(Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands)
Amsterdam is without doubt one of the main centres for shopping in The Netherlands and the city's numerous districts provide a shopper's paradise. With most Amsterdammers speaking fluent English, visitors will find little difficulty in finding and making purchases. Whether you are looking for fashion, jewellery, antiques, or home accessories, rest assured that Amsterdam will provide you with a huge choice.
The most popular and famous streets for shopping are Leidsestraat, Kalverstraat, Nieuwedijk, Damrak and Rokin, which offer large department stores and upscale boutiques. Visitors can roam around the Jordaan if their preference is for second-hand shops and interesting character shops, as well as a rich diversity of quirky speciality shops and small craft studios.
As a rough guide to opening hours, most shops open seven days a week, however, many do not open Monday mornings. Hours are - Monday 13:00 to 18:00, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10:00 to 18:00, Thursday 10:00 to 21:00 and 12:00 to 18:00 on Sundays, but many shops have their own individual times. There are some shops that remain open into the night to sell essential items, and these are known as avondwinkels (night shops).
Those wishing to visit the finest department stores will find Bijenkorf and Magna Plaza in the Dam offer the highest range of quality goods of all kinds. The PC Hooftstraat also offers excellent shopping opportunities with many elegant boutiques and character shops. Amsterdam is the perfect venue to seek out antique shops and many of the most interesting shops can be found at the Spiegelstraat.
Amsterdam can justly be described as a jewel of a city and also a city of jewels and there are many diamond-cutting centres in the city and numerous firms involved in the diamond industry. Amsterdam's diamond-cutters enjoy a deserved reputation for the excellence of their craftsmanship and quality. Many of the city's diamond polishers give free demonstrations of diamond cutting and offer sales of set and un-set stones. The prices may not be cheaper than elsewhere but a diamond factory will give you an extensive description of the diamond(s) that you purchase.