For many people, shopping is more than a pastime. For some, it’s a sport and to others it offers some much-needed retail therapy. That’s where Amsterdam’s De 9 Straatjes (also known as “The Nine Streets”) comes in. Whatever your level of browsing or shopping expertise, these streets are unmatched when it comes to their idyllic canal-side locale, designer boutiques and quirky, one-of-a-kind stores.
Comprising nine picturesque cobblestone side streets in the city centre, De 9 Straatjes is the ultimate neighbourhood for shopping and exploring. Located in the very heart of a Unesco World Heritage site, just beyond Dam Square and en route to Rijksmuseum from the Anne Frank House, the area overflows with interesting shops and cafes. Indeed, The Nine Streets presents an ideal opportunity not just to browse and shop – but also to discover Amsterdam’s rich character and heritage through its unique architectural buildings and styles.
For the browsers, shoppers and window-shoppers, this historical neighbourhood offers nearly every imaginable item on your wish list: beautiful clothes, shoes and handbags, as well as paintings, jewellery, gift items, antiques, housewares, vintage finds and more. When you’ve shopped ‘til you’ve (almost) dropped, simply walk a few steps in any direction and relax at one of the area’s many bars, cafes and restaurants to rest up and grab a bite.
These Nine Streets are conveniently situated at the very core of the city’s canal district – straddling 17th-century waterways (from the Singel to Prinsengracht). Considered to be one of Amsterdam’s most photogenic neighbourhoods, The Nine Streets was built in the first half of the 17th century. Now, approximately 400 years later, these streets are home to more than 200 shops and services that pay homage to the artisans and shopkeepers of centuries past.
Along with the art, the style, the fashion and the food… this area boasts numerous distinct architectural styles among the various buildings and homes. Among them, the Vingboon Houses that is now home to The Canal House Museum and The Felix Meritis building that dates back to 1787, and is the European center for arts, culture and science – commissioned on behalf of the Felix Meritis Society, which guided the enlightenment and ideals of the time. It was in this building that Amsterdam’s inaugural concert hall (an oval) was built and hosted impressive concerts, including those for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
If you’re interested in some of the area’s other cultural attractions, pay a visit to the Dutch Spectacles Museum at Gasthuismolensteeg 7 or the Biblical Museum on the Herengracht – which boasts a diverse collection of the Book (the oldest dates back to 1477) and various significant temple models, archaeological Egyptian finds and more.
A few minutes walk from The Nine Streets, you’ll find the Royal Palace on Dam Square, formerly the Town Hall constructed in 1648 by renowned Dutch architect Jacob van Campen.
Shopper or not, Fashionista or culture vulture… you’re sure to find something for every interest around The Nine Streets – from food and drinks to architecture and culture to shopping (of course). Whatever you do, just be sure to wear your walking shoes… or simply pick up a pair as you go. After all, isn’t that what exploring The Nine Streets is all about?