A guide to ticking off your Christmas shopping list
Whether you’re a seasoned shopper who starts in October or a panic-on-Christmas-Eve kind of person, these Amsterdam shopping spots will help you find gifts to fill the stockings and impress the toughest critics on Christmas morning.
Bright lights, big selections
Department stores raise their game during the holiday season, and Amsterdam is no exception. Heritage store De Bijenkorf lights up Dam Square during the ‘Turn on the Lights’ event in late November. The store’s extravagant window displays and in-store installations are worth seeing for the festive atmosphere alone, but the store is also your go-to for Dutch and international designers, luxury cosmetics and stylish homeware. Hudson’s Bay has recently arrived in Amsterdam’s city centre intersecting the Rokin and Nes, which also offers a treasure trove of potential gifts (and gifts for you).
Windows that wow
Some of the biggest international fashion houses are as famous for their festive windows as they are for their designs. One of the best known being Louis Vuitton, which frequently calls upon the world’s best artists and architects to design spectacular storefronts. In Amsterdam, you’ll find these exclusive brands, including Prada, Dior, Gucci and Tiffany & Co on the prestigious P.C. Hooftstraat in Oud-Zuid.
Find gifts that won’t get re-gifted
If you have an aversion to crowds, queuing or you’ve heard ‘Frosty the snowman’ one too many times, head to the independent boutiques in Amsterdam’s Jordaan. The Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) are some of the most picturesque streets in the city (especially when they’re dusted with snow!), and are home to a great selection of gift shops, fashion boutiques, jewellers, art galleries and vintage stores. Treat discerning recipients to a piece of Dutch Design, recognised around the world for its innovative aesthetic. You’ll find iconic objets d’arts in various design stores throughout the city, or peruse the displays in Amsterdam’s growing number of concept stores. Alternatively, do as the locals do and move your gift-buying mission away from the city centre. You’ll find beautifully-curated collections of goods in the stores in Amsterdam’s outer neighbourhoods. Try Gerard Doustraat in De Pijp, the Overtoom in Oud-West or Javastraat in Oost.
Send a piece of Amsterdam overseas
The I amsterdam store is your first stop for artisanal design pieces that tell Amsterdam’s story. Whether they’ve spent time in the Dutch capital or not, your friends and family will be delighted with the Amsterdam-designed gifts displayed at this high-end gift store at Amsterdam Central Station. Top of our wish lists are Cre8 laser-cut jewellery, Stadsplank cutting boards made from city trees and Rijkswachter robots crafted from the crates used to protect priceless masterpieces during the Rijksmuseum’s renovation. These items (and many more) are within the size and weight restrictions required for postage.
The best gifts on the market
If you enjoy being fully immersed in the holiday spirit, Amsterdam’s Christmas markets are a chance to make a day of it. Take your time browsing for handcrafted gifts, art and decorations to the sound of carol singing, satisfied in the knowledge that you’re supporting local crafters and artists. The famous ICE*Village transforms Museumplein into an outdoor ice rink surrounded by market stalls and food carts – in Amsterdam, that means cones of fries, poffertjes, stroopwafels and oliebollen washed down with glühwein and rum-spiked hot chocolate. The Amsterdamse Winterparade is another highlight, bringing a Christmassy fair of epic proportions to RAI Amsterdam.
Stock your gift-wrapping artillery
Before heading home with your bike piled with presents, you’ll need wrapping paper and ribbons to get them ready for the big day. Department stores, De Bijenkorf, Hudson’s Bay and local favourite, HEMA, present ample selections of wrapping paper, gift tags and glittery accoutrements to make your gifts look impressive. Many boutiques also stock paper and festive stationery in the lead up to Christmas, such as Like Stationery, Sostrene Grene and Dille & Kamille.
Looking for more festive inspiration? See our I amsterdam Store gift guides and join in these holiday season events.