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A Guide to Major Dutch Shop Chains

 

When it comes to shopping Amsterdam has its share of famous international brands, as well as a great selection of smaller independent shops.

You might find it useful to also get acquainted with some of the major Dutch chains - which you will find in and around the centre of Amsterdam and all over the Netherlands.

De Bijenkorf

bijenkorf

De Bijenkorf ("The Beehive") is the premium department store chain in the Netherlands, dating back originally to 1870 and currently owned by Selfridges Group. Its flagship store is the 5-storey branch located on Damrak/Dam Square in Amsterdam. It also has stores in many cities around the country including at nearby Amstelveen.

Bijenkorf sells both own-label goods and brand names.

At the Dam branch the ground floor has various high-end fashion label stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Burberry and Gucci. On the lower floors you will generally find perfumes, cosmetics, jewellery, watches, designer clothes and shoes. On the upper floors you find household and electrical items, luggage, stationary, books, CDs and DVDs.

Bijenkorf usually has quite creative window displays at ground level in Amsterdam, particularly over the Christmas period.

bijenkorf amstelveen

Bijenkorf is an aspirational store for the Dutch middle classes and prices are on the higher side. Watch out for Drie Dwaze Dagen - a big 3 day sale held every autumn when prices are reduced. On the fifth floor they have a self-service restaurant Bijenkorf Kitchen.

HEMA

hema store

HEMA is a Dutch institution, a chain store which sells generic own brand goods at reasonable prices. First set-up in 1926, HEMA stands for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam or Dutch Standard Prices Company Amsterdam. With a unique position in the Dutch retail market, it could loosely be compared to the old Woolworth's general stores.

They sell a wide variety of goods to satisfy standard needs - from basic clothing and underwear, household items, hardware, cycle accessories, cards, stationary, vitamins and cosmetics. HEMA is about simple style, value and practicality.

Larger HEMA stores have a small food section selling fruit and veg, meat, fish, bread, cheese, wines etc. Some stores include a café selling sandwiches, salads, hot meals, cakes and drinks. A cheap breakfast from €1 is available between 9 and 10am; or go for the vieruurtje (coffee and cake offer) after 4pm. They also have takeaway outlets famous for their rookworst smoked sausages.

hema branch nieuwendijk amsterdam

There are 20 locations in Amsterdam including Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk, Ferdinand Bol Straat and Kinkerstraat. There are a small HEMA stores at Central Station and Schiphol airport plus a HEMA Beauty cosmetics store also on Kalverstraat. You will find HEMA shops all over the Netherlands.

HEMA are also branching out internationally with stores in Europe and the UK.

V&D

v&d amsterdam

V&D (Vroom & Dreesmann) is a popular mid-range Dutch department store founded in 1887. It sells a wide range of goods: clothes, cosmetics, watches, sunglasses, jewellery, electrical items, stationary, luggage, toys, books, CDs and DVDs. You can also buy household items, kitchenware and furniture. V&D sells both branded items and various own label brands - such as Soho and LIV in their clothing department. It holds regualr sales including the Prijzencircus.

V&D also has the excellent La Place self-service restaurants and in-store bakery and confectionary.

V&D Amsterdam is found at Kalverstraat / Rokin near Muntplein. V&D can be found in most major towns and cities of the Netherlands.

Action

action store netherlands

Action is a discount Dutch retailer selling a varied assortment of products - from house and homeware, DIY and hardware items, office supplies, glassware, ceramics, textiles and toys. Prices are low - and perhaps similar in range and quality to the large poundshops in the UK.

Action has a number of stores around Amsterdam including at Europaboulevard, Delflandplein, Kinkerstraat, Nieuwpoortstraat, Pijnackerstraat, and Plein 40-45.

Blokker

blokker store amsterdam

Blokker is a Dutch hardware and homeware store found all over the country. It sells home and kitchenware, small electrical household appliances, some furniture, toys, DVDs and CDs.

Like many Dutch stores they produce a weekly folder, a leaflet-booklet publicising the latest offers and distributed to homes or available online. Blokker occasionally offers deals on 1 day NS train tickets as well.

There are numerous Blokker stores in Amsterdam including at Kalverstraat, Ferdinand Bolstraat, Ceintuurbaan, Kinkerstraat, Bilderdijkstraat and Jodenbreestraat.

C&A

c&a amsterdam

C&A is a discount clothing retailer. The company was started in Netherlands in the 19th century and still retains Dutch ownership - it is familiar to British people, but pulled out of the UK market in 2001.

C&A sells its own-branded clothes lines (such as Angelo Litrico, Canda, Clockhouse) and the quality of clothes has been improved over the last few years. However it faces stiff competition from the likes of the more trendy H&M, Zara and Primark, which has opened a number of Dutch stores.

C&A Amsterdam is located on Damrak / Nieuwendijk.

De Tuinen

de tuinen

De Tuinen (Dutch for "the Garden") is a health shop and chemist chain owned by Holland and Barrett in the UK, itself a subsidiary of NBTY/The Carlyle Group. De Tuinen specialises in various cosmetics and personal care products, supplements, homeopathic remedies, herbal teas, gift packages, some "new-age" type items and a small range of health food. It sells both own-branded products and a variety of other brands such as Neal's Yard and Weleda.

De Tuinen holds regular sales on items such as buy one get one free.

6 stores in central Amsterdam including Kalverstraat (2 stores), Nieuwendijk, Leidsestraat, Kinkerstraat and Ferdinand Bolstraat. It has shop locations all over the Netherlands.

See Organic food shopping in Amsterdam

Chemists: Etos and Kruidvat

etos and kruidvat chemist stores

These are 2 very well known Dutch chemist chains. Etos is the premier brand selling personal care products, vitamins, over-the-counter medicines, cosmetics and perfumes. Kruidvat is a budget chemist chain with a similar line of goods and is often cheaper than Etos for branded items. Etos is the better presented shop as Kruidvat can be a little chaotic. If you are looking for Dutch liquorice (drop) then you can do a 'pick'n mix' in either.

Locations all over Amsterdam including Nieuwendijk.

Kijkshop

kijkshop amsterdam

Kijkshop is a unique Dutch retailer with a format similar to Argos in the UK. Aiming at the value-segment of the market, it mainly sells small consumer electrical items such as phones, hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and computer accessories. It also offers various tools, jewellery and watches.

The items are housed in glass showcases around the store. To purchase you have to write down the product number on a slip of paper then take it to the cashier desk. The product is then brought to you from the warehouse behind.

Just outside of central Amsterdam you will find Kijkshop stores at Bilderdijkstraat, Ferdinand Bolstraat and Kamerlingh Onneslaan.

Perry Sport

perry sport

Perry Sport is a Dutch sports shop chain selling sports clothes, exercise and sport equipment, travel and outdoor gear. It sells both brand names and cheaper own-label products such as Wildebeast. It is present in most major towns and cities in the Netherlands.

Stores in Amsterdam are at Kalverstraat and Overtoom, with a large outlet at Amsterdam ArenA (Bijlmer). French competitor Decathlon also has a sport megastore at Amsterdam Bijlmer-ArenA.

Visiting the Amsterdam ArenA

Xenos

xenos store amsterdam

Xenos is a Dutch budget houseware chain store and a subsidiary of Blokker. It sells homeware, glassware, ceramics, basic furniture plus a small but varied assortment of international food items.

Central Amsterdam stores can be found on Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat and Bilderdijkstraat - with other stores in the suburbs and all over the Netherlands. Xenos has also expanded into Germany.

Zeeman

zeeman amsterdam

Zeeman is a Dutch textile and clothing retailer offering discount prices. It sells basic clothing, home textiles (towels/bedding), wool and toys.

Various locations in Amsterdam including Albert Cuypstraat, Jodenbreestraat, Kinkerstraat, Rijnstraat and Spaarndammerstraat.

Other articles on shopping: Markets in Amsterdam and Supermarkets in Amsterdam