“Let’s do what we love and do a lot of it.” I couldn’t agree more with Marc Jacobs on that. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to some quality shopping time, and what brings out even more joy is a successful shopping mission for your loved ones in which you found exactly what you wanted. But where to start? Shopping is time-consuming when you only have limited time to explore a new city, especially if you want to ‘shop like locals’. Here are the 5 teeny-tiny shops full of character which could offer a little bit of everything for you to explore and appreciate.
Thull's Pickels & Stock
All photo credits: Huanhuan Guo
This is a must visit for foodies, especially if you love fresh local food with an earthy character. Although Amsterdam is not really known for food and locals seem to eat in a rather practical manner, it has been changing. Good quality and healthy food are more present as tastes and varieties become more important than simply filling the stomach. Thull's Pickles & Stock was born with a vision and an ambition to produce healthy food and make people aware of that. All the vegetables are organic, mostly locally grown so they can go in the jars within 24 hours. This guarantees the best preservation of the original taste. Besides the standard sweet and sour flavors pickles, the owner Simone experiments with different kinds of vinegar and spices to offer you more alternatives. This shop will change your perception of pickled everything! Apart from many homemade products, they also sell delicious food from suppliers. If you happen to come in around lunch time, don’t forget to check out their weekly-changing menu, the humble and simple ingredients can also bring out the best tastes here.
Thull's Pickles & Stock, Pretoriusstraat 69, 1092GB, Amsterdam
Let’s be frank, Amsterdam is not really a very ‘Dutch’ city if you want to experience the real ‘Dutchness’. However you could find something 100% Dutch: Spiegel. It is definitely one of the finest collection shops in the name of affordable Dutch design, and some of the products are also crafted locally. From the well-known Miffy art piece to the witty upcoming illustration tableware pieces from Het Paradijs, it is not only my favorite shop to hunt gifts for international friends but also to buy something ‘Dutch’ for myself. If you want to bring some more unconventional and beautifully crafted souvenirs home, this is the place! Even if you are not in the mood for shopping design pieces or souvenirs, this is also a good place to get a quick feeling of how Dutch designs look like.
Spiegel, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 2a hs, 1017 DE, Amsterdam
I thought this was a chocolate shop (always good to hear) when I first heard the name. However, BonBon is a jewellery shop opened by a former Dutch model and designer Bonne. The collections are as irresistible as chocolates though! If you love minimalist pieces, then this is your dream jewellery shop! All the jewellery is designed by Bonne and hand-made by her talented team at the in-shop studio. The collections are not only elegant and fine, they are also long-lasting: either sterling silver or all 14K gold-filled with brass. And there is more, at the back of the shop you will find all kind of artworks from local artists and designers. All the pieces are presented with love and it’s so easy to fall for at least one or two. One final spoiler: a new shop is opening at the end of the month next door, dedicated to men’s jewellery, who says shopping is only for ladies! Bring it on, gentlemen!
BonBon Boutique, Rosmarijnsteeg 8 1012RP Amsterdam +31 (0)20 6387095
Since the name of BonBon Boutique might be somehow misleading, I feel the need to introduce you a good local chocolate shop. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolates? Van Velze's was opened back in 2008 by a lovely couple who met each other in Australia. What I find this shop charming is not only because of the unbeatable chocolates and cakes, this is a shop you actually know where your chocolates come from and how the cocoa beans are grown. They use a special kind of cocoa named ‘Trinitario’, the finest and rarest cacao in the world (about 5-15%). The whole process is completely transparent and traceable - doesn’t it feel good and right to know what you are paying for?
Van Velze’s, Eerste Oosterparkstraat 7 1091 GT Amsterdam, Netherlands
You couldn't say you went shopping properly in Amsterdam if you haven’t been to the De Pijp neighbourhood. Among all the trendy/hipster/quirky little shops in the neighborhood, Kolifleur has its special twist. Eva opened this secondhand clothes/things/plants all-in-one shop back in 2015, it was one of a kind when she opened it, it only collects high-end brands (Alexander Wang, Filippa K, Stella McCartney etc) with a personal and specific style. It is your stylish alternative to consumerism and throwaway fashion, just watch out for your wallet, you might just love everything. Kolifleur is also a showroom for some young Dutch artists and designers, there is a collection of ceramics, paper wares, jewelry and leather pieces, all hand-crafted with a modern and minimal touch. If you would like something hand-made but not looking too ‘raw’, this is the place to bring some modern and minimal Dutchness back with you.
Kolifleur, Frans Halsstraat 35 1072 BK Amsterdam Note: Moving to a bigger brighter space soon, location is unknown.
We know there's a few more hidden gems in Amsterdam to discover, so why not explore Amsterdam with our local Huanhuan next time you visit Amsterdam! Our local girl will show you the very best off the beaten path shops around, so what are you waiting for?