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Victoria Fernandez / © Culture Trip
Victoria Fernandez / © Culture Trip
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10 Unique Souvenirs to Pick Up in Amsterdam

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 13 June 2018
While it might be impossible to sum up Amsterdam’s unique charm succinctly, there are several items that are readily available in the city that capture a certain measure of its delightful history and culture. To help you discover the perfect memento whilst abroad, we’ve put together a list covering 10 distinctly Dutch souvenirs that can easily be found in Amsterdam.

A bottle of Bols jenever

Although jenever is often compared to gin, it actually predates its British counterpart by several decades and has a mellower, more aromatic flavour. Dutch people traditionally drink jenever straight, or alongside a small, blonde beer a mixture that is colloquially known as a kopstoot which translates into English as ‘head butt’. The drink has been produced in Amsterdam for centuries and Bols distillery makes an exceptional range of jenever that can be bought straight from its headquarters on Paulus Potterstraat or at most off licenses in the city.

Most off licenses in Amsterdam keep a shelf allocated for jenever
Most off licenses in Amsterdam keep a shelf allocated for jenever | © cafuego / Flickr

Droog design products

In the 1990s, Droog emerged as a leading figure within the design world and became renowned for its innovative interior products which commonly adapted prefabricated material into knowingly sober items with a distinctive sense of playfulness. Today, many of Droog’s iconic products can be found at its headquarters on Staalstraat in central Amsterdam, including items that were designed by Marcel Wanders, Tejo Remy and Jurgen Bey.

© Franklin Heijnen / Flickr

Old Amsterdam mature Gouda

Cheese loving travellers are spoilt for choice in the Netherlands, as the country is renowned for its astounding dairy products. In Amsterdam there are a number of excellent cheese stores that offer a wide variety of tasty edams, goudas and boerenkaas. Old Amsterdam is renowned for its exceptional matured gouda, which possesses a sturdy, full bodied flavour and crumbly texture that pairs wonderfully with dark beer and pickles.

Shelves of Dutch cheese
Shelves of Dutch cheese | © mandoft / Flickr

HEMA stationary

HEMA is an iconic Dutch chain store that designs all of its products in house. Instead of focusing on one aspect of retail, HEMA basically sells everything, including clothing, homeware, traditional Dutch food, its own line of books and unique stationary. HEMA always keeps its prices low, meaning that keen eyed travellers can pick up chic Dutch design products without straining their wallets.

© Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Flickr

A case of Brouwerij ‘t Ij beer

Brouwerij ‘t Ij’s main brewery is located underneath the largest windmill in Amsterdam and brands its beers with a label that depicts this iconic machine. The brewery’s wares are sold throughout the city and regularly appear on trendier pubs’ beer menus. The brewery is renowned for its potent, speciality beers such as Natte or Zatte, as well as its traditional Dutch brews – most of which have a notoriously high proof.

Ajax shirt

Ajax Football Club has its home grounds in southern Amsterdam and the team’s memorabilia can be found inside sports stores and official retailers throughout the city. Since their inauguration Ajax has always been at the top of the Dutch football league and have thousands of supporters around the globe. Their kit is emblazoned with a picture of the mythological hero Ajax, a figure that represents the team’s steadfast spirit and determination.

Ajax during a match in their home kit
Ajax during a match in their home kit | © Илья Хохлов / WikiCommons

A basket of tulip bulbs

There are hundreds of florists dotted around Amsterdam, many of which actually sell tulip bulbs that can be taken home and planted. The Dutch have a long history with this colourful crop and Amsterdam is surrounded by several large tulip farms, including Keukenhof – a vast garden that plants over seven million flowers every year.

© pixabay.com

A map of the canals

Amsterdam’s city centre is shaped by a multi-tiered canal belt that encircles Dam Square. This historical feat of engineering was mainly constructed in the 17th century during a time of economic prosperity. Many stores around Amsterdam sell old prints of the canal system and maps of the city can be found at most bookstores or tourist orientated establishments.

A map of Amsterdam’s canals from 1662
A map of Amsterdam’s canals from 1662 | © Daniel Stalpaert / WikiCommons

Amsterdam Stories by Nescio

During the early years of the twentieth century Dutch author Nescio wrote several short stories about Amsterdam that present the city from various perspectives and challenges the presumptions that surround bohemian lifestyles. Today, these stories are considered classics and have been collected into a singular volume called Amsterdam Stories that is readily available from English language bookstores throughout Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Stories
Amsterdam Stories | © NYRB Classics / Amazon.com | A portrait of Nescio | © Zwiggelaar auctions / WikiCommons

Specialist condoms from The Condomerie

The Condomerie is the world’s first condom speciality store and was originally established in order to promote safe sex during the 1980s. The stores sells a massive selection of plastic contraception as well as lubricants, gifts, and hygiene products. As a dedicated condom specialist, the store encourages visitors to think more openly about contraceptives and acts as a research centre for fun, safe sex.

Novelty condom’s on display at the Condomerie
Novelty condom’s on display at the Condomerie | © Andrei Niemimäki / Flickr