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Markthal in Rotterdam

Following our post on Foodhallen, an indoor food market in Amsterdam we should also take a look at another new major food market in the Netherlands – the stunning Markthal in Rotterdam which was opened on 1st October 2014 by Queen Maxima.
markthal rotterdamThis unique €175m building was designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and is helping to put Rotterdam firmly on the world map. Comprising of a large 40m high archway, it offers a covered market area the size of a large football pitch with around 100 food stalls. Each end is sealed by a glass façade to keep out the weather.

The building is 70m wide and 120m long and contains no less than 228 appartments (102 rentals and 126 for sale). Each has an outside terrace whilst half of the appartments also have triple-glazed windows overlooking the market. For those interested, appartments start at €240,000 going all the way up to €1.2million for the top-floor penthouses!markthal rotterdam interior
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.markthal rotterdam restaurants
The stallholders are a mix of local and national businesses with a focus on high-end food produce. The complex also contains a number of restaurants some with elevated seating; the level below has an Albert Heijn supermarket 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 underground.markthal stall
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. Markthal is a good reason to give the city a visit.

Foodhallen in Amsterdam

Foodhallen is a new indoor food court located in a former tram depot in Amsterdam West, near the Ten Kate street market. Opened just recently (October 2014), it has been inspired by other international food markets such as London’s Borough Market or Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel.foodhallen amsterdam
Foodhallen Amsterdam contains a central bar plus a number of different stands from local food businesses/entrepreneurs.  There are plenty of seats around to enjoy your food.

The flavour is both local and international – stalls include Viet View (Vietnamese street food), 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) and Caulils Kaas (cheese including the popular toasted cheese sandwiches and raclettes). food hallen
food hallen stalls
The Hallen complex also contains Hotel De Hallen plus a number of restaurants – Brasserie Halte 3, Meat West and the hotel’s Remise47.

Foodhallen is a welcome addition to the Amsterdam food scene. If you are passionate about your food then it is certainly worth a visit.

However, one issue we have is that 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 of a cash transaction.

We understand the hygeine 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 1100-2000 (Sun-Wed, bar closes 0000), 1100-2100 (Thu-Sat, bar closes 0030). The address is Bellamyplein 51 – it is also possible to enter De Hallen complex from the Ten Katestraat.

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.

Kruidvat Day Train Tickets Oct 2014-Jan 2015

The Kruidvat train day tickets are once again available for sale. You can purchase these over-the-counter at Kruidvat chemist stores or online between 7 and 19 October 2014, subject to availability. These tickets are one of the best travel bargains in the Netherlands.

kruidvat day ticket offer october 2014

The Trein Dagkaart (train day ticket) costs just €13.99 – it offers 1 day of unlimited travel on the entire Dutch rail network. The ticket is valid for for travel at weekends only between 11 October 2014 and 25 January 2014.

The Kruidvat ticket is basically a disposable OV-chip card. You must check-in and check-out of your journey when travelling with NS trains by holding the ticket against the special card readers on the platforms.

The train ticket is valid on all other domestic Dutch train companies – Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia – these require that you date stamp your ticket before travel using the yellow stamping machines on the platforms.

Travel is also valid on Intercity Direct and ICE International trains with the appropriate domestic supplement; it is not valid on the Thalys.

The best use of these tickets is to take a long journey to the likes of Maastricht or Groningen or perhaps make multiple stopovers during the day. One thing to bear in mind – these tickets cover part of the winter period. Any severe winter weather can disrupt train services significantly.

Should you wish to purchase these ticket(s) you need to hurry to a Kruidvat store as they are popular and can sell out quickly. A maximum of 2 tickets per client is available. Online sales are also possible at with payment by iDeal (Dutch bank transfer), Mastercard and Visa – these are for Dutch address delivery only, foreign delivery is not possible.

Kruidvat is a nationwide chemist chain with stores in most towns and cities. There are 10 Kruidvat stores in Amsterdam:

Nieuwendijk 160 (closest to centre, near Dam)
Jodenbreestraat 96
Regulierbreestraat 22
Bilderdijkstraat 73-87
V-Limburg-Stirumstraat 58
Ferdinand Bolstraat 33-39
van Woustraat 98-102
Dapperplein 62
Linnaeusstraat 70-72
Kinkerstraat 244

IJ-Hallen flea market in 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 750 stalls it is the largest regular flea market in the Netherlands and one of the biggest in Europe.

IJ-Hallen at NDSM wharf Amsterdam

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 buidings that host the market. Entrance is €4.50 for adults and €2 for children 0-11.

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 Amsterdam

IJ-Hallen Amsterdam flea market

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 – stalls are available for rent from €29 per day – they do sell out in advance.

IJ-Hallen flea market Amsterdam

IJ-Hallen market clock stall

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, ecclectic atmosphere.

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

For those coming by car there are cheap parking facilities on-site.

If you enjoy flea markets 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 the IJ-Hallen site.