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SHOPPING IN THE NETHERLANDS




Throughout the Netherlands you will find a huge range of shops and markets. Many towns will have large retail chains, but you will also find unique independent shops selling clothes, everyday goods and knick-knacks. Large specialized shops such as furniture stores, factory outlets and garden centres are usually on the outskirts of towns and sometimes grouped together in retail parks with parking facilities, child-care facilities and a cafeteria. Most are open, and at their busiest, on public holidays. Recent fashion items can often be picked up cheaply at street markets and second-hand shops

MARKETS



Practically every town and village holds a general market at least once a week. There are also specialized markets, for example, the farmers’ markets, where you can buy fresh farm produce, as well as antique markets and book fairs. Famous specialized markets include the cheese markets of Alkmaar, Edam and Gouda. Then there are also flea markets, where traders and individuals alike sell second-hand goods


The Netherlands’ biggest flea market takes place on Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) , when practically half of the country tries to get rid of unwanted goods on the street. Fairs are also popular and are held twice a year. Most markets start at 9:30am and shut at 4pm or 5pm, while some are open either in the mornings or the afternoons only

ANTIQUES

Antique collectors will find plenty to occupy themselves with in the Netherlands. If you are fortunate, you may strike it lucky in second-hand shops or at flea markets, but likely your best bet is to go to an authentic antique dealer. Many antique dealers specialize in a particular period or a field – prints or clocks, for instance. If you prefer buying antiques at auctions, you would probably do best to visit the branches of the international auctioneers Sotheby’s or Christie’s. In smaller auction houses too, interesting pieces often go under the hammer. Another way of buying antiques is to visit the antique markets and fairs that are held regularly throughout the country.



Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Spiegelstraat is the place for antique collectors. Vendors include antique dealers specializing in ceramics, glass, antique prints, paintings and nautical memorabilia. Haarlem, Middelburg and ’s-Hertogenbosch have large numbers of antique shops; these are often located in old farmhouses. The most common pieces on sale are pine or oak furniture. The MECC in Maastricht and the Brabanthallen in ’s-Hertogenbosch are the venues of annual antique fairs, such as the renowned TEFAF, the world’s biggest art and antique fair. Antique dealers from around the world come here to trade.

FASHION

The Dutch are spending more and more of their incomes on good-quality fashionable clothing. Besides internationally renowned couturiers, many up-and-coming fashion designers set up their own boutiques. Their clothes are often handmade and fairly pricey. More affordable clothes are available at the larger fashion retailers, both home-grown and international. A typical Dutch way of being fashionable is to combine a new and expensive garment with second-hand clothes. 



To see the designs of the most famous couturiers, it is best to go to Amsterdam. On the PC Hooftstraat you will find clothes by Hugo Boss, Armani and Yves Saint-Laurent, Classical English clothing and shoes are to be found in the shops on the Haagse Noordeinde in The Hague. Chains such as Vera Moda sell everyday and durable clothing.

RETAIL STORES AND SHOPPING CENTRES

 The most upmarket retail store in the Netherlands is the Bijenkorf, which offers contemporary furniture, the latest names in fashion, a huge book department and all major cosmetics brands. The Vroom & Dreesmann department stores are slightly smaller and offer lower prices than the Bijenkorf. One step lower on the prices scale is Hema, which offers a wide and remarkably trendy range of things such as lighting accessories and household goods. At most shopping centres you will find the same names, although some centres are reserved for more exclusive shops. One of these is the Magna Plaza in Amsterdam, where you will find upmarket boutiques and jewellers’ shops. 



De Groene Passage in Rotterdam is a covered shopping centre dedicated to the environment, selling items ranging from organic meat to New Age books. La Vie in Utrech has a good range of shops; in The Hague, De Passage is the prime shopping centre. Batavia Stad Outlet Shopping centre in Lelystad is a shopping village built to resemble a 17th-century town. Here manufacturers of expensive brands sell end-of-line products, in particular clothes, at heavy discounts. The designer outlet park in Roermond is a similar place to find bargains.

FURNITURE



The Netherlands’ top furniture designer, Jan des Bouvrie, has his own shop in a converted arsenal in Naarden called Studio het Arsenaal. At Van Til Interior in Alkmaar you can buy designer furniture. In Amsterdam-Zuidoost, you can spend a day viewing furniture in the 75 shops of the Villa Arena. Woonthemacentrum De Havenaer in Nijkerk and Palazzo Lelystad also offer interesting collections. You will find “meubelboulevards”, shopping streets of furniture stores, throughout the country

AUCTION AND SALES HOUSES

The famous British auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have branches in Amsterdam, where international collections in particular are auctioned. The Eland De Zon Loth Gijselman in Diemen, as well as antiquities and art, also auctions furniture and estates. Holbein in Rijssen sells art and antiques, the Veilinghuis de Vonst in Zwolle specializes in stamps and coins.

GARDEN CENTRES

 Dutch garden centres sell plants, seeds, bulbs, soil, compost, and garden furniture. For more unusual plants go to specialist growers, of which there are many in the Netherlands. Garden centres are usually on the edge of towns or just outside them. They are usually open for business on Sundays and public holidays.

CHOCOLATE

 Verkade and Droste are the Netherlands’ best-known chocolate makers, and you can find their products everywhere. Many towns now have specialized confectioners’ shops. The renowned Belgian confectioner Leonidas has numerous outlets in the country. Puccini Bomboni produce exceptional chocolates, sold individually.

TEA AND COFFEE

The Netherlands has been a tea and coffee importer for centuries, and you can find specialist tea and coffee shops everywhere; many still roast their own coffee. Simon Levelt always has at least 25 varieties of coffee and 100 tea blends on sale. Geels & Co, an old family business, has a roasting house and museum

SHOPPING IN THE NETHERLANDS SHOPPING IN THE NETHERLANDS Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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