Albert Cuyp Market Where Locals Love to Shop
Sprawling Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam stretches for more than one kilometer and spills over into the surrounding streets. It is one of the best street markets to soak up local atmosphere. Fish mongers rub shoulders with fruit and vegetable sellers. Vendors of round Edam cheese, fiery-red tulips and potato peelers bawl out their wares. Oversized-sized bras and lacy underwear decorate the clothes stands.
Wandering about Albert Cuyp Market is downright fun. Part of the appeal is that the market is very much a local affair and attracts few tourists because it is outside the historic centre of Amsterdam. The market, located in the Pijp district – a 19th century development built for the working-class, is today home to a mix of workers, intellectuals, students and recent immigrants. Dutch, Moroccan, Suriname and Turkish shopkeepers and entrepreneurs aim at their own ethnic group. You won’t find canals, monuments or museums, but you will find an authentic slice of Amsterdam.
Shopping Stop 1 – Treacle Waffles
Impossible to resist the foodie section, so go there first. The aroma of freshly baked syrup waffles rushes out to greet you. Gooey inside and crispy outside, these calorie bombs are the perfect treat. Next stop is the Moroccan olive stand. Shiny green and black olives, garlicky or stuffed with a pale white almond are the perfect nibble when feeling slightly hungry. Halal sausages and feta cheese vie with stuffed green peppers and ready-to-serve yoghurt-cucumber salad in the Turkish stand. Exotic kaki fruit and reddish-yellow mangoes sparkle in the sun and provide keen competition for the orange apricots.
Shopping Stop 2 – Herring
Ethnic and local produce stalls stand side by side. Dutch fishmongers praise their herring, an established treat and a healthy snack rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Herring is eaten raw, but this is only partly true. The fish is gutted, put on layers of salt and deep frozen. Gutting, storing and freezing is done at sea. At the fish stalls, the fish is thawed and the glands are removed. Join the buyers in front of the fishmonger stand and try this delicacy. Dangle the fish by its tails, tilt your head back and lower the herring into your mouth. Enjoy the subtle flavor and soft silkiness in a few small bites.
Shopping Stop 3 – Belly Dancing Outfit
Amble past cunning hawkers trying to sell the latest onion slicer, window cleaning liquids and magic brushes, on your way to the clothes stalls. Mannequins show the latest fashion in Muslim dress and veils. Trendy clothes are going for a song, but don’t expect to find designer labels. If you need a belly dancing outfit, the Albert Cuyp Market is your place.
Shopping Stop 4 – Bollywood DVD’s
Rummage through racks with Bollywood film DVD’s, ethnic music and violin concerto CD’s. The vendor at the material stalls unwinds from lengths of brightly patterned cloth. Boxes of odds and ends yield treasures, including hand-embroidered table cloths and silk scarves in rainbow colours. Buy an extra suitcase at the luggage stand to take home your new treasures.
Shopping Stop 5 – Retail Shops
Check out hundreds of retail shops hidden behind the market stalls at the Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam. Wandering along these stalls, you may not have realized that the market booths line a shopping street. Many of the stores spill out onto the pavement and some have their own market stall in front of their permanent shop.
Best Time to Visit
Albert Cuyp Market is located between the Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat. Retail prices are among the cheapest in Amsterdam. The market gets very crowded especially on Saturdays and sunny days. Arrive before 4 o’clock for a full market experience as after that stall holders may start packing away, especially on slow days and in bad weather. Unless of course you are looking for bargains especially soft fruit like strawberries and cherries. If you want to buy these the best time is between 4 and 5 pm because the fruit sellers want to get rid of their ripe fruit.
Open-air Albert Cuyp Market
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 09.00 – 17.00, closed on Sunday.
photo credit Marianne Crone