Between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat there is an area known as De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets), named after the nine side streets connecting the main canals. Together they constitute a charming neighbourhood full of unique shops, wonderful places to have lunch and a great atmosphere.
If you decide to shop in the 9 Straatjes, chances are you’ll end up with something really unusual. In the Huidenstraat, for example, Donna Fiera sells clothes for women who are not afraid of attracting attention; a shop full of feminine labels that you’ll have difficulty finding elsewhere. Next door is Goods, boasting a large collection of affordable women’s and men’s clothes with labels including Fornarina, G-sus and FCUK.
If you’re looking for trendy vintage, you’re bound to find something to your liking across the road at Zipper. Another good second-hand clothing shop is Laura Dols in the Wolvenstraat which specialises in 1950's styles.
Fashion fans will be delighted by what they’ll find at Van Ravenstein at the corner of the Keizersgracht and Huidenstraat. This shop sells mostly creations by Belgian designers such as Dries van Noten, Martin Margiela, Dirk Bikkembergs and Ann Demeulemeester. Cool but classical is the clothing of the Italian fashion designer Daniele Alessandrini in the Hartenstraat. For real Amsterdam design visit Fab.Store NL. Shoe freaks can head straight for trendsetter Antonia in Gasthuismolensteeg.
Gifts and gadgets
Are you after something to thrill folks back home or do you feel you’ve earned a little pampering yourself? In that case the 9 Straatjes is the place to be. For a start there’s the weird and wonderful De Witte Tandenwinkel in Runstraat, which sells absolutely everything in the field of mouth and dental care.
A bit further along is another shop selling products to make you (stay) beautiful: Skins Cosmetics Lounge. They stock exclusive, natural cosmetics from brands such as Aēsop, Philosophy and Ren.
Stylish lingerie, saucy undies and naughty toys are what you’ll find in abundance at Stout in the Berenstraat, an erotica shop specially for women.
All chocolate fans are welcome at the shop and tearoom of Pompadour in the Huidenstraat. In the same street, Beadies is a bead and jewellery shop where Barbie would feel very much at home: you’ll spot the sparkling Swarovski crystal and boudoir colours from afar. For culinary gifts of every colour imaginable, head for What’s Cooking? in the Reestraat. You'll find everything from kitschy plastic tablecloths to tasteful Spanish pottery.
Lunching and lounging
Van Harte in the Hartenstraat is a welcoming, lively sitting room with stylish flowery wallpaper and a large reading table that serves simple, affordable French-Mediterranean-style lunches and dinners. Lust in the Runstraat has a trendy design interior that is almost completely green. Simple dishes such as salads, hamburgers and fruit shakes make this an ideal place for lunch.
Goodies in the Huidenstraat is a small, informal sort of place – ideal for a sandwich at lunchtime or a quick bowl of pasta in the evening.
In the Wolvenstraat you'll find bar/restaurant Brix, serving highly artistic entrées in an appealing ambiance to a background of jazzy music. Opposite Brix is the nameless Wolvenstraat 23, a trendy bar where you can chill out with a drink or sample quite affordable Chinese snacks. If this place’s atmosphere appeals to you, spend the night in the only hotel room available at Wolvenstraat 23. A somewhat older crowd will feel very much at home at De Pels a little further along: a welcoming, intimate ‘brown café’ where you’ll find many intellectuals and creative types nipping their gin.
Find out more on the 9 straatjes (The 9 Streets) website.