If you are visiting Amsterdam and would like to consider leaving some Euros in the local economy when splurging on souvenirs, or would like to bring home something other than weed-shaped magnets, or you live here and are stuck with ideas of what to bring as a souvenir when visiting friends abroad – read on as below is my personal list of souvenirs from Amsterdam.
Continuing the tradition of “What souvenirs to buy in…” posts and also with the holiday season approaching, please welcome: a collection of Dutch-made or Dutch-designed things you can bring home as souvenirs and know you’ve supported the local producers.
Tiny disclaimer: these are the things I would (or already have) gift myself. I’m not a huge fan of things to start with, but when you’re away from your loved ones, I prefer leaving either an edible or a lasting object that can hold real warm memories (I’m looking at you, hemp-shaped magnets!). So here it goes.
Since tap water is perfectly safe to drink here in the Netherlands, I put this one on top of the list – there’s no better souvenir than a sustainable water bottle with a mission.
You see them everywhere in Amsterdam – tucked into every backpack’s pocket, on every office desk – these Dopper water bottles became a signature Amsterdam thing for me. Apparently you can get them in many stores as well as make your own bottle online and they have a special Van Gogh collection on sale now. You can also get a sports cap for the fitness fans.
If you are thinking of getting one, but the person drinks a lot of water, consider their 800ml steel option – I have one and I’m loving it!
I’ve tried quite a few coffee roasters here in Amsterdam since we moved here. The famous ones are Lot 61 Coffee Roasters, Trakteren who work with Dutch Barista Coffee, but my favourite so far is Bocca. They are on the market since 2001 and are the first company in the Netherlands to own the whole process of selection, purchasing, transportation, roasting and packing coffee under its own management.
Their prices are fair (a 250 gram bag of beans is ~EUR8 which is barely the price of three cups of takeaway lattes in Amsterdam) and their decaf is the best. Anton gets this one for his Bulletproof coffee. Available online or at their shop at Kerkstraat 96.
Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate is famous here. “Big, chunky, unequally divided chocolate bar from Amsterdam. Good looking, incredibly tasty, but – above all – I have a story to tell. An important one.” These guys are on a mission to make chocolate production slave-free and fair. Read their story here.
They also come up with new limited edition flavours every six months and this season’s specials are a series of white chocolate flavours. You can also get them online and in pretty much any food shop and coffee spot in Amsterdam. Even souvenir shops sell it. For the limited edition though you may want to go to de Bijenkorf at Dam square or I amsterdam Store at the Central station, just to be sure.
For the cheese connoisseurs out there, meet Oude Cono. If you like hard ripe cheese, like Old Amsterdam, but would like to contribute to a fair cheesemaking process supporting the local farmers, this is your cheese to go, you won’t regret it!
We buy ours from Bart Kaas at Albert Cuyp market (open Mon-Sat). And can we for one minute appreciate the fact that not only the market has its own website, but each little stall has a page!
You have two options here, depending on your beer-awareness: you can make your own set of local beers from any Albert Heijn (or any other) supermarket, alternatively you can get a set from Hema (luggage space permitting as it comes in a wooden box). I used to get Anton a few bottles of IPA when I was in Amsterdam, but I’m no expert here, so I got anything with a fancy crafty label that had IPA on it :-)
UPD: a friend who is expert in beer added this on Facebook: “Beer wise Amsterdam has one of the best bottle shops in the World, definitely can get a gift for any beer lover there. If you want to support the Dutch economy pick up a white label from Emelisse or something from De Molen”. Thank you, Gareth!
Anything from HEMA
Hema is a Dutch discount retail store, first opened in Amsterdam in 1926. It has everything from clothes to food and is famous for its iconic horseshoe-shaped sausage.
Some other typically Dutch things you can get there on a bargain:
- Liquorice (= ‘drop’ in Dutch)
- liquorice-shaped usb stick
- the sausage, of course, or things with an image of it
- if you happen to be around in Winter months, then get a chocolate letter (why?)
- anything with Jip en Janneke (here’s a link in case you don’t know who those are)
- a birthday calendar (see here what’s so special about it)
Even Stroopwafels are relatively cheaper in Hema than in supermarkets. I can’t vouch for the taste though, haven’t had that many stroopwafels in my life to be able to have a say.
I’ve seen these around and was surprised to find that they were designed by three TU Delft students. If you want a very practical yet statement umbrella (they start at a whopping EUR30 a piece!), go for Senz.
You can get them online, in de Bijenkorf, Nemo museum shop and a few other places (store locator).
I’m a firm believer that books make the best presents. There are many books about the Dutch culture, history, art and lifestyle. Heck, there’s a whole shop specialising in books about all things Dutch! Here are a few that caught my eye (I have #2, actually reading it as I’m writing this post).
There you have it, a list of both edible and more lasting souvenirs to buy in Amsterdam. Hope you found it useful.
And for more advanced shoppers out there who want to hunt for truly hidden gems in little designer stores, check out this site called Authentic Dutch Brands that features collections of all sorts of things made in the Netherlands.
Enjoy your shopping!