Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Amsterdam's Flea Markets

By: Ken Sand

Flea markets have always had a certain charm about them. They are an integral part of the culture and heritage of a city. The same can be said for Amsterdam’s flea markets. A trip to Amsterdam cannot be complete without a visit to one of these great flea markets, where you can both aste the culture and heritage of the city, and also find some value for money bargains.

Pick up a flower

Having said that, be prepared for a lot of haggling. Bargaining and negotiating prices is very important when you are taking part in the flea market culture, haggling is a process that most shopkeepers, and even shoppers enjoy. At the same time, you should be extra careful of your belongings. Flea markets in Amsterdam are full of pickpockets and small time thieves and crooks. Make sure that you keep your possessions close by and within sight.

You can find almost anything in these flea markets – from goods of daily use to organic food to flowers, books, clothes and even art pieces. Most of the markets are located within the city and are open all week days i.e. Monday to Saturday. It is impossible to visit all the flea markets in Amsterdam when you are in the city for only a few days, there are too many flea markets to reach! The four markets below, however, are a must visit and will give you more than a taste of Amsterdam street life:

Waterlooplein Flea Market
Open Monday Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Waterlooplein, 1011 PG, at the top of Nieuwmarkt

If you are looking to rope in some great bargains, then Waterlooplein Flea market is just the place for you. It is the biggest and the oldest flea market in Amsterdam and you can find many interesting thing like posters, spray paints, antique pieces of furniture, trendy t shirts and a lot of cool traditional stuff from countries like Africa. If you are really adventurous, you can even get tattoos here.

The Spui Book Market
Open Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Spui Straat, near Muntplein (by Tram)

The Spui book market is a virtual paradise for avid book readers. There are millions of interesting and antique book to be found under the makeshift tents of the market. The flea market ahs absolutely every form of literature pottery, fiction, biographies and what not. Not only will you get a taste of Dutch literature, you will also find a wide range of international books.

The Noordermarkt Flea Market
Open Monday Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Stationsplein 10, 1012 AB

The Noordermarkt Flea Market is another sprawling hip flea market of Amsterdam. Just like Waterlooplein market, it has a variety of cool intriguing stuff like bags made during World War II, old military outfits and other vintage goods including jewellery and old clothes. It is a must visit for people who enjoy collecting ethnic stuff that is deeply rooted in history.

Art Plein Spui
Open Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed during winters)
Location: Spui Plein, 1012 WZ

If you are a weekend person, then you can always visit the Art Plein Spui the place where local artists sell their creations on Sundays. The market is especially famous for its oil paintings and you can also find replicas of renowned paintings at cheap prices.

These flea markets of Amsterdam are the perfect place to get a few souvenirs for friends back home, and a great way to soak in the culture of this great city!

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