011 PG Amsterdam. Open Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 to 17:30 pm, and Saturdays from 8:30 to 17.30. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Waterlooplein Flea Market for more information and to confirm days/hours.
This impressive outdoor market along Westerstraat – one of the Jordaan district’s largest streets – was originally a textiles market. Over time, this vibrant marketplace has undergone a transformation and now offers a range of high quality, upscale merchandise… including clothes and shoes.
Located at Westerstraat (at Prinsengracht), 1015 ML Amsterdam. Open Mondays from 9:00 to 13:00. Days and hours of operation may change, please visit Westerstraat Market in Jordaan for more information and to confirm days/hours.