Shopping Survival Tips in the ‘Dam

by Rhonda Jimenez

You’ve just arrived in Amsterdam and you have no idea where to shop for what you need. If only they had a Target! Here are some basics to help you survive without that Target or Walmart down the road. Here are a few go-to’s and tips to help you find what you need — fast.

Groceries: You have probably already found Albert Heijn, but did you know that they deliver? It’s so much easier than balancing your bike with a full grocery load and then carrying it up two flights of stairs. Other grocery stores are Jumbo and Lidl. For organic, try Markt (like Whole Foods) or Ekoplaza. TIP: many items you can’t find are usually shelved in strange locations and or have unique packaging. Baking soda is sold in AH, but it’s shelved with the cleaning supplies or even in the refrigerated section. American peanut butter can be found in the small “American section” with root beer and ketchup, not with the Dutch nut butters. Ask for help if you need it. You will slowly find everything you need.

Home goods: Blokker has most items you would find in a Target: supplies for cleaning, kitchen, bathroom, and some home decor. Hema also has some home items as well.

Appliances: Media Markt has all things electronic from irons to video games, much like Best Buy back home.

Back to School Supplies: HEMA and Winter

Fashion: Trendy Nine Streets and busy Kalverstraat are always fun shopping destinations. But when it’s wet or cold, try the Amstelveen Mall. The two large department stores are Bijenkorf and Hudson's Bay. Did you know we now have a Saks Fifth Avenue “Off 5th” outlet? It’s located in Kalverstraat area and also in a huge outlet mall about 1.5 hours away called Batavia Outlets. The outlets will remind you of home, with many of the same outlets you know and love — from Nike to Michael Kors.

American Stuff: If you still can’t find what you need in the grocery chains, try Tijn’s in de Pijp or Eichholtz on Leidsestraat. Both international stores charge a big premium but offer things like canned pumpkin, Betty Crocker cake mix, Pop Tarts, Lucky Charms, and many other American treasures. Make a trip to one; it’s worthwhile!

Furniture: Ikea is a mainstay, but stop by Loods 5 and the outlet behind it — together, they take up a full block — for a huge selection of furniture. There is also a mall called Woonmall at the arena area — long waits, but good quality custom furniture. Online, try Leenbaker, Woonexpress, and Wehkamp.

Good luck on your next shopping adventure: you will survive! Remember, look carefully— they probably have it!