Are you planning to visit Amsterdam and want to make sure to bring home something nice to remember your travels or pick something up for a loved one? Great! I’m here to make sure you find the best Amsterdam souvenirs and don’t pick crap. Unless you want crap. There’s plenty of that, too.
Even better, I’ll share the best spots and shops to find souvenirs in Amsterdam that you’ll actually be happy to show off in your home (or to eat later).
These days people are very particular about souvenirs because luggage restrictions have (seemingly overnight) made it so you can barely have any luggage on a flight unless you pay a ton of money. You don’t want to do that unless you really fall in love with something.
The items I’m going to list here are the items I have bought as gifts for others, for myself, or just think are seriously awesome. If you know of some others, please let them in the comments!
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Best food and drink souvenirs from Amsterdam
While fresh stroopwafels are a must-try food in Amsterdam while they are hot, it’s perfectly acceptable and suggested to take a packet of pre-made and packaged ones home with you to share. You can find these at some of the stroopwafel stands at the markets in Amsterdam, but if you forget to grab them there, you’ll find them at the grocery store and the airport.
Quick tip, lay the stroopwafel on top of a hot mug of coffee or tea. The heat helps the syrup inside get to the right consistency to be the best it can be. And it makes an excellent addition to coffee or tea!
There are so many different spirits to try in the Netherlands that I don’t dare list them all here. But I’ll tell you that my choice would be to take home a bottle of V2C gin. It’s my favorite…and it’s in my cabinet right now.
Whether you want gin, vodka, or the typical Dutch jenever (a gin-like drink), there’s a local one for you to discover. Just ask at the liquor store! While you’re at it, check out the House of Bols for a jenever and cocktail experience. Everyone loves it!
Local wine and beer
There are a ton of local beer breweries, and surprisingly, some local winemakers in Amsterdam as well! You’ll find Chateau Amsterdam in the north part of the city and can head there for a wine flight to find your favorite bottle. Head to Brouwerij t’IJ, Oedipus Brewery, or the Heineken Experience for some local beer experiences. We have so many beer bars, that you’re bound to find something that suits you.
Local beers are in the grocery stores, but local wines, you’ll likely have to go to the source!
Take a beer tour in Amsterdam
Tony’s Chocolonely is a local chocolate company that aims to make the first 100% slave-free chocolate. Gotta love that mission. They have two stores in Amsterdam, the Home Store in Westergasfabriek, (Pazzanistraat 1, 1014 DB Amsterdam) and the Tony’s Super Store in the center of the city and a quick walk from Centraal Station (Oudebrugsteeg 15, 1012 JN Amsterdam). At the Super Store, you can design your very own chocolate bar!
Tony’s has a ton of fun flavors, including seasonal ones. Wanna know how fun they get? One of their bars has pop-rocks in it. Yes, really.
The guys at Chocolate Makers buy beans directly from farmers in the Dominican Republic at a fair price and transport the beans to Amsterdam. They love making chocolate so much but also they don’t want to do it at the expense of the planet. Local solutions are best for them (and for the planet!) and they are always looking to work as close to zero-waste as possible. The cocoa shells even go to another company to make cocoa tea. Pretty clever!
Proceeds are always going where they are needed most. I love that they are passionate about creating good chocolate while making the planet a little better.
Everybody knows Gouda cheese! Did you know there’s a town named Gouda in the Netherlands? It’s where they traded the cheese and that’s how it got its name. It’s a mild cheese, yellow in color, made from cows’ milk. My suggestion is to buy the aged version (Oud Gouda). The flavors and texture are phenomenal.
You can witness a cheese market in a few towns nearby, in fact we suggest taking a day trip to Woerden where you’ll have much fewer tourists and more local and authentic experiences. They even have a cheese museum that’s pretty interesting. You should definitely do a cheese tasting while there!
This variety is also popular and most recognizable from its small ball-like shape with light yellow or red wax coating. It’s a semi-hard cheese also named after a town in the Netherlands. You can let this cheese age and it will get firmer with time. That’s what made it the most popular cheese for 400 years–it lasted a long time while on the ships.
I can’t be the only one thinking about what 400-year of cheese would be like…am I?
Best products to take home as a souvenir of Amsterdam
Small white canal house
This is one of my favorite canal house items. It’s a &K ceramic canal house and it’s so beautiful! It was given to me as a gift and now I buy it for others as a gift. It’s classic and even doubles as a tea light holder which gives the most calming glow. You can find these at various shops, but they also have their own store.
On Sundays from March-October, you’ll find a varied art market on Rembrandtplein in the center of Amsterdam. It’s where we bought the paintings of Amsterdam that used to hang in our home in the US before we decided to move here. There are so many types of art on various mediums to choose from. You may also find artists around town, but it’s more likely to see them at markets.
Official tulip bulbs
There are reports that have shown that only 1% of the bulbs you buy from Amsterdam actually bloom. But my grandmother’s did! So, you can take your chances. For Americans heading back to the United States, you can only take 12 certified bulbs. You can find these at the famous floating flower market or at the airport. I suggest picking them up at the airport to make sure you have the right ones.
Amsterdam is one of the most innovative cities and people love turning items that aren’t used anymore into other items. Most recently, I’ve discovered belts made from old bike tires. We certainly have enough bikes to make thousands of belts! You’ll see this practice of upcycling in a bunch of shops, some of which I’ll list for you below. It’s just another way to reduce waste and that’s a common thing you’ll see in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam used to be one of the most famous places for cutting diamonds! Did you know that? Well, we still have plenty of diamond shops and factories, so we’re still on the diamond map. If you want to find a tour, check here. It’s always pretty interesting and always very sparkly! Get out that credit card!
I’m obsessed with the local brand RiverStones because they make dainty jewelry that I love. I wear my single Amsterdam canal house necklace whenever I leave the house. You can find local jewelry at some markets I’ll mention below, and at the Iamsterdam store in Centraal Station (where I bought mine).
Where to shop for the best Amsterdam souvenirs
The Makers Store Amsterdam in de Hallen
This shop is everything. Basically, this is a shop filled with items from local artisans, many of which are eco-friendly and all are incredible. This place is so “Amsterdam”. As I mentioned, innovation is so important here and this shop is doing a great job of helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach their audience.
Lil’ Amsterdam passageway in Centraal Station
There are many hallways in Amsterdam Centraal Station, but one has been dedicated as Lil’ Amsterdam and showcases Amsterdam in its different forms. You’ll find revolving local pop-ups here that are worth checking out. Something might just tickle your fancy!
Iamsterdam store in Centraal Station
This has got to be the best tourist information shop. It has local items from local artisans (like The Makers Store), but you’ll find a bit of a different variety. The local chocolate can also be found here, so be sure to pick some up! But if you want some Van Gogh-inspired items, and forgot to get something at the museum, this is the perfect spot.
The Eye Museum
On the Amsterdam Noord-side of town, you’ll find The Eye Museum. It’s the funny-looking building you see across the water from Centraal Station. Aside from being a cool museum that’s on your I amsterdam card, they have an epic gift shop! It’s filled with creative souvenirs that you’ve never seen before. I’d say it’s worth a trip just for the gift shop!
Markets on the weekend
My favorite way to shop–directly from the source. Head to a weekend market like the Sunday Market, Pure Markt, Museum Market, and the Local Goods Market. Whether or not you are looking to shop, you should visit these markets. They are some of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. They usually have food trucks available, too. Sometimes there’s music and always really interesting things to look at and people to talk to.
Just west of Centraal Station is my favorite shopping street in Amsterdam. People always talk about “The Nine Streets” and while they are cute and worth a visit, as a local I would shop and stroll down this street. Find local shops, restaurants, and bars here as well. It’s super lively and fun to browse and buy from. You never know what you’ll find here!
My best advice to finding the best souvenirs of Amsterdam
If you are a loyal reader, you’ll know that I love my adopted home city of Amsterdam. I want everyone to love it and appreciate it for what it really is, just like I do! That means, encouraging you to get outside of the center for a while and seeing what the rest of the city is really like. That means, finding what means something to you.
Do you love t-shirts? Buy a T-shirt! Are you a magnet collector? Get the best magnet you can find! Do you need to buy those clog slippers? Totally do it and rock them!
This post is for those looking for the best out-of-the-box non-traditional souvenirs. If that’s not you, that’s cool. Pass it along to someone who might be interested and most of all, ENJOY AMSTERDAM (responsibly and respectfully — people live here)!
Wishing you joy and travels!