Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk
The Kalverstraat is probably one of the most densely packed shopping areas for Expat within central Amsterdam between the opening and closing hours of the numerous and various shops and cafes that line this “pedestrian only” street. Running parallel to the Rokin, the Kalverstraat runs from the Munt tower to the Dam, where it feeds onto the Nieuwendijk, which is another shopping street that is closed to motor vehicles and public transportation. Together, these streets offer both smaller and large chains and department stores that you might expect to see in cosmopolitan cities like Amsterdam. Some examples of these stores include H&M, Zara, Mexx, and Claire’s Accessories.
On the Nieuwendijk, you will notice that the stores are less directed towards fashion and consumer pleasures. As you head closer to Central Station, you will find an increasing numbers of businesses that are geared towards tourists and their wants and needs.
Since both of these streets are located in a highly touristic area, you will notice that cafes and snack bars are relatively expensive. However, you will also find more locally oriented clothing stores, convenience stores and pharmacies interspersed along these streets, where you can also find great values on whatever you might need.
Running from Koningsplein, on the Herengracht canal to Leidseplein, the Leidsestraat is a main shopping street that is open to pedestrians and public transportation, while it is closed to private motor vehicles and cyclists. Like the Kalverstraat, this is also an area that is largely directed towards the concentrated population of tourists, who flock to this part of the city. Therefore, many of the cafes and specialty food stores are rather expensive.
In spite of the crowds and the inflated prices that you find on the Leidsestraat, you might also recognise the level of exclusivity that distinguishes the shops on the Leidsestraat from the more globally known and widely present shops that you will find on the Kalverstraat and/or the Niewendijk. Some stores you can find on the Leidsestraat include the British department store Metz & Co., Iitala (Design), and Shoebaloo.
Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat
PC Hooftstraat is one of the most upscale shopping streets in Amsterdam. It is nicely positioned just west of the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, located in Museumplein. The high-end fashion and luxury retailers that you can find there include brands like Gucci, Chanel, Diesel, Louis Vuitton, and Hugo Boss. There are also many delectable cafés dotted sporadically along the PC Hooftstraat that are actually worth the large sum of money that they tend to charge for everything they offer.
The Jordaan follows the Singel and Prinsengracht Canals further North and slightly West of the 9 Straats, extending outward until the Harlemmer Houttuinen, on the North. When you walk through the streets of the Jordaan, you appreciate the fact that the area was not built according to any plan. The streets in the Jordaan were built according to the natural landscape, and this is why the streets are so windy and unpredictable. They complement the stores – which are mostly independent boutiques – galleries, cafes and restaurants that surround the historical residential neighbourhood.
The Kinkerstraat and Bilderdijkstraat
If you follow the Elandsgracht straight from the centre and continue south and west, you will find that once you cross over the Nassaukade, you will be on another shopping street, the Kinkerstraat. While this street is quite different from the Elandsgracht, and the other streets that comprise the Jordaan area, you will soon realise that you have entered an area that promises great discounts on anything you could possibly need; you might also find the lowest bargain prices on items that you can’t possibly turn down, even though you probably couldn’t find a use for them, no matter how hard you tried! On the Kinkerstraat, there are many bargain convenience/hardware/household goods shops that sell all their items for hardly more than 1€, and while they are not the highest quality products, they are certainly decent at that price. What’s more is that on this street, and also on the Bilderdijkstraat, which runs perpendicular to the Kinkerstraat, you will likely realise that pharmacy chains like Etos, grocery stores like Albert Heijn, departments stores like Hema and even McDonalds, which are scattered around the city, will offer the same products at slightly reduced prices. Here is the perfect illustration of the fact that you only need to bike 10 minutes outside of the city centre, and you will find products for less money than in the central areas, where everything is just a bit marked up as tourists are willing to pay. There are also many quality Turkish supermarkets and bakeries that offer delicious, fresh products and produce for quite low prices. You will find the Ten Katemarkt on the Kinkerstraat, which is also one of the cheapest and best markets, open daily, in this part of the city.
The 9 straats are located in the centrum, Between the Radhuisstraat and the Leidsegraacht. They extend from the Singel to the Prinsengracht and form a grid between the canals.
In addition to the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the 9 straatjes, on account of the canals, the historical buildings and the monuments, you will also find some of Amsterdam’s best design boutiques, contemporary and specialty shops and galleries. The 9 straats is an enjoyable area to shop around, even when you do not necessarily intend to purchase anything. The items are often fascinating, and this is why they are frequently on the more expensive side. If you have room in your budget to shop around, it is worth a stroll down these straatjes.