Discover the city centre of Amsterdam on a shopping tour that will show you three uniquely local shops that are worth your browsing time! But this is more than just a shop ‘til you drop experience. You won’t just hunt for locally produced goods, you’ll get to speak directly with the shop owners and learn the stories behind their unique, fun and responsible products. Every stop on this two-hour Amsterdam tour offers a historical connection, a responsible focus, and authentic local inspiration.
You’ll also be given a voucher for each shop so that you can bring home a souvenir from each place, on us! The vouchers range between EUR 15 and 25 each, giving you a total of EUR 55 to spend on whatever catches your eye. You might pick up a locally produced craft item, a portrait photograph, or maybe a handmade t-shirt. Note that Urban Adventures receives no commission off any sales made on this tour, so you can be sure all the money from your vouchers is going back to local, independent artists. Don’t want to spend it all? You can also put your vouchers to a good cause, as any remaining money not spent with your vouchers will be donated to Amsterdam Locals, a company that supports diabetes and cancer research.
The first shop we visit will be in the Red Light District, a neighbourhood under transformation and with hundreds of years of history as a commercial hub. Today, the district is a shopping gem, and we’ll walk through the tiny streets and meet a few entrepreneurs who have decided to invest in this colourful area. We’ll make our way to a local store that produces items made from waste — their main material being salvaged and recycled bicycle parts. This shop is run in partnership with a social reinsertion project set up by the Dutch government for refugees and prisoners, and the owners work with various institutions to sell goods created by disadvantaged locals. These artists are paid per piece, and the program is a stepping stone to help them rebuild their lives in the local community.
We will then cross the Dam Square to meet our second shop owner, for a novelty gift with historic flair. Located behind the New Church in the heart of the city, we’ll find a portrait photography studio that has been named one of the top tourist attractions by local newspaper poll — but it’s definitely not a tourist trap! Many of the local shops in the area have photos of themselves, dressed in costumes, taken at this portrait studio. There’s also a lot of local tradition in portrait art — the Dutch were one of the leaders in portraits, and you’ll discover yourself how important this art form is to local culture.
Finally, we’ll finish things off in the Jordaan area, meeting our last merchant. We’ll visit a small company that sells responsibly made and locally designed/printed t-shirts. The shirts are from organic materials, and the shop operates on a small, local scale, thereby avoiding the constraints that come with being a bigger manufacturing company. The Dutch have a clouded — if not outright hostile — history when it comes to the production of goods, and we’ll discuss this, as well as how the Dutch are being proactive in the 21st century with respect to fair trade.
Your tour will end here, but before you go, feel free to ask your guide for any other tips on where to shop, eat, drink and discover local life while you’re in Amsterdam.