Flea Markets in Amsterdam

If you’ve added Amsterdam to your “must-do-flea-markets” list, or if you’re a local looking for a more “affordable” (I won’t say “cheap”…) way to furnish your home, then you’ll be happy to know that Amsterdam, in addition to having some of the most interesting vintage & design shops we’ve seen in Europe and the US (there are so many of them everywhere – don’t miss our review “Vintage, Design and Flea Markets: A 3-day shopping tour of Amsterdam”), there is at least one great flea market worth a trip.

Those of you who are familiar with Amsterdam already know that the most famous (but not the best) flea market is on the Waterlooplein, six days a week. And you will also know that the variety of stalls is almost beyond description: there is literally everything from spray paint and bicycle parts to vintage clothes and pillowcases. So be warned: unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find the hidden gem we’re all looking for.

In fact, if you consider yourself a serious treasure hunter, you should definitely head to the IJ-Hallen in Noord, as this monthly event is the BIGGEST flea market in the Netherlands. And one of the biggest in Europe.

So enough with the introduction, let’s get down to business: Amsterdam flea markets.

Note: if you have already read our review “Vintage, Design and Flea Markets: A 3-day shopping tour in Amsterdam”, you will not get much additional information from this article; we thought it would be convenient to keep in one article all the reviews we have already published over time about Amsterdam’s flea markets.

IJ-Hallen Flea Market (the best flea market in Amsterdam)

T.T. Neveritaweg 15, 1033 WB Amsterdam-Noord – Every first Saturday and Sunday of the month, from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. 

If you love to spend hours hunting for second-hand items and don’t mind crowds, then the IJ-Hallen, Europe’s largest flea market, should be on your list. The IJ-Hallen flea market takes its name from the huge halls it occupies, which were once part of the NDSM shipyard. And this monthly flea market (which was unfortunately closed the weekend we were in Amsterdam) seems to go on forever, much to the delight of die-hard second-hand shoppers who come from all over Europe to hunt for treasures.

The IJ-hallen can accommodate up to 750 stalls and is usually filled to capacity, and no commercial vendors are allowed, only private ones. The market is usually held on the first weekend of each month (but check the website for exact opening dates and times).

(c) Hans Dinkelberg
(c) Hans Dinkelberg

The IJ-Hallen and its flea market are located on the opposite side of the IJ River from Amsterdam Central Station. But getting there is literally a piece of cake: just hop on one of the free, frequent ferries that shuttle visitors back and forth across the river. The trip takes just 15 minutes, and the views of the IJ and the architecture along its banks are well worth the trip. And there’s plenty more to explore in Amsterdam North, even after you’ve exhausted your shopping capacity. If you had to choose one place in Amsterdam to focus your attention, this flea market is a winner.

  • Type: Flea Market
  • Quality: * * * *
  • Price: $$$
  • Web: ij-hallen.nl
  • (Admission Fee: € 4.50 for adults; € 2 for children 11 and under)

Vrijmarkt Amsterdam flea market, Amsterdam (once a year)

Amsterdam – 27th April

The vrijmarkt is a nationwide flea market with 3,000 exhibitors. Koningsdag (known as Koninginnedag from 1890 to 2013) is the one day a year when the Dutch government allows street sales without a permit and without paying VAT. ING Bank found in 2011 that one in five Dutch people planned to sell at the Vrijmarkt flea market and estimated that they would earn €100 per person, with a total turnover of €290 million. More than half of the Dutch buy at the Vrijmarkt flea market; ING Bank predicted that they would spend €28 per person at the 2011 Vrijmarkt. The Queen has been known to shop at the Vrijmarkt; in 1995 she bought a floor lamp.

Vrijmarkt Amsterdam - Bas1953

The bank also predicted that the province of Limburg, where the Queen will be visiting, would have the lowest turnover at the Vrijmarkt flea market in 2011. One of the most popular areas for the Vrijmarkt flea market in Amsterdam is the Jordaan district, but the wide Apollolaan in front of the Hilton Hotel in the south of Amsterdam is becoming increasingly popular. In the Vondelpark, also in the south of Amsterdam, children sell their discarded toys or clothes, and in the spirit of fun, passers-by often offer the young sellers more than they are asking for the goods.

Until 1996, the Vrijmarkt flea market started the evening before and lasted for 24 hours. This was discontinued in the hope of creating a break in the festivities to prepare for the day’s activities. Utrecht is unique among Dutch municipalities in retaining the overnight Vrijmarkt.

Waterlooplein Flea Market (if you want to try your luck=

Waterlooplein 2, Amsterdam – Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (Sunday Closed)

As I usually say, “if the city has a flea market, go there first”. But in the case of Amsterdam, the Waterlooplein flea market can wait. There are many more interesting venues and shops to visit in the city, and if you happen to be in Amsterdam on a weekend when the IJ-Hallen are open, don’t trade even 20 minutes of your time there for the Waterlooplein flea market. You might be disappointed, especially if you are used to the flea markets in Paris (Vanves and Clignancourt), Rome, Berlin or London.

In short, the Waterlooplein flea market is simply a big open-air bazaar with 300 stalls, the best place for second-hand clothes and general bric-a-brac. That’s about it.

Waterlooplein flea market amsterdam

This flea market is traditionally the oldest market in Amsterdam (founded in 1880), but paradoxically it has become associated with youth culture in the last decade. This explains why you can find trendy T-shirts, old military uniforms, Che Guevara posters, cheap spray cans for graffiti, objects from underdeveloped African and Asian countries, old books, videos and DVDs, electronics, curiosities and, of course, a lot of rubbish.

Visitors with a bit of know-how will quickly notice that antique dealers represent only 25% of all sellers. And most of them only have some kind of bric-a-brac or fake antiques (the typical engraved sperm whale teeth, sailing objects in “copper”, retro prints, etc).

If you are not in the mood for digging your hands into dirty boxes, haggling over crappy stuff or are in a bit of a hurry, just avoid the Waterlooplein flea market and focus your time and energy on the other venues we have listed in our review “Vintage, Design and Flea Markets: A 3 days shopping tour in Amsterdam”.


Amsterdam is a great vintage/design city to visit, with at least one very nice flea market (IJ-Hallen). And if you are planning to visit this part of Europe, a trip to Amsterdam fits perfectly into a larger tour including London, Paris and Brussels. All four of these capitals are quite close to each other, have great flea markets and antique shops, and are easily connected by train within an hour and a half (1h30): London-Paris (Eurostar), Paris-Brussels (Thalys), Brussels-Amsterdam (SNCB).

Quick Facts & Travel Information about Amsterdam

With its characteristic canals (UNESCO World Heritage) surrounded by narrow, low and crooked 17th-century houses, Amsterdam is, without a doubt, one of the most charming capital cities in Europe. With a rich cultural life and a wide range of entertainment, Amsterdam is a full-scale city which has managed to retain its small-town feel. Amsterdam is also a real treat for art-lovers. Amsterdam is home to over 50 museums, many of them famous across the globe. Highlights include the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. For the visitors who have already seen the beautiful canals pioneered the Jordaan and got the hang of our never-ending nightlife..there is plenty more to experience and explore. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area offers a great variety of surprising and unusual attractions and landscapes.

Source: arrivalguides.com (this guide was updated: 2015-02-04)

Do & See
Amsterdam’s fantastic architecture is best seen from a sightseeing boat on the canals. But Amsterdam is also a great city to explore by bike or foot. Sign up for a group tour or excursion or feel like a local and discover Amsterdam on your own. Whatever suits you best, the I amsterdam City Card is an outstanding way to explore everything the city has to offer! Sign up for a tour or excursion to discover a side of Amsterdam you might never see on your own. For example, a canal cruise is an absolute must for every first-time visitor. Or travel outside the city and experience the typically Dutch landscape of windmills, dikes and manicured green pastures. Stroll through quaint fishing villages, take a boat tour along the scenic waterways or cycle along the dunes.

Looking for a quick snack, a refreshing drink or a romantic three-course dinner? Amsterdam has all of that and more! From grand cafés and historical watering holes to Michelin stars and the best in seasonal produce, keep reading for tips on where to have a memorable meal or drink in Amsterdam.

Whether you’re searching for the best souvenir, a unique vintage dress or the latest designer handbag, Amsterdam has the perfect shop for you! Hunt for antiques, score some limited-edition trainers or sample local Dutch delicacies: you can find it all in Amsterdam. Besides the main shopping streets the Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat, home to all the shops you would expect to find in a large European city like H&M and Zara, Amsterdam has a lot to offer to the luxury shopper. Amongst the best spots in town are department store De Bijenkorf, shopping street P.C. Hooftstraat with luxury boutiques and designer stores and the exclusive shopping centre Magna Plaza. Looking for antiques? Visit the Spiegelkwartier, within walking distance from the Rijksmuseum, or if you are a more budget conscious shopper, do not miss out on one of the neighbourhood markets!

Shops in Amsterdam are generally speaking open every day of the week, but hours vary. Opening times may differ slightly per shop and district, but here are some general guidelines:

Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri from 09:00 – 18:00
Thu from 09:00 – 21:00
Sat from 09:00 – 17:00
Sun from 12:00 – 17:00

Planning a romantic weekend getaway, a vacation or a business trip? With some 350 hotels in the city, you are sure to find the right location and budget for you. Hotel accommodations vary from budget 1 star and youth hostels to 5 star deluxe.

Bars & Nightlife
The dance clubs in Amsterdam might feel too small for somebody who is used to flashy clubs in NY, LA or London. But the clubs in Amsterdam can be just as entertaining and completely crazy. Hip, laid-back or sophisticated – the choice is yours!

Museums & Attractions
Amsterdam is home to a variety of world-famous museums. A trip to the city isn’t complete without stopping by the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum or the Anne Frank House. However, Amsterdam has much more to offer. A stroll through the heart of the city and beyond will reveal the countless attractions, thereby catering to young and old. Take some time to discover them all!

Whether you’re after soaking up the atmosphere of a traditional Dutch brown café, lounging in a city luxurious grand café, enjoying a summer drink on one of the city’s many terraces or checking out the thriving bar scene, Amsterdam is the perfect place to enjoy a tipple.

Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
For the visitors who’ve already seen the beautiful canals, visited the highlights, pioneered the Jordaan and got the hang of our never-ending nightlife… Here’s news for you: Amsterdam is bigger than you think! There is plenty more to experience. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area offers a great variety of products and is a stunning area that surrounds our city. The beach to relax, shopping, a dive into our history, or a breath of air in our beautiful countryside… All of these attractions are within reach of an hour using public transportation!

Essential Information
Population: 800.000
Currency: Euro, 1€ = 100 cents
Emergency numbers: 112
Newspapers: Volkskrant, De Telegraaf, Het Parool, NRC Handelsblad, AD
Tourist information: Visitor Information Centre Schiphol Airport (Holland Tourist Information), Schiphol Airport, Arrivals 2 at Schiphol Plaza, Mo -Su: 07:00 – 22:00 hour / Visitor Information Centre Central Station, Noord-Zuid Hollands Koffiehuis, Stationsplein 10 (across from Central Station), Mo -Sa : 09:00 – 17:00 hour Su: 10:00 – 17:00

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