From vegetables to cheese and fresh fish, and from art to antiques, books and vintage clothing, there is something for everyone at the various Amsterdam Markets.
For the Dutch, a trip to the market is not only a way to get more value for their money or buy special products that are not found at local supermarkets, but it is also an outing. After a round through the stalls, many catch up with friends at a nearby café or treat themselves to a typical market snack such as a giant, warm stroopwafel (syrup-filled wafer) or a paper cone filled with steamy, thick-cut chips with mayonnaise. For the tourist, on the other hand, the market is also a chance to taste some of the city’s culinary delights while soaking up urban culture.
The best Amsterdam markets
There are wonderful markets taking place in Amsterdam every day. Some are held only once a week or even once a month. Let’s have a look at what some of the city’s must-see markets have to offer – from the first organic market, the Noordermarkt, to the most iconic, the Albert Cuyp Market. It’s an experience no tourist (especially those who love food, bargain-hunting and cultural city vibes) should pass up!
While every market in the city has its own charm, there’s something special about spending a leisurely Saturday perusing the more than seventy stalls at the Noordermarkt. The vibrant market, located in the Jordaan. Amsterdam’s most celebrated and folkloric neighborhood, is home to an exceptional array of organic, farm-fresh and locally-made artisanal products. There are huge rounds of Dutch cheeses as well as an impressive selection of high-quality imported cheeses. Fruit and vegetable stands shine with an abundance of seasonal color and vibrancy (this may just be the place to find forgotten vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and vitelotte potatoes!). Your mouth will water as you admire the piled up loaves of aromatic breads and elegant pastries, all made with the best ingredients and absolutely no additives.
Though the market is a paradise for vegetarians and vegans, there are also organic meats (including juicy Dutch smoked sausages) and seafood (oysters are shucked for you on the spot!). Delicatessen products abound as well with fine olive oils, top-quality honey, some of the most sought-after mushrooms, olives and even freshly-prepared nutritious snacks. But that’s not all. At this bustling city hub, you’ll also find an interesting selection of antiques and vintage items. And take note: you may want to start or end your market trip with a thick slice of Dutch appeltaart (apple pie) and a glass of red wine at Café Winkel43. This lively and very popular café, located on the corner of Westerstraat and Noordermarkt, is renowned for serving the best apple pie in Amsterdam, if not in the country. Their apple pie is everything it should be: thumb-sized chunks of firm and slightly sour apples, a buttery crust and a good dollop of whipped cream that isn’t overly sweet. Absolute perfection!
The Noordermarkt is situated directly at the foot of the Noorderkerk and dates back to 1618. It is the second oldest market in the Netherlands (the oldest being the Nieuwmarkt, which holds a daily market as well as an organic market on Saturday). In its early days, the Noordermarkt specialized in pots and textiles and catered mostly to the poor of the area. Towards the middle of the century, it expanded with other types of wares being sold and ultimately it specialized in second-hand wares. It wasn’t until 1987 that the organic farmers’ market became part of its repertoire, if not the main reason both locals and tourists alike flock there every Saturday. What’s especially interesting is that this was the first organic farmers’ market, not just in Amsterdam, but in the Netherlands. The Noordermarkt was a true pioneer. Today, almost every city in the country holds an organic farmers’ market at least once a week.
Organic Food Markets & Funky Vintage Markets
Besides the Noordermarkt and the Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam has several other organic and sustainable markets worth mentioning.
Since its inception in 201, the NeighbourFood Market has been functioning as a platform for innovative and passionate food entrepreneurs who are eager to let you taste their locally-produced fare and discover new and exciting flavors. It is held once or twice a month, on a Saturday and/or Sunday at the Westergasfabriek, one of the city’s most hip & happening hotspots.
Somewhat similar is the Pure Markt – especially with good weather, there’s no better way to spend a gourmet afternoon. Held at different locations in the city on most Sundays, the market offers music, entertainment and an impressive selection of products sold directly from their producers. There are plenty of picnic tables where you can enjoy a meal put together with treats purchased at the many different stalls.
Two other markets to add to your itinerary are the farmers’ market held on Haarlemmerplein every Wednesday (after the market, you may want to explore Haarlemmerdijk/Haarlemmerstraat, two streets full of gourmet shops and known to many as ‘Culinary Avenue’) and the zuiderMRKT which has more than 20 stalls and is held every Saturday at Jacob Obrechtplein in Amsterdam South.
Looking for an original LP from your favorite 60s rock band? A funky lamp to jazz up your living room? Just the right fabric to make that special dress? Exciting books for young and old? Or a unique souvenir to take back home? You’ll find this and more at the city’s specialized markets.
Start your hunt at the Waterlooplein market which is held every day except Sunday in the former Jewish Quarter. With a history that goes back more than a century, this is the oldest flea market in the city. It boasts more than 300 stands offering everything from rare antiques to shoes.
For more vintage finds and unique knick-knacks, head to the IJ-Hallen in Amsterdam North. Held one weekend per month, this market is the largest of its kind in Europe.
Spui Book Market
Those who love to read will marvel at the stunning selection of rare, used and out-of-print books sold by approximately 25 vendors from across the country at the Spui Book Market. The market has been held every Friday for more than 20 years and features books in various languages.
If you love to sew, the Lapjesmarkt on Westerstraat will delight you with more than 160 stands offering fabrics, buttons, threads, needles and more.
Last but not least, the Sunday Market, which takes place at the Westergasfabriek and other locations either once or twice a month, is a real must for fashion, art and design fans. Meet creatives (including established names and young talent from the Rietveld Academy and the Design Academy), hear the stories behind their products, and allow yourself to be inspired. Finished shopping? Grab a bite at one of the sustainable food stands!
Daily Neighbourhood Markets & the Most Iconic Amsterdam Market of All
Much like every city in Holland, every neighborhood in Amsterdam has its own general market selling food, clothes, toiletries and homewares.
Noteworthy is the more than a century old Dappermarkt, known to be the most affordable and multicultural market in the city. It’s held six days a week in Amsterdam East. Peruse the exotic wares at the more than 250 stalls of the market that was named one of National Geographic’s favourite places in 2007.
The Ten Katemarkt on Kinkerstraat in Amsterdam Old West is a similar market, also open six days a week, though slightly smaller with approximately 100 stands. “Broodje Mario” is the iconic bread stand where you can order the best sandwiches. Besides that you can buy tasty tapas and amazing hummus on the Ten Katemarkt.
Finally, no visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a stroll through the iconic Albert Cuyp Market. Approximately 260 stalls line both sides of Albert Cuypstraat, named after the 17th-century Dutch landscape artist and located in the trendy district known as De Pijp. Especially during the weekends, when roughly 50,000 people per day visit the market, Albert Cuypstraat bustles with curious tourists adding even more zest and international flair to the already distinctly multicultural hotspot. The market’s history dates back to the early 20th century. By 1955, there were 240 regular stalls. By the end of that decade, an eight-year-old boy named André Hazes was discovered singing next to a stall while trying to make money to buy a present for his mother. He would go on to become one of the most renowned singers in Dutch music history. By the 1960s, what was once only a neighborhood market was well on its way to becoming the most talked about Dutch outdoor market and the largest of its kind in all of Europe. One of the main highlights in the history of the Cuyp was when Princess Beatrix (at the time queen), paid a surprise visit to the market on June 16th 2005 in honor of its 100th anniversary. She was greeted with the same enthusiasm, warmth and humor that all those before her had also encountered. The friendly atmosphere characterizes not only this market, but every market in the Dutch capital.
Editor Paola Westbeek
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