Amsterdam is a whole new experience for you, no doubt. After the boat rides, museums, the gallivanting in this exciting Dutch city, and one of the several day trips from Amsterdam, it’s time to go home. All things must come to pass, but you can always take Amsterdam home with you by shopping for the best souvenirs in Amsterdam! I hope your luggage has extra space. Here is a guide to the best souvenirs from Netherlands.
1. Food-related souvenirs in Amsterdam
If you have not tried Stroopwafels while in Amsterdam, you should. And get an extra bag to take home. Stroopwafels are two thin, waffle-like cookies joined by a gooey caramel filling. This Dutch delicacy is Amsterdam’s best-known treat, especially if you have a serious sweet tooth. They’re not difficult to find, either. The most popular ones are sold at Van Wonderen.
Then there’s Hagelslag. This is buttered bread covered with chocolate sprinkles that are usually enjoyed for breakfast. They are also quite popular and readily available in any supermarket.
Another food souvenir that is uniquely Dutch is the Dutch apple pie.
Unlike the regular apple pie in the US, the Dutch variety is sweet, crumbly and crunchy, with a cake-like texture. You can get a slice or two at Winkel Café.
Also, the Dutch love to munch on their liquorice or “drop”, as they call it. There are many varieties of drops in every grocery store and candy shop you pass by in the city. Sweet, honey, salty, hard, chewy, minty – take your pick to bring home. Visit Het Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje for an interesting time buying licorice. This is an old-style candy shop with large glass jars filled with goodies lining the shelves. Take a drop to make someone happy back home.
Amsterdam’s Puccini Chocolate Bonbons are considered the best chocolates in the world. Local Amsterdam chocolatier Puccini Bomboni creates handmade bonbons in different flavours – lavender, pepper, plum, and others. Visit the store, if only to smell the deep cocoa scent permeating the air. Puccini Chocolate Bonbons are handmade and do not contain added preservatives. Buy a bag or box to take home; just keep in mind they expire after seven days.
The best food souvenir from Netherlands is gouda cheese. The Dutch love their gouda, which is popularly known as one of the oldest cheeses in the world still made today. Also known as Goudse kaas, this is yellow Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk and popular worldwide. While in Amsterdam, I’m sure you’ve noticed that everybody loves gouda cheese. Cheese featured high in our food tour in Amsterdam.
You can get a wheel of gouda from any local Amsterdam cheese shop with different variations. One of the most popular shops is Henri Willig in central Amsterdam. They usually also explain to shoppers how the cheese is made. Also, ask about their gouda combined with coconut, cumin, chili pepper and sparkling wine.
To get the best cheese in the city, go to Wyngaard’s shop in the centre of Amsterdam. Sample the cheese while there, and if you wish, you can get more in-depth with a tasting course led by an expert, pairing the cheeses with port, wine and liqueurs.
The Wijngaards is a Dutch family with a century of cheese making experience. They also sell charming slicers in the style of guillotines that are also perfect souvenirs.
The slicer is a wonderful souvenir from Amsterdam for a cheese connoisseur or anyone who enjoys their cheese.
It won’t be unusual for people back home to have gouda cheese in their pantry, but yours came from where this cheese actually originated – Netherlands.
Popular Dutch snacks
Before going home, buy some popular Dutch snacks to enjoy as you travel or bring them home as special gifts. Friends and family are always excited and intrigued to taste something from a foreign land that is not sold back home.
Amongst the most popular Dutch snacks which make for the best souvenirs from Amsterdam are Speculaas (traditional Dutch crumbly spiced cookies, baked to a traditional family recipe), Bolletjes (crisps with a hint of sweetness, good with fruit or sweet spread or cheese, butter or eggs, and coupled with breakfast coffee), and Honingkoek (traditional Dutch honey cake).
2. Bicycle-related souvenirs from Netherlands
The world knows that Amsterdam is one of the bike-friendliest cities in the world. Cycling would feature on everyone’s itinerary including going to Amsterdam with kids. The Dutch love their bikes, and to them, two-wheeling is a way of life.
It is just right that you bring home a souvenir from Amsterdam that has something to do with a bicycle.
A souvenir from Netherlands can be anything bike-related, but a really cute one is a decorated seat cover. It’s easy to find one, as cute, colourful and functional seat covers are sold almost everywhere in the city. Back home, your bike or your children’s will definitely look cool, different and with a touch of Dutch.
Some of the best-decorated bicycle seat covers are available at Kitsch Kitchen. They sell seat covers that are flowery and fun, and with matching bicycle panniers or handbags as well. There are also several Holland-themed covers – windmill and cow patterns – in Delftware. You could also visit BikeCap, Kinderfeestwinkel or Het Zwarte Fietsenplan to see more designs.
3. Culture-related souvenirs from Netherlands
Other than the windmills and tulips, Holland is best known for its wooden shoes, or ‘klompen’ as the Dutch call them. People may not believe you when you say you’ve spent your holiday in Amsterdam without actual wooden clogs as souvenir from Amsterdam to prove it!
Bring home some custom clogs for your friends and family from De Klompenboer, which sells them in every shape and size, and a variety of colours and patterns. You can find this shop in a former metro station. If you come on a Tuesday or Thursday, you can watch a demonstration of clog painting.
De Klompenboer can have your clogs custom-designed with your name painted on the shoes.
The clogs are not practical or comfortable to wear. You don’t have to wear them back home anyway, but just to show off to your friends something unique and special, and that screams “Holland”. A pair could cost around 10-25 euros.
If you’ve visited a friend’s home in Amsterdam, for sure you’ve seen a verjaardagskalender or birthday calendar hanging by the toilet, yes, the toilet. The verjaardagskalender is actually usable year after year since it only shows the month and date, but no weekdays or years. They also come in all sorts of themes that humorously depict regional costumes from different towns or areas in the Netherlands.
Shopping for these souvenirs in Amsterdam is easy. You can buy these calendars in almost every tourist shop near Rokin or Dam Square. It is a charming gift that could encourage conversation.
Oh, don’t forget to tell the recipient of this souvenir from Netherlands not to write their own birthdate into the calendar, as this is considered quite rude to the Dutch.
People outside Netheralands may not recognise Nijntje, but the Dutch love this cartoon rabbit. Nijntje, also popularly known as Miffy”, originated from 1950s children’s books by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. Bruna has written more than 100 books, which have now been translated into 40 different languages.
Bring home this cuddly bunny as a cute souvenir from Netherlands and tell your kids some cute stories. The name “Nijntje” came from a child’s mispronunciation of the Dutch “konijntje” or “bunny rabbit”. Some people think Nijntje is the European relative of Hello Kitty. You can find everything related to Nijntje in De Winkel Van on Scheldestraat 61, Amsterdam.
4. Shopping for home-related souvenirs in Amsterdam
Blond Amsterdam breakfast set
Why is this breakfast set an iconic Dutch souvenir? Blond Amsterdam is a popular home decor line created by blonde girlfriends Femque and Janneke. People and households loved them instantly for their cute colourful hand-painted pottery, fabrics, and stationary. The breakfast set, in particular, makes a great girly gift for your sisters, mum or grandma. The set includes two plates, two bowls, two large mugs, and two small cups, packaged in a cute dotted gift box and sold in several patterns.
The fun blue pattern “Delfts Blond” ceramics based on traditional Dutch Delftware are unmistakably Dutch. You can find them in their flagship shop and also in other department stores and boutiques around Amsterdam. The set costs around 20 euros.
Pip Studio bathrobe
Pip Studio is a local Amsterdam home decor line that is gaining worldwide popularity. It would be lovely to bring home a souvenir from this line, particularly their luxurious bathrobes.
Pip’s warm hooded bathrobes are made of 100% cotton velour in a variety of floral prints. Pip produces other lovely and colourful items, such as bedding, bath towels, tableware, stationery, and bags. You can find Pip products exclusively at De Bijenkorf, an upscale department store in Dam Square.
Why is a wallet an interesting souvenir in Amsterdam? Well, they are made by a famous local label, Mesimu, founded by Dutch couple Indy and Erik in 2004. They make unique and colourful handmade wallets, t-shirts, bags, and handbags, sold at the crafts market in Amsterdam. They also have a shop called Mono on the city’s famous Haarlemmerstraat.
Mesimu wallets are quite unique and unlike most wallets you’d buy elsewhere in the world. They have one front zipper pocket and a zip close, making them very secure. There is another zipper pocket and five card slots inside. The handmade wallets sell for 15-19 euros at Toon on Podium Winkel: Jan Evertsenstraat 4-6-8.
Ceramic figurines of a kissing couple and a windmill is the quintessential souvenir from Netherlands.
Place them on your table or as an accent to your home, and people will easily know you’ve just been to the Netherlands.
5. Beer & Tea related souvenirs in Amsterdam
The Netherlands brews a number of local beers, including the world-famous Heineken. Make sure you’ve visited Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam to learn about the history behind this famous brand and also grab some free bottles. There are more than 50 breweries in the Netherlands, serving up all kinds of delightful beers.
Three popular local beer brewers are Brouwerij ‘t IJ, whose brewery is located next to a windmill, Brouwerij de Prael and Jopen. If you visit them, you could taste their products for free and purchase bottles to take home. You’d be the talk amongst your friends back home as they can’t find these brands outside of the Netherlands.
Also, visit Cracked Kettle, a charming one-stop-shop beer and wine shop located in a 400-year old monument building. They have over 1,200 beers and unique gifts that would make for an interesting souvenir from Amsterdam.
If beer is not your preferred drink, then maybe tea? If so, get some souvenir blends at Tea Bar, a charming shop on Haarlemmerdijk, which is a wonderful shopping street close to Amsterdam’s Centraal Station. Tea Bar offers many tasty tea blends and allows you to mix and create your own. They also sell a variety of tea accessories and tasty snacks.
The most popular tea blends to take home are Oudhollandse appeltaart (Dutch apple pie), Choco Chanel (nutty chocolate), and Mangolicious. Tea here costs 3-5 euros for 100g.
6. Shopping for a souvenir in Amsterdam not for everyone
Finally, this one is not for everybody – cannabis. Amsterdam is known for many things, including weed that you can easily buy at any “coffee shop” in the city. Customs from many countries do not allow cannabis in any shape or form to enter through the gates. Normally, flights landing from Amsterdam are far more likely to be subjected to bag searches, specifically for weed. So make sure you’re coming home to a country where this is allowed.
Also, in several Amsterdam flower markets, you can easily and legally buy a “starter kit” to grow your own cannabis in your backyard.
Amsterdam is not only one of the most visited cities in Europe, but it is also a great souvenir shopping destination. Don’t leave the city without an exciting souvenir with you.
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This is a guest post. Ask The Dutch Guy is your go-to guide when it comes to The Netherlands. The goal of Ask The Dutch Guy is to showcase the beauty of The Netherlands and to inspire others to explore the country.
Do you shop for souvenirs on your trips? Any particular souvenir that you loved bringing home? Share in the comments below.
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