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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 the centre of Amsterdam and all over the Netherlands.

De Bijenkorf

bijenkorfDe Bijenkorf or "Beehive" is the premium department store chain in Netherlands, dating back originally to 1870. It has stores in all main cities of the country with its flagship being the 5-storey Amsterdam branch located on Damrak/Dam Square. Bijenkorf sells both own-label goods and brand names - the ground floor has a number of separate stores of high-end fashion labels 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. They usually have quite creative window displays at ground level in Amsterdam.

Bijenkorf is an "aspirational" store for many middle class Dutch 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. Bijenkorf is owned by the Selfridges group.

Hema

hema store

Hema is a Dutch institution, a department store chain which sells generic "own brand" goods at reasonable prices. They have a unique position in the Netherlands retail market. (They could loosely be compared to the old Woolworth's general stores). They sell a wide variety of goods to satisfy the average Dutch needs, from basic clothing, household items, hardware, cycle accessories, cards, stationary, vitamins and cosmetics. A small food section sells breads, cheese, tapas etc.

Hema is about simple style, value and practicality - you should drop by to have a look.

Larger Hema stores contain a cafe selling sandwiches, cakes and drinks. Cheap breakfasts are available between 9 and 10am. They also have takeaway outlets famous for their rookworst smoked sausages. 16 locations in Amsterdam including Kalverstraat, Ferdinand Bol Straat, Kinkerstraat. There are a small Hema stores at Central Station and Schiphol airport.

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

 

V&D

v&d amsterdam

V&D (Vroom & Dreesmann) is a mid-range Dutch department store. They sell a wide range of goods: clothes, cosmetics, watches, jewellery, electrical items, stationary, luggage, toys, books, CDs and DVDs. You can also buy household items, kitchenware and furniture. V&D Amsterdam is found at Kalverstraat / Rokin near Muntplein. Locations in major towns / cities throughout the Netherlands.
They also have the excellent La Place self-service restaurants and in-store bakery.

C&A

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

c&a amsterdam

It remains quite popular here 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 3 Dutch stores. C&A Amsterdam is located on Damrak / Nieuwendijk.

Etos and Kruidvat

etos kruidvat

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.

De Tuinen

de tuinen

De Tuinen ("the Garden") is a health shop / chemist chain owned by Holland and Barrett in the UK. You can find various cosmetics, personal care products, supplements, homeopathic remedies, gift packages, herbal teas, "new-age" type items and a small range of food products. Holds regular half-price sales.

7 stores in Amsterdam including at Kalverstraat 11, Leidsstraat 32

Perry Sport

perry sport

Perry Sport is a Dutch sports shop chains selling sports clothes, travel / outdoor gear, exercise and sport equipment. Sells both brand names and cheaper "own-label" products. Present in most major towns and cities in 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 in Amsterdam Bijlmer.