The sweetheart of Amsterdam’s shopping scene

The bustling, chain-store smattered Kalverstraat may be the closest thing Amsterdam has to London’s Oxford Street, but those in the know head for the Nine Streets to slate their shopping needs. These nine cobbled side streets that connect the main canals between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat are awash with history and contain some of the most unique shops in the city.

Located just a stone’s throw from Dam square, the Nine Streets area was constructed in the first half of the 17th century, when the Heren-, Keizers- and Prinsengracht canals were dug out around the Medieval town centre to cope with Amsterdam’s burgeoning population. Today, some 400 years later, the lively neighbourhood is home to a variety of restaurants, cafés, galleries and over 200 retailers, including more than its share of independent shops.

The Nine Streets’ legacy of trade

A lot may have changed since the area was constructed, but many street names still bear witness to the artisans who were active here in past centuries. Indeed, Wolven-, Beren-, Huiden- and Reestraat (or ‘Wolves’, ‘Bears-’, ‘Hides-’ and ‘Roe Deer’ Street) are a remnant of the trade in animal hides for the leather industry, while Runstraat is named for the oak bark used for tanning. And you can still find plenty of leather in The Nine Streets today.

Boutique buys and vintage surprises

There’s cutting-edge couture aplenty throughout this neighbourhood, with many established labels and up and coming designers fluffing up the area’s fashion credentials. And from basic second-hand goods to vintage designer labels, The Nine Streets are a vintage lover’s paradise. Strolling around you’ll find everything from upscaled vintage accessories through to retro furniture and other assorted goods, with a multitude of musty shops offering that distinctive, crowded charm that seems to appeal to second-hand clothing shoppers.

For a complete list of shops and locations visit the official 9 Streets website.