Dam square is the main town square. It is home to the Royal Palace, and can be easily reached by a ten minute walk from Central Station, straight down the Damrak. The main shopping streets, Nieuwendijk & Kalverstraat, are on each side of the Dam square and this is where you’ll find all the usual commercial brands that can be found in any big city.
Spui is a small square with a cozy atmosphere, plenty of cafe's, and a number of interesting bookstores such as the American Book Center and British bookstore Waterstones. To add to this literary vibe, there’s an outdoor book market on the square, every Friday morning. The Spui also provides (free) entry to the Begijnhof, a hidden Medieval courtyard which is worth a visit for its beautifully white, classic Dutch, architecture, and a peaceful little oasis in the middle of this hectic part of town.
More in this area - Leidseplein / Leidsestraat
Leidseplein, the centre of where it’s all happening. To many it is known as an ‘entertainment area’, with all its restaurants, bars, and cinemas, but to me it’s primarily where I discovered all the great bands and first fell in love with music. Make sure to check if there’s anything happening while you’re in town at either the Paradiso, a beautiful ex-church, or De Melkweg, which was once a milk factory and now a concert venue / gallery / theatre / cinema.
In the summertime, the square is transformed into one big outdoor seating area to sit and enjoy a drink while you watch the world go by. In the wintertime there’s an ice skating rink, a general ‘winter wonderland’ vibe, and stalls selling overpriced hot chocolate.
Leidsestraat used to be the go-to-street for shoe shopping and airline companies, but is now home to many different brands. Friendly warning - the tram drives straight through this street so watch out! For those of you looking to bring tulips home, Leidsestraat goes all the way down to Koningsplein, home to the flower market.
SpiegelstraatIf real antiques are what you are in to, check out the Spiegelstraat. This street, parallel to Leidsestraat and going all the way down to the Rijksmuseum, is known for its many antique stores and has lately been welcoming some fashion brands.
Read a summery of my favourite shops and locations and scroll down for more detailed info, links to blogposts, pictures and opening hours of the specific locations... I am still working on adding more detailed info, so check back for more soon.What to do and see in this area ...
At Damrak 49 you will find Restaurant Stock where they serve breakfast, sandwiches and soup all day. Hotel Exchange is part of the concept. A hotel with a special love of fashion. Students of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute dressed the rooms like models on the catwalk. The result: a hotel where architecture meets fashion. Fashion related Concept store Options didn’t made it and had to close it doors… a restaurant still part of the same concept will open soon and Options has continued as a small online store.
On Dam square you will find the largest store of all called Bijenkorf a famous and recently modernised store with everything you can think off. There is a floor filled with lamps and mostly contemporary design and kitchen tools. But also many clothing brands, books parfum and many many more things. On one of the other corners of Dam you will find H&M with on the third floor the only and tiny H&M Home store in the Netherlands.
Around the Dam square you will find the main shopping areas with all the brands you will probably also find in your own hometown. Main shopping streets are Nieuwendijk & Kalverstraat connected by Dam square.
New in this area is Dille&Kamille. Dille & Kamille offers all essential basics for your home, garden and kitchen. Just about everything they sell is functional and designed of natural materials.
At Spui square you will find 2 large bookstores The ABC (American book centre and Waterstones (UK Bookstore). Brand new is HAY where you will find almost all products of this well known Danish brand.
Just behind the Spui on Singel 391 you’ll find Zafra-Amsterdam a tiny beautiful restored store in a 16th century canal house. Filled with local designer items from all the big world cities.
Exchange and Stock Damrak 49
H&M Home Dam
HAY Nieuwezijds voorburgwal 326/close to Spui
Zafra Amsterdam Singel 391 Design, home accessories, and coffee-Tea corner /close to spui