IJ-Hallen Flea Market in Amsterdam

ij-hallen flea market amsterdam

IJ-Hallen is a flea market which takes place monthly over a weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at NDSM wharf in the north of Amsterdam. With around 500 stalls it is the largest regular flea market in the Netherlands and one of the biggest in Europe.

NDSM wharf can be easily reached from the back of Amsterdam Central station by hopping on the free GVB ferry. The trip takes about 15 minutes and offers some great views of the IJ river and Amsterdam’s waterfront development.

On arrival it is a short walk towards the 2 large shipyard buildings that host the market. Entrance is €5 for adults and €2 for children aged 0-11.

ij-hallen ndsm wharf amsterdam

There are a number of outside stalls selling larger items (bikes, furniture etc) though the bulk of the action is inside the hangar-like buildings. You will find all manner of bric-a-brac for sale and it is a little reminiscent of the King’s Day free market in April. On our visit we would estimate about 2/3 of the stalls were selling clothes.

ij-hallen flea market amsterdam

Prices are cheap and open to negotiation. This is not really the place to look for high-end antiques though you might find that gem of a bargain if you get there early.

Most of the stall-holders are hobbyists and amateurs – a standard stall is 4m by 1.10m and is available to rent for €30 per day. You need to book early as stalls do tend to sell out – bookings open about 6 weeks in advance of the market.

ij-hallen flea market amsterdam

If you wish to temporarily leave the market then get a stamp on your hand which will allow you to re-enter later on that day. There are a number of good cafés around NDSM wharf such as IJKantine, Noorderlicht and Pllek; the area itself has a unique, eclectic atmosphere.

Just a couple of things to watch out for – obviously pickpockets; also mind your step inside the buildings as the floors can be uneven in places.

For those coming by car there are paid parking facilities on-site or nearby free parking opposite Papaverweg 50.

If you enjoy browsing flea markets or love shopping for vintage clothes then a visit to IJ-Hallen will make for a fun-filled few hours.

See our what’s on in Amsterdam section for IJ-Hallen dates or check IJ-Hallen’s site here.

IJ-Hallen Flea Market, T.T. Neveritaweg 1, 1033 WB Amsterdam-Noord

Foodhallen in Amsterdam (International Food Court)

map foodhallen amsterdam

Foodhallen is a compact indoor food court located in a former tram depot in Amsterdam West, near the Ten Kate street market. Opened in October 2014, it was loosely inspired by international food markets such as London’s Borough Market and Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel.

Foodhallen Amsterdam contains a central bar plus around 20 different stands from local food businesses/entrepreneurs.  There are a reasonable number of seats and benches around to enjoy your food – although it can get very busy, especially at weekends. It is not on the same scale as Rotterdam’s Markthal.

The flavour is both local and international – stalls include Viet View (Vietnamese street food), De Ballen Bar (Dutch food), Dim Sum Thing (Chinese), Green Brothers (vegetarian), Jabugo (authentic Spanish deli), Wild Moa Pies (pies from Down Under), Maza (Mediterranean food), Meneer Temaki (sushi), Bulls and Dogs (sausages), Entrecôte Mobiel (steak sandwiches), The Butcher (gourmet burgers), SHIRKHAN (Indian street food) and Caulils Kaas (cheese including the popular toasted cheese sandwiches and raclettes).

foodhallen amsterdamThe De Hallen building dates from the 19th century and has been renovated in a modern industrial chic style with lots of exposed brickwork. The complex also contains Hotel De Hallen and its restaurant Remise47, TV studios, FilmHallen (a 9 screen cinema), a small public library (OBA) with café and a few shops/boutiques. Outside can be found the Ten Kate street market.

de hallen amsterdam

Foodhallen is a welcome addition to the Amsterdam food scene. Reviews have been mainly positive although some visitors have complained about a lack of ventilation. If you are passionate about food and enjoy eating on informal communal tables then it is probably worth a visit. There is often live music on some evenings.

One issue we do have is that many stall holders will only take card payments, no cash is accepted. This policy is seen in a number of other places around town including Marqt, Vlaamsch Broodhuys and EYE Film. Many international card providers charge hefty useage fees per transaction, making it uneconomic for foreign visitors to use such cards for small amounts. On the other hand, some people just prefer the old-fashioned anonymity and reliability of a cash transaction.

We understand the hygiene issue of handling cash so we would like to see an Asian-style central cash desk available for payments which would be more friendly to international customers.

Foodhallen is open daily 1100-2330(Sun-Thu), 1100-0100 (Fri/Sat).


To reach Foodhallen you can either walk from the city centre (about 15-20 mins) or take tram 17 from Central Station or tram 7 from Leidseplein to the “Ten Katestraat” stop. You can enter the Foodhallen via Bellamyplein or the De Hallen passageway via Ten Katestraat or Tollensstraat.

Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51, Amsterdam

Markthal in Rotterdam (Spectacular Food Market Hall)

markthal rotterdam

Following our post on Foodhallen, an indoor food market in Amsterdam we should also take a look at another major food market in the Netherlands – the stunning Markthal in Rotterdam which was opened in October 2014 by Queen Maxima.

The unique €175m Markthal building was designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and is helping to put Rotterdam firmly on the world map. Made up of a large 40m high archway, it offers a covered market area the size of a large football pitch with around 100 food stalls and 20 shops and restaurants. Each end is sealed by a glass façade to keep out the weather.

markthal arch rotterdam

The building is 70m wide and 120m long and contains no less than 228 appartments (102 rentals and 126 private, the bulk of which have been sold). Each has an outside terrace whilst half of the appartments also have triple-glazed windows overlooking the market.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Markthal is the huge psychedelic artwork on the inner wall featuring colourful fruits, grains and vegetables. Called the Horn of Plenty, it was conceived by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam and is made up of 4,000 separate tiles covering 11,000 m².

The stallholders are a mix of local and national businesses with a focus on high-end food produce. This includes dedicated stalls selling cheeses, meats, fruit & veg and fish. Plus those selling miscellaneous items such as nuts, olives, spices, chocolates and sweets. There is also a decent sized Asian supermarket (Wah Nam Hong).

The complex also contains a number of restaurants – including the first Jamie’s Italian in the Netherlands. A few of the restaurants have upper seating terraces.

The level below has an Albert Heijn supermarket, a Gall & Gall off license and Etos chemist; there is a large 4 storey underground car park with 1,200 spaces. Deliveries to the stalls and shops are also handled from the underground level which has its own cooling facility.

markthal rotterdam restaurants

There is an exhibition called Tijdtrap which shows medieval archaeological finds from the construction of the building.

The Markthal is located in the east of the city centre in the Laurens district – being marketed as the ‘SoHO of Rotterdam’. It is just opposite Rotterdam Blaak station or a 15 minute walk from Rotterdam Central station. There is an outdoor market in the square outside and you will also find Rotterdam’s library and the Kubuswoningen (Cube houses) nearby.

markthal rotterdam food

The Markthal is open daily between 1000 and 2000. We visited on a Saturday morning and the market was very busy attracting a lot of curious Dutch and international visitors.

Rotterdam certainly has a different atmosphere to the other historic Randstad cities – its centre was destroyed in World War 2 so it has a more modern metropolis feel. If you are a food lover then Markthal is a good reason to give the city a visit.

De Markthal, Ds. Jan Scharpstraat 298, 3011 GZ Rotterdam

Cheap NS Train Day Tickets from Blokker and other Dutch Stores

blokker ns train day ticket

A number of Dutch retail stores occasionally offer deals on day tickets for unlimited travel on NS trains. In this article we will keep up-to-date on the latest rail offers available over-the-counter from various Dutch stores.

Here is a summary of the NS train day tickets (NS dagkaartjes) regularly on offer. Bear in mind that sales periods are short and the tickets are often unavailable. You will note that each store has slightly different travel validity restrictions for its tickets.

Kruidvat (chemist)

NS Day Ticket (valid on weekends only, OV-chip card). Usual price €13.99. Currently not available. Last sale period: 26 Sep – 9 Oct 2016. Last travel validity: 1 Oct 2016 – 1 Jan 2017. For a full explanation see our article Kruidvat NS day tickets

Blokker (houseware store)

NS Day Ticket (valid off-peak on weekdays, anytime at weekends, OV-chip card). Usual price €15. Currently not available. Last sale expired: 31 Jul 2016. Last travel validity: 18 Jul – 11 Sep 2016. See below for more info.

Albert Heijn (supermarket)

NS Day Ticket (valid after 0900 on weekdays with no evening restrictions, anytime at weekends, OV-chip card). Usual price €16. Currently not available. Last sale expired: 4 Sep 2016. Last travel validity: 22 Aug – 6 Nov 2016.

HEMA (general store)

NS Day Return (valid after 0900 on weekdays with no evening restrictions, anytime at weekends, e-ticket). Usual price €19. Includes HEMA drink and snack. Currently not available. Last sale expired: 25 Sep 2016. Last travel validity: 5 Sep – 20 Nov 2016.

Etos (chemist)

NS Day Return (“super dal” ticket, valid only after 1100, OV-chip card). Usual price €19.90 for 2 tickets (which is €9.95 per ticket). Currently not available. Last sale expired: 27 Mar 2016. Last travel validity: 14 Mar – 22 May 2016.

How To Use the NS Day Tickets

All the tickets above are valid on the entire Dutch rail network including NS and other operators: Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia. Domestic rail travel is also valid on Intercity Direct (Schiphol-Rotterdam) and ICE International trains (Amsterdam-Utrecht-Arnhem) as long as you purchase the appropriate supplements. No travel is permitted on the Thalys trains.

For OV-chip card tickets, you must always check-in and check-out at the card readers for every segment of your trip when you leave the station. The card is simply activated on the day you travel by checking-in for the first time.

E-tickets are personal and need to be printed out with your name and date-of-birth. You need to bring accompanying ID. With e-tickets you do not check-in or out but you can use the special barcode to open gates if required (an increasing number of Dutch stations are using closed barriers).

Blokker NS Day Tickets

Household retail chain Blokker offers a 1 day off-peak ticket (Dal Vrij Dagkaart) a few times per year which costs around €15. These are available over-the-counter and are in the form of an OV-chip smart card. The Kruidvat and Blokker tickets are the most popular offers and can sell out quickly.

The Blokker NS tickets are valid during off-peak hours on weekdays and anytime at weekends – unlike the Kruidvat tickets which are only valid over the weekends. This means you cannot check-in during the peak hours of 0630-0900 and 1600-1830 Monday to Friday. However you can travel during the peak hours if you have checked-in before 0630 or 1600.

There are around 600 Blokker stores in the Netherlands. Locations in Amsterdam include:

Kalverstraat 41 (main shopping street)
Jodenbreestraat 19 (near Waterlooplein)
Stadhouderskade 111 (near Heineken Brewery)
Ceintuurbaan 109A (De Pijp)
Haarlemmerdijk 72 (north-west)
Spaarndammerstraat 99 (north-west)
Maasstraat 37 (Rivierenbuurt)
Rijnstraat 64 (Rivierenbuurt)
Oostelijke Handelskade 1029  (Zeeburg)
1E Oosterparkstraat 197 (east)
Beethovenstraat 76 (Apollo/old south district)
Zeilstraat 2 (old-south)
Kinkerstraat 260 (old-west)
Bilderdijkstraat 169 (old-west)
Jan van Galenstraat 107A (west)
Mercatorplein 88 (west)