Best record stores in Amsterdam
The resurgence of vinyl shows no sign of slowing down, and Amsterdam has a wealth of record stores that cater to both newbie and seasoned collectors. Whether you’re looking for some vintage Bowie, a rare gabber record, old-school hip-hop or the deepest house this side of Chicago, here is our round-up of the best spots for crate-digging in Amsterdam.
This record label needs no introduction, but you’ll get one anyway. Since its inception in 1997, Rush Hour has secured Amsterdam a pivotal position in electronic music circles, bringing names like Hunee, Young Marco and Interstellar Funk to international attention. The label is widely applauded for its dedication towards unearthing lost gems whilst pushing forward new talent - particularly from the Netherlands. Events and parties have always been central to the label’s reach, so keep an eye on their agenda - particularly during Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).
Genres: house, techno, electronic, disco, italo, funk, soul, reggae, jazz, new-wave, pop, rock
Bordello a Paragi
This cosy store in the centre of the Red Light District is the first physical manifestation of the Bordello a Paragi record label and online shop that has operated since 2011. Expect to find a robust collection of dance-floor-focused gems with all the spacey italoesque obscurities, electro-synth-cuts and more left-field music genres your ears could hope for.
Genres: house, techno, Balearic, disco, boogie, synth-pop, garage, ambient, electro
Red Light Records
The City of Amsterdam decided to close some of the windows in the Red Light District a couple of years ago, replacing them with things like record stores. Red Light Records sells a great assortment of new and second-hand vinyl, some of which is donated by regular customers. For many years they broadcast legendary radio shows daily under the neon glow of their shopfront window, and you can still listen to the entire archive online.
Genres: euro boogie, new age, Japanese synth-pop, Bollywood and other oddball treasures
This Aladdin's Cave of music is parked halfway down the Zeedijk in Nieuwmarkt, perfect for your rummaging needs. In their catalogue, you'll find all sorts of interesting records in eclectic genres, with plenty of second-hand bargains and collector's items. The friendly tips and great tunes playing in-store mean you're guaranteed to while away quite some time in this cosy little store.
Genres: funk, jazz, disco, rock, hip-hop, dance, latin
In the hip Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) shopping area, Waxwell Records is a go-to hotspot for DJs, collectors and general music enthusiasts. Their diverse collection stocks everything from old-school rap 12″s to rare jazz-funk and Dutch breaks. The team here have been longstanding hip-hop and soul specialists, but their jazz selection deserves special recognition. Be prepared to spend way more than you anticipated - not because the prices aren’t fair, but more since their music selection is so ear-grabbing and extensive.
Genres: soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, blues, disco, classic rock, reggae, pop
This tiny little store has managed to cram over 3000 records into its stock. KILLACUTZ is an Alladin’s Cave for electronic music in Amsterdam with a large selection of Chicago house, Detroit techno, deep house, UK tech house, garage and drum & bass records for sale. You’ll also find other classic genres represented as well as some nice represses.
Genres: electronic, house, techno, pop, rock, soul, funk, hip-hop, jazz and reggae
Welcome to second-hand vinyl heaven in the heart of the Haarlemmerbuurt shopping area. This shop is one of the city's oldest surviving independent record stores, selling records from Amsterdam singers: think folk heroes like André Hazes and Johnny Jordaan. You'll also find German pop, French classics and world music from Putumayo. Or, if your collection is complete, pick up a postcard featuring a movie star from the good old days to get brownie points with your grandmother.
Genres: pop, rock, soul, hip-hop, country, jazz, classic Dutch
The oldest record shop in Amsterdam, Concerto has been on the Utrechtsestraat since 1955. Well-known and beloved, this is a must for serious vinyl collectors. Concerto has become more than just a record shop; it's an institution in Amsterdam. As well as hunting for LPs, you can also hear regular performances by artists. And after you have found that limited-edition gem, you can relax with a coffee at the store's own café.
Genres: pop, jazz, classical, dance
Feel like soaking up some Caribbean atmosphere? Cycle to the Paleisstraat behind Dam Square to browse the record store decked out in gold foil. As well as Caribbean music, Zap Records also sell funk, South African house, heavy metal and much more. You can listen to everything to your heart’s content in the basement downstairs.
Genres: pop, soul, funk, hip-hop, rock, jazz, blues, reggae
‘Caffeine and crates’ is the tagline at Black Gold, where you can happily dig through the collection as you enjoy a cup of White Label coffee. It's also an ideal spot for listening to music - small concerts, DJ sessions and temporary exhibitions are organised here too.
Genres: funk, soul, afrobeat, 90s hip-hop, electronica
Record Friend Elpees
Record Friend on St. Antoniesbreestraat is not to be missed. The first thing you'll spot in the shop window is a spinning banana by Andy Warhol - it's the company logo and an album cover by The Velvet Underground. You can score lots of second-hand records here as well as some stunning new releases. They’ll even repair your vinyl player.
Genres: rock, pop, jazz, new-wave, punk, reggae, soul, indie, classical
This is one of the longest-running record shops in Amsterdam as owner Jan van Dorsten opened the doors in 1988. The shop can be found opposite the music venue Paradiso and has three floors packed with records. As well as second-hand vinyl, you can also get signed special editions. Fun fact: you can sometimes spot musicians playing at Paradiso here before their gig.
Genres: pop, rock, 60s, 70s, 80s, reggae, soul, new wave, punk
You can rummage around forever at Distortion in the Jordaan where owner Amond Spee has been dishing out music advice for over 25 years. You’ll have to squeeze, step and dive through the boxes to find what you are looking for, but that's all part of the experience. Amond sells new and used vinyl as well as collector’s items. Music genres vary widely, from 90s house to dubstep, drum n bass, punk and many indie artists like Björk and The Ramones.
Genres: alternative, punk, new wave, dubstep, house, electronic
A great record shop that has been going for over 25 years, 15 of which (if not more) have been on the bustling Ferdinand Bolstraat in De Pijp. The posters hanging on the walls and the orange furniture create a nostalgic retro atmosphere that will make you want to stay all day. Record Mania has so much stock they can't display it all at once, so ask the staff if you're looking for something special.
Genres: funk, soul, jazz, rock, 60’s, 12″, hip-hop, reggae, pop and classical
Mary Go Wild
Forever championing Amsterdam’s pivotal role in clubbing culture, Mary Go Wild falls somewhere between a record store, bookshop and cultural meeting place. You’ll find a brilliant range of new and second-hand vinyl for sale as well as magazines, books and some oppressively hip clothing. The store even launched its own book chronicling 25 years of dance music in the Netherlands - a must-read for all audiophiles.
Genres: electro, house, techno, disco, italo, ambient