There are two large outdoor markets in Amsterdam that run six days a week. The famous flea market at Waterlooplein is the easier to spot of the two since it’s readily visible from a good chunk of the tourist center neighborhood near Rembrandtplein. That market is fascinating and worth checking out since it has an ever-changing collection of antiques, used items, smoking accessories, vintage and new fashions, and many other miscellaneous items. But the well-hidden Albert Cuyp Market is actually much larger and quite different so it’s worth seeing as well.
The Albert Cuyp Market runs for nearly a kilometer down Albert Cuypstraat in the De Pijp district in the Old South neighborhood of Amsterdam. The easier to reach end of the market is just a short walk behind the Heineken Brewery, which is home to the Heineken Experience Tour (closed for renovations until June, 2008). You won’t accidentally find the Albert Cuyp Market unless you get REALLY lost, but making a trip there can be rewarding. It’s only about a 10-minute walk from the Leidseplein area and maybe 15 minutes from Rembrandtplein, but of course you can get there on a tram if you prefer public transportation to walking.
Part of the appeal of the market is that this part of De Pijp (which means ‘the pipe’) is home to many large groups of Amsterdam’s immigrant community. Many families who were born in Morocco, Suriname, and Turkey live in this neighborhood and many of them operate business aimed at their own ethnic group. The Albert Cuyp Market also has many of its 300 stalls dedicated to these groups, so this is one of the more cosmopolitan areas in an otherwise-homogenous city center.
Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sundays. Often many of the stalls will start packing up well before 5 p.m., especially on slower days or bad-weather days, so don’t wait until 4 to visit.
The Albert Cuyp Market is free to enter and there are no gates.
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What’s on offer
This market started in 1905 and has been an Amsterdam fixture ever since. This is where many locals do their regular shopping. You can find prepared Dutch food like the famous Stroopwafel or the even more famous Amsterdam French fries known as Vlaamse frites, but you can also find groceries from around the world. There are veg stands, cheese sellers and butchers, but also stalls selling ethnic groceries.
There is little or no used clothing here, but fashion stalls make up about half of the 300 stalls. You won’t see many designer labels with their high prices, but you will see lots of trendy clothes that seem well made and are quite affordable. If you want to buy a new outfit or two in Amsterdam this is probably the cheapest place to put it together. Women’s clothes dominate, but there are men’s clothes there as well.
As mentioned, this is where many locals do most of their shopping, so many stalls are dedicated to everyday items like batteries, toiletries, cleansers, and whatnot. Especially for things like batteries, the prices here can be half what you’d pay in stores nearby.
You’ll also find DVDs, CDs, incense, bicycles, electronics, video cables, and just about anything else you can think of. And the prices are generally lower than you’d pay in stores, often much lower.
An added bonus
Strangely enough, this 6-day a week market is located on a permanent retail street. So in a way it hides a hundred or so businesses immediately behind the market stalls, but the market was actually here first and these businesses moved in to take advantage of the constant foot traffic through the area. Most of the stores sell affordable fashions, and many of them actually run a market stall just in front of their permanent store. Others only have their store, but get enough business from passersby who walk behind the stalls as a quicker way to walk down this busy street. In other words, check out some of the shops behind the stalls for more interesting surprises.
Map of Albertcuyp Market street
Below you’ll see a satellite image of a close-up of the shopping street. The Heineken Brewery is just below the leftmost sign that says “s100”. To see how this area fits into the city center check out the main Amsterdam map page. This is near the bottom right of the main map there.