Amsterdam is one of my favourite European cities and every time I come here I always make sure I visit at least one of the markets on offer.
I love to browse around the bric a brac stores, usually picking up a bargain somewhere along the way, or spending a little more on some of the pretty costume jewellery often on offer. But by far my main reason for dropping by the Waterlooplein on a Saturday is to get some freshly made poffertjes or as I like to refer to them, simply divine fluffy little pancake pillows! Look out for the cast iron pans rather than visiting a food truck as sometimes these can be microwaved versions which aren’t nearly as nice. Traditionally poffertjes are served with a good dusting of icing sugar and a chunk of butter but I sometimes go for Nutella which is also delicious.
Back to Amsterdam’s Markets themselves… the cities market culture dates way back to the 18th century with the first stall set up in 1783 in the Jewish quarter. Today, you can choose from up to 12 daily outdoor markets, 15 which are are open one or two days of the week and several which are only open on particular days in a season. Most markets are open during normal shopping hours so you really can spend all day going between them. Just remember to keep a keen eye on your belongings as markets can be a prime opportunity for pick pockets.
Waterlooplein is Amsterdam’s largest flea market and of of my favourites to visit. In the maze of stalls and containers you will find all kinds of intriguing bric a brac, jewellery, new and second hand clothes, souvenirs, bike parts, spray paint and too much more to possibly name it all! Apart from the variety of stalls, what I also love about Waterlooplein is that, unlike most other markets in Amsterdam, you can still barter to get the best price.
Open: Year-round, Mon-Fri 9am – 5.30pm; Sat: 8.30am – 5.30pm
You can get to the Waterlooplein via the number 14 tram.
Noordermarkt & Boerenmarkt
This popular market has a wide range of wares for sale from recycled army bags to fine antiques from around the world. Flea-market obsessives get here pretty early, especially on Mondays but I usually go on a Saturday and find there is still plenty of great stuff on offer.
As a food lover the main reason I visit the Noordermarkt is for the superb organic farmers market located next door called the Boerenmarkt. One of the largest farmers markets in Amsterdam, local and regional growers sell an array of fresh produce including seasonal fruit and vegetables, meats and cheeses, aromatic herb stalls and often a beautiful selection of wild fungi and mushrooms. You will also find specialist stores dedicated to organic olive oils, whole grains, spices and pestos as well as organic bakers offering natural breads, cookies and pastries. The huge variety of stalls and ingredients available create a vibrant, bustling, beautiful display of colour and smells all of which make the Boerenmarkt a joy to visit. If you’re in the Jordaan area on a Saturday it’s an absolute must!
Open: Year-round, Saturdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Albert Cuypmarkt is the largest and arguably the most popular outdoor market in the Netherlands, with around 260 stalls stretching down the length of the street.
You can easily spend hours shopping and browsing in this entertaining and eclectic market. With stands selling everything from fresh vegetables and meat, to shoes, bedding and books. There are also a plethora of stalls selling traditional Dutch foods like raw herring of if you fancy something sweeter, fresh stroopwafels.
The market is located in the heart of the De Pijp district, one of Amsterdam’s busiest areas, filled with quirky shops, cafés, coffee shops, restaurants, and cosy bars.
Prices can be very cheap, but product quality may reflects this, so give items a good look over before you purchase. There isn’t such a big range, but you can pick up flowers here for less than at the famous Bloemenmarkt.
Open: Year-round, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Bloemenmarkt / Singel Flower Market
Amsterdam’s famous floating flower market is a favourite amongst tourists and although it can get very busy its worth a visit to see the dazzling array of blooms in every colour plus it’s the only one of its kind in the world so you’re unlikely to see anything similar.
Although the stalls are ‘floating’ on houseboats they are now semi-permanent fixtures. The Bloemenmarkt is located on the Singel canal on the central canal belt between Koningsplein and Muntplein.
Open: Year-round, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Spui Book Market
No matter the weather, this beautiful book market takes place of the lively Spui Square every Friday. This old-fashioned market has been going for over 20 years, attracting book lovers from the Netherlands and abroad.
If like me, you’re a bit of a bookworm, then you’ll love exploring the tables and tents packed full of all things to do with the written word. Many of the books are old, second hand and out of print and often rare editions. Although the majority of books are in Dutch, there are some English and international titles for sale as well. On top of books, you’ll find old prints, posters, pamphlets and maps.
Open: Year-round, Fridays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.