I’ve always believed that one of the best ways to get to know a new city is to visit its markets especially its flea markets. In a flea market there’s a feeling of adventure and discovery in every stall you visit, and in every strange item on sale. And they all say something about the city they’re from.
Waterlooplein Flea Market, the biggest second-hard market in Amsterdam, is no different. This flea market began in 1893 as the largest Jewish market in Amsterdam. After the second World War, Waterlooplein market re-opened and became a cultural center for Amsterdam’s youth. Today, this is still a place where the young and trendy of Amsterdam do their trading, buying and selling. With 300 stands, there’s no end of items on sale.
Looking to get a feel for Amsterdam? Wander through Waterlooplein Flea Market and look at the old books, strange objects, antiques, and sometimes garbage-y junk for sale in the many stalls. Purchase an item of two of used vintage clothing or records. Feeling really daring? Stop by one of the black-curtained stalls and get a tattoo to commemorate your trip.
A couple of notes on visiting Waterlooplein market. A lot of tourists like to visit, and where there are plenty of tourists, there are those that intend to prey on them. In such a busy area, it’s important to keep a close eye on your belongings, and perhaps a hand over your wallet. Also, some of the stall-owners offer marijuana lollipops to customers (especially after haggling with them a bit) if the idea of this bothers you, you need not accept it.
Like most flea markets, the Waterlooplein market is a busy place, and a lot of what’s for sale is simply junk. You won’t find any valuable antiques here, or any other “amazing finds.” But also like most markets of its kind, there are always discoveries to be made, and one-of-a-kind items that you may feel like you have to have. And you’ll definitely learn a bit about Amsterdam and the people who live there.
Opening times: Monday-Friday 9am til 5.30pm, Saturdays 8.30am 5.30 pm
By foot: Approx 15 minutes from Dam Square, east. Located behind Red Light District, in direct proximity of Rembrandt House.
By Tram: 1, 2, 5, 13 from Magna Plaza or 14 from Central Station (stop: Stadhuis)
By car: You’ll reach Waterlooplein arriving from the IJtunnel or Wibautstraat, park in a big underground car park beneath the Town hall (het Stadhuis). Entry to the car park is clearly marked.
Parking Fees: Valkenburgerstraat 238; hourly rate: 3,40 (capacity 220). If Waterlooplein Parking is full, drive further across the bridge over Amstel and take the left and hopefully you might be fortunate to grab one of the canal streets parking spaces. Don’t forget to pay for your parking at the meter!