Wondering what to buy in Amsterdam? From the quirky and fun to more traditional choices, here are the best Amsterdam souvenirs for you and Amsterdam gifts to take back to friends and family.
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Top 10 Things to Do in Amsterdam
It’s the capital of the Netherlands, but it’s much more than just that – Amsterdam is a beautiful city with a charming network of canals, remarkably unique coffee shops, and rich cultural history.
There’s little you won’t like about the city often referred to as “Venice of the North.” And I think shopping is going to be one of your favorite Amsterdam activities! However, it’s hardly the only thing to do in Amsterdam. Here are some of my favorites.
Pro Tip: The Iamsterdam City Card, which will entitle you to several deals, free passes, and other amenities, is a great bargain. You can order it online before your trip so you don’t miss a second of your precious Amsterdam time once you’re here.
At day, you can visualize how bridges and canalside buildings have stood the test of time, while at night, the magical lights are simply dazzling. Enjoy the sounds of rippling water and gentle winds and feel yourself completely unwind. You are on vacation, after all!
Anne Frank House
One of my most poignant and emotional experiences in Amsterdam was my tour of the Ann Frank House.
This tiny house in Prinsengracht is where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II, and it’s where she composed the diary that would capture the memories of those testing times. The front of the house is a museum while the annex is set up as it was when she was there.
Her diary’s fragments, photographs, film images, and historical objects illustrate how life was like for her and her family while in hiding.
Bring tissues, because no one leaves without crying.
A Trip to the Tulip Fields
Your journey to Amsterdam is incomplete without paying a visit to the area’s sprawling tulip fields. If you visit in spring (especially April and May), you will most likely have better luck because that’s when tulips are in full bloom.
Drive to Keukenhof Gardens, which is 40 kilometers from Amsterdam or stroll through the streets of Amsterdam to find vibrant collections of these mesmerizing flowers, especially during the Tulip festival in April.
Van Gogh Museum
Vincent Van Gogh is amongst the most renowned figures in the history of Western Art, and this museum in Museumplein reflects all of the significant work of this impressionist painter.
Containing about 200 paintings and 500 drawings, this museum is home to cutting-edge art research facilities, art workshops and music performances by local musicians. It was one of the major highlights of my first trip to Amsterdam.
Other Amsterdam Sites You Need to See
Make sure to set aside time in your itinerary for a visit to these other top Amsterdam sites:
- Amsterdam North
- Amsterdam Dungeon
- The Red Light District
- The Eye
The Best Amsterdam Souvenirs & Gifts
Of course, in between all of your sightseeing, you’re going to want to do a bit of shopping! Whether you’re looking for the perfect Amsterdam gift for family or a souvenir for yourself, here are my top picks.
It’s true – Amsterdam might have invented the Instagram Spot. This catchy word statue has become one of the city’s most iconic spots and a must-have Amsterdam Instagram photo for travelers.
The local authorities have turned this into a game by taking ‘Iamsterdam’ on tour all around the city, even hiding it in some not-so-obvious places. This has transformed a getting a typical Instagram photo into a fun and exciting challenge.
However, there is a complete set at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, so make sure to take that trademark selfie right after you land. Get it framed at home and, voila, you have the perfect Amsterdam souvenir!
One of the two touring sets is at Oostport in Amsterdam-Oost and will stay there till the 25th of November, 2019, while the second one is by Sloterplas Lake.
Local Beer from the Super Three
While Heineken is synonymous with Dutch beer, it’s not the best beer in the city. There are other, more delectable beers to be had in Amsterdam.
The first brewery you should visit one is Brouwerij’t IJ, which is located right next to a large windmill and is accompanied by an ample outdoor drinking space. Have as many as you can over there while getting one pack to take back to your family at home as a gift from Amsterdam.
The second brewery is Gerbouwen Door Vrouwen, which is located in Nieuwe Hemweg and has the beer brewed by two sisters.
The third is Brouwerij de Prael situated close to the central train station.
Whether you take back some beer as a gift or souvenir, or you simply take home your empty bottle as an Amsterdam memento, you’ll enjoy the “research” process to determine which is your favorite!
With an inspiring history, Gouda has many flavors to savor. Typically served in the form of precisely cut slices, I bet you can’t eat just one (or five). You’ll find great local gouda to bring home with you in Amsterdam’s amazing cheese shops.
To determine the right one for you, you can always taste the cheese in the tasting area with wine or other beverages. Have a slice of your favorite size packed for loved ones back home, and, I assure you, they’ll practically forgive you for not taking them with you!
An Ajax Jersey
Ajax is amongst the top Netherlands football teams and has won the European Cup four times, which makes it the most successful club in the country. You can find their memorabilia is located at different stores throughout the city.
While there are many kinds of Ajax souvenirs you can pick from, I’m partial to the jersey. While it might be a tad more expensive, you can wear it when you work out, play sports, or even sleep in it as a wonderful memento from Amsterdam!
A Token from the Condomerie
This specialty condom center claims to be the first specialized condom shop, dating back to when it was first established in the 1980s. Located in the Red Light District, this unique store indulges serious customization in condoms. Like…almost too many…
From different sizes to colors, shapes, and texture, they have it all. Being safe is one thing, making it enjoyable and memorable is another, and the…er…unique…products here achieve just that. Get the one that attracts you the most and, while it wouldn’t be a reusable souvenir, it would surely make the intimate moment you have with them memorable.
Just as one associates Amsterdam with canals, it’s hard to think about the city without thinking about tulips. Characterized by long leaves and cup-shaped flowers, the tulip fields stretch for miles in springtime. In full bloom, they are simply stunning!
While you can be fine with just snapping a picture, you can also go a step further and bring some home with you!
You can purchase tulip bulbs and grow them at home or give them as a gift to friends and family. It can be a great gift choice for people who are obsessed with gardening and flowers.
Get these from Bloemenmarket or any of the flower stalls you’ll find throughout the city. Just be cautious and choose large, firm ones!
Let’s get on with some solid food as souvenir now! This trademark Dutch eatable is made by pressing together two thin waffles between a sweet layer of caramel syrup. Some even mix sugar syrup in the waffle dough to make it even sweeter.
It is a tantalizing (and diabetic-coma inducing) breakfast with a morning cup of tea or coffee and is available in a large assortment of flavors all around Amsterdam.
If you want to bring some home with you, make sure you pack them safely in your travel bag to protect them!
My mother loves black licorice. So while I’m more fond of red, this is exactly the perfect gift from Amsterdam for the licorice-lovers in your life.
Referred to as ‘drop’ in the Netherlands, it is consumed at a rate of 4 pounds per person per year here, which makes it the most loved candy by the Dutch people. If you are taking cheese and beer along with you back home, don’t forget to bring some licorice home with you, too!
The most famous (and Insta-worthy) place to pick yours up is the shop called Het Oud-Hollandsh Snoepwinkeltje. Try saying that five times fast!
This historic candy shop contains glass jar lined deftly on the shelves like bottles of potions in the apothecary store of a Harry Potter movie. Yes, please!
My favorite place for Dutch bonbons in Amsterdam is Puccini Bomboni. Sabine Van Weldam, the master chocolatier of the shop, believes in making bonbons with emotions rather than simply with her hands. Her precise proportions, delicate embellishments, and augmented decorations have made it into a world-famous Dutch brand.
Bonbons are buns coated with chocolate and garnished with nuts and walnuts. These confections may just be the perfect romantic Amsterdam gift for your partner (or soon-to-be partner). You can get boxes with special gift wrap, a sentimental card, and a variety of flavors.
Even if you refuse to partake, you still need to come and just smell how delicious the cocoa scent is in the air! Of course, you should totally indulge and choose from the dozens of bonbons varieties decorated elegantly on the store tables. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried at least five of them!
You simply can’t miss the gorgeous canals of Amsterdam. Even if you forgo a canal cruise, you’ll be walking around them everywhere! And most likely…getting lost.
There are a total of 165 canals in the city which separates it into 90 different islands and were constructed way back in the 16th century.
A great way to memorialize your trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is to bring home a beautiful canal map to hang up back at home! You can find all kinds, from cool modern ones to ones that have a vintage look and feel.
Yet another traditional product of Amsterdam that would make a great souvenir, Clogs are shoes that are partially or completely made out of wood. De Klompenboer is a shop in the city that sells customized clogs in alluring shapes, colors, and patterns.
While there are many other local shops selling clogs, De Klompenboer allows you the choose a name or special design to be printed on the shoe, made to order!
While not very comfortable to wear, these can be used as beautiful decor for your house or an exciting gift for your friends and family.
Bedding or bathrobe from Pip Studio
The name might make you think it’s a photography studio, but Pip Studio is a gorgeous home décor store that sells bedding items, bathrobes, towels, and tableware. You might be hearing this brand for the first time, but Europeans simply adore it!
If you want to bring something home that lush and cozy, come here to pick up a bathrobe, floral sheets, or even an elegant tablecloth.
Traditional Kitschy Souvenirs from the Iamsterdam Store
If you prefer your souvenirs kitschy (think collectible spoons, refrigerator magnets, etc.) then you need to plan a visit to the Iamsterdam Store, which is home to hundreds of local brands and stocked to the brim with Amsterdam memorabilia.
Whether it is a Christmas gift, a pendant, frames, chocolates, toys, or shawls, there is little you won’t find here. This store is the most convenient place to fetch souvenirs if you are on a short tour or have little time left before your flight.
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Amsterdam
The Lonely Planet Amsterdam guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a Dutch sim card while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road.
Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for Amsterdam because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
More Amsterdam Travel Resources
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for Amsterdam make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in cities like Amsterdam where tourists can easily become the targets of pickpockets.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.
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