Do you ever buy souvenirs when you travel? I sometimes do so that I can save a small memory of my travels. At times I also gift something meaningful to my family and friends.
I don’t like the “typical souvenirs” that you can buy in souvenir shops in most touristy destinations. I’m talking about fridge magnets, key chains, shot glasses, coffee mugs, coasters, or just some random items.
Instead, I look for unique souvenirs that perhaps tell a story. It could be something handmade from a flea market. I look for things that are unique to that specific destination.
Yes, I did buy a key ring with the Amsterdam logo and a windmill fridge magnet for my parents when I first visited this city. But now I visit local markets to look for unique handmade things and authentic souvenirs.
I love going to Albert Cuyp Market which is pretty big. I also like the Waterlooplein Flea Market but I feel that it has become somewhat expensive. I make it a point to make a small trip to the local grocery stores and supermarkets like Albert Heijn (a.k.a. Appie) or HEMA for interesting things.
So with that, it took me multiple trips to Amsterdam to realize what the best souvenirs to buy from Amsterdam for everyone.
Table of Contents
Canal Houses or Windmill made with Delft Pottery
Let’s talk about the local handicrafts of the Netherlands. Delft Blue pottery is an age-old craft of the Netherlands. It is pretty and the delicate details will make you fall in love with the items.
Of course, you can buy a coffee mug, ceramic animals, or ashtrays but let’s go a step further and buy something that’s truly unique to Amsterdam. Get yourself a canal house!
The one depicted in the picture above is a limited edition from KLM that the airlines used for serving their Bols Genever gin. The Delft Blue Pottery Canal houses mania began because of this.
Canal houses are the narrow buildings of Amsterdam that look a bit lopsided and sometimes are called dancing gingerbread houses. I hardly ever buy decor since I’m more of a minimalist but these are truly adorable. They look very cute with Christmas decorations too.
Apart from canal houses, another thing you can buy is a ceramic windmill made with Delft Blue Pottery. Windmills are a common sight in the Netherlands, and traditional Dutch windmills are even better. You can truly bring the beauty of the country back home with something like this.
You don’t need to look in any special shop but you will find Delft Blue Pottery in most of the touristy souvenir shops in the city center.
Stroopwafels are a traditional Dutch cookie that looks like a small waffle. The taste is super caramel-ey because of the filling. The syrup-like filling is called Stroop, hence the name.
Just like a lot of other Amsterdam souvenirs, you can buy the Stroopwafels from literally anywhere – supermarkets, and grocery stores but the most famous ones are sold at Van Wonderen Stroopwafels. They aren’t the best at Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, but it is a matter of Instagram publicity.
In many high-end hotels in the Netherlands, a miniature version of Stroopwafels is included complimentary along with a tee and coffee.
I used to buy packs of Stroopwafels for my father before flying out to India each time because he loved them.
Fun fact: Stroopwafels were originally made in the city of Gouda. Yes, the same place from where Gouda cheese comes from.
Dutch Cheese like Gouda
C’mon, you can’t leave the Netherlands without buying the Dutch Cheeses. I fell in love with all the Dutch cheese instantly.
Of course, there’s the world-famous Gouda cheese – young and aged. I prefer the aged one. I also love Maasdam cheese which has a bit of a nutty flavor and has usually holes in it like Emmental cheese.
My personal favourite is the Old Amsterdam Cheese which is an aged hard cheese and is full of amazing flavor. It pairs very well with red wine.
Old Amsterdam is a brand of Dutch Gouda cheese. You don’t really have to go to its main store to buy it but you can get it in any supermarket in Amsterdam (like Albert Heijn).
If you want to visit the Old Amsterdam cheese store, they are in 4 places – Damrak 62 (a touristy area near Amsterdam Centraal Train Station), Singel 490 (near Flower Market), Damstraat 17-19 (a super touristy area in De Wallen), and at Schiphol Airport.
Don’t miss the Farmstead cheese also called the farmhouse cheese. Yes, you need to buy them from farmhouses but they can also be found in supermarkets. Look for “Naturamel Cheese”, it is a brand that sells Dutch farmhouse cheese.
If you do buy hard Dutch cheeses like Gouda, then keep a note to also buy a cheese slicer from a local grocery store.
Even if you already have a cheese slicer, take a look at the one that’s made just for Gouda cheese and you will want to buy it.
These aren’t expensive and can sometimes cost between just EUR 2 to 5, but they definitely make it easier to consume these Dutch cheeses. If you buy them from a souvenir shop, then they will be for EUR 10 and will have a fancy Delft Blue ceramic handle.
A cheese slicer is a great souvenir for cheese lovers, especially those who like hard cheese.
Tulip Bulbs from Bloemenmarkt
Do you know that the Netherlands is a major producer of Tulips? These blooms have been depicted pretty often in Dutch Golden Age paintings. The Tulip Mania began as early as the 17th century.
People visit from all over the world to see the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens in spring. You may not end up going there but you can buy yourself some tulip bulbs!
Tulip Bulbs are onion-like things that you can plant in your garden to grow tulips. Because they grow from bulbs, they are perennial – meaning they grow back every year and bloom. These are the best Souvenirs from Amsterdam to buy for that friend you have who’s into gardening.
While you are in Amsterdam, go visit the Bloemenmarkt -the famous floating flower market along the Singel Canal. Bloemenmarkt is an open-air market and I always mention it in my Amsterdam itineraries.
Not only it is a great place to visit during your time in Amsterdam, but while you’re there you can buy yourself tulip bulbs so that you can try to grow these beauties in your garden back home.
You will see wooden tulips in many souvenir shops in Amsterdam, but from here you can buy cut Tulips. It is always a good idea to buy them on your last day. Yes, it is allowed to take them on the airplane and you will most likely receive a certificate from the seller.
Dutch Cocoa Powder
Did you know that Cocoa powder is a Dutch invention? If you or someone you know enjoys baking, then a pack of Dutch cocoa powder makes a perfect souvenir. It is smoother, darker, and usually richer than the typical cocoa powder. It has less caffeine than the normal cocoa powder.
If you are buying it for yourself as a souvenir, then keep in mind that you have to use it a bit differently in baking than other cocoa powders because the Dutch one isn’t acidic. If you’re not baking with it then you can use it like a normal cocoa powder.
In order to buy Dutch cocoa powder, just go to any supermarket and buy the cocoa powder that’s sold there. Of course, it won’t say “Dutch cocoa powder” when you’re buying it there but just look for “cacao” on the carton.
Bicycle Bells or Gear
Do you have a friend who loves cycling? Get them something useful for their bike from Amsterdam, after all, it is the bicycle capital of the world.
When you arrive in Amsterdam, you will notice an abundance of cycles even before you see the narrow buildings or canals. There are more bicycles in Amsterdam than people. (I talk more about this in my Amsterdam travel tips post.)
For that reason, the Netherlands is the perfect country from where you can buy something bike-related like a bicycle bell, a battery-powered headlight, a cell phone holder for the bike, or a tiny repair kit. Even better if you could find something with the Amsterdam logo or pictures of canal houses.
Go to small bike rental shops or local grocery stores and you are guaranteed to find some fun bicycle-related souvenirs.
The above-featured bicycle repair kit is a tiny box that was gifted to me by Carlton Square Hotel in Haarlem.
I feel bad for mentioning sex toys right after wooden toys for children but the reality is that Amsterdam does have a massive sex tourism.
Amsterdam’s red light area is the perfect spot from where you can buy a kinky souvenir. Make it kinky and funny then you have got yourself a souvenir/gift that your friend will laugh about for ages.
Tony’s Chocolonely is a Dutch chocolate company that isn’t old but their chocolates are super popular in the Netherlands and as a result, it is now one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the country.
If you have a friend who’d appreciate a sweet treat, then get them a chocolate from Tony’s Chocolonely. I highly recommend the Zartbitter chocolate and also the one with caramel and sea salt. These chocolates are so good that they’re addictive!
I did mention earlier that cocoa powder is a Dutch invention, and Dutch cocoa powder is a bit different than others. As a result, the chocolates taste smoother and richer in Holland.
Hagelslag – Chocolate sprinkles
When you go to Amsterdam, and if you befriend a local – you might get introduced to Hagelslag – an interesting Dutch snack that’s super simple.
Dutch Chocolate sprinkles are popular and sometimes the locals put them on toast for a sweet breakfast. Of course, the most famous Chocolate Sprinkles are by De Ruijter but you can look for more alternatives in other Dutch supermarkets too.
Klomp – Wooden Clogs
Now this isn’t for everyone but if you like croc clogs, then try the wooden clogs from the Netherlands. Of course, you can use them as decor but I’m all about functional items. So go to De Klompenboer, get a pair of wooden shoes that fit you, and use them as your gardening shoes.
Yes, some Dutch farmers and gardeners still wear them. The wooden clogs are safer than steel-capped shoes in some circumstances and are officially accredited as safety shoes with the CE Mark.
De Winkel van Nijntje for Miffy Themed Items
If you visit Japan, you might just want to visit a Hello Kitty-themed store. Similarly, if you visit the Netherlands, you should visit this Miffy-themed store.
Go to De Winkel van Nijntje in Amsterdam, it is one of the most famous kids’ stores with Miffy bunny-themed items. Not just kids but there are Miffy-themed items for grown-ups too.
Miffy is a fictional rabbit that’s a famous Dutch creation and has its own book series too. So this isn’t just a random children’s store but the theme is very Dutch because Miffy is a Dutch character.
You can buy miffy-themed toothbrushes, night lamps, coffee mugs, Christmas tree ornaments, and of course books.
Cute Gifts from Mouse Mansion (Het Muizenhuis)
I mentioned Het Muizenhuis in my post about exploring Amsterdam with children. It is a one-of-a-kind store with a permanent exhibit of toy mice family and their elaborate house and village. It is like Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland but for mice.
They sell D.I.Y. kits that children can use and make their own miniature rooms – like classrooms, kitchens, etc. They also sell the mouse characters in plush toys.
Whether you have kids or not, I’m sure you know at least one. If you’d like to buy a small adorable gift for them, consider Mouse Mansion’s DIY kits.
These DIY kits from Het Muizenhuis aren’t exactly cheap but neither is traveling to Amsterdam. If you are here for a vacation, then I have to assume that you can afford a gift from Het Muizenhuis.
Wooden Toys and Wind Up Toys from Mechanisch Speelgoed
When I was a kid, I often played with wind-up toys. If you don’t know what I mean, I’m talking about mechanical toys with keys, where you turn the key a few times, and the toy moves. These kinds of toys aren’t easy to find anymore since toys with buttons have replaced them.
Guess what, I found the most amazing toy store in Amsterdam with such kinds of old-school toys. The shop is small and has two levels. I spent so long here with my friend and we fell in love with almost all the toys here.
Wooden toys are super famous in Amsterdam and you can buy them too at Mechanisch Speelgoed. My daughter is too old for simple wooden toys but I did get her other mechanical toys.
I bought a pink robot for my little girl with a key. When you turn the key a few times, the robot walks. I understand this isn’t an “Amsterdam-specific” souvenir but it was a perfect gift for my little girl.
Van Gogh Souvenirs
If there’s one touristy souvenir that you want to buy, then let it be this. Unless you are living under a rock, then you surely know who Vincent Van Gogh was. His extremely bright and colorful watercolor masterpieces are famous all over the world.
I highly recommend you visit Van Gogh Museum and get a nice souvenir from the museum shop. In case you don’t end up visiting the Van Gogh Museum Shop, you can still find a lot of souvenirs that depict his art pieces.
For example, you can buy Starry Starry Night tote bags, self-portrait socks, mugs, and many of his other artworks featured on backpacks, scarves, tee shirts, and whatnot.
You will also find Van Gogh souvenirs at Schiphol Airport. If you forget to buy them there too, you can also order them from the Van Gogh Museum shop that’s online.
From Hortus Botanicus Gift Shop
Dutch farmers and gardeners are world-famous, so you should try to visit Hortus Botanicus while you are in Amsterdam. It turns out that one of the best things that I bought from my daughter was from the gift shop here.
During my weekend in Amsterdam, I went to Hortus Botanicus and bought 3-D butterflies that we assembled together like a puzzle and hung them in her room with a transparent thread and they looked like they were actually floating.
Hortus Botanicus is somewhat off the radar for tourists but it is nonetheless historical and is truly Dutch. There is a butterfly room in Hortus Botanicus and the memory of that remains with me when I look at the 3-D butterflies that I bought from there.
Jenever (Gin) or Dutch Beer
Do you enjoy alcoholic drinks? If yes then one of the best Amsterdam souvenirs for you is Jenever, a kind of Dutch gin. (Just like you’d pick Mezcal if you go to Oaxaca). Jenever is the juniper-flavoured traditional liquor in the Netherlands. If you think Jenever was inspired by British gin, you’re wrong – it was the other way around.
Amsterdam is known as one of the “jenever cities” or jeneversteden. It is made by is made by The Stillery, Van Wees, and Wynand Fockink. Traditionally it is served in a tulip-shaped glass.
If you enjoy beer then most likely you have already tried Dutch beer, after all, Heinekin is popular all over the world. But if you visit Amsterdam, look beyond Heinekin and try the craft beer. Of course, you can’t carry craft beer back home, instead buy Amstel and Grolsch.
The best place to buy Jenever and Dutch beer is at Schiphol Airport duty-free shops.
Something for Smokers (Cannabis related items)
We all know Amsterdam has a cannabis culture and if you or any of your friends smoke then a truly authentic souvenir that you can buy from this city is something marijuana-related.
No, you can’t buy weed or joints and carry them outside Amsterdam – it’s not legal and not worth the risk. Instead, you can buy weed crushers, pipes, bongs, wooden crushing bowls, and many other things that depict Amsterdam’s liberal ganja culture.
Walk around Amsterdam’s city center and you will see many “head shops” or “smart shops” in the sinful neighborhood of De Wallen where you can buy cannabis-related souvenirs in Amsterdam. Read my Amsterdam Coffeeshops post to get more info about the city’s marijuana scene.
When you are in a smart shop or a head shop, a good thing to buy is CBD oil. These aren’t illegal in most countries and in Germany, one can buy and use CBD oil that has less than 0.2% THC.
The CBD Oil that is normally available in the Netherlands is 0.05% THC, which should work fine with most of the countries but please check the restrictions of your home country before you buy it and fly back with it.
I haven’t personally used CBD Oils but I have heard that they help people who have insomnia, chronic pain, etc.
Cocomel is a Dutch chocolate and caramel drink that is super delicious. It is a Dutch brand and is available everywhere in Amsterdam.
Chocomel is sometimes available in Germany, Belgium, France, and the UK too like other Dutch products, but it is an excellent souvenir to buy for someone who likes chocolate milk. You can buy the small tetra packs that are further packed together in a group of 6, and if you pack smart then it won’t explode.
I have mentioned over and over that the Dutch gardens and gardeners are world-famous. If you have a garden of your own or if you know of someone who does, then buy them garden art.
This can be something small and cute like LED-powered butterflies, pinwheels, and even small windmills that move when it is windy.
Rain Poncho with Amsterdam Logo
Do you know it can rain anytime in Amsterdam? So Amsterdam is a perfect place to get a rain poncho because they are sold everywhere.
If you want to buy a funny souvenir, buy one of those typical one-time-use rain ponchos that cost just between 3-5 Euros and they look like you’re wearing a trash bag. They come in a tiny pack so you can just put them in your backpack and forget about them. Thank me on a rainy day when you can finally wear it.
Honestly, you can definitely use them more than once and I have used them over and over again while cucling and I love how comfortable they are.
These rain ponchos are affordable and functional. So they are truly the best things you can buy for friends who like the outdoors.
Sinterklaas is Sint-Nicolaas – a Dutch depiction of Saint Nicholas that became the Christmas icon that we know today – Santa Claus. If you are traveling to Amsterdam during the holiday time in November and December, then you will surely find a lot of Sinterklaas souvenirs and some are really funny.
Sinterklaas has a white horse and a helper called Zwarte Piet. The day of the feast day of Sinterklaas is December 6th in the Netherlands (also in Germany). So right around this date, you will see a lot of cute Christmas decor that features Sinterklaas.
Buy your own Sinterklaas for home so that you can remind yourself of your travels when you open your Christmas decoration box back home.
Dutch Christmas Tree Ornaments
Another one for the holidays, if you are going to be in Amsterdam in November and December, then it is the perfect place to buy one-of-a-kind Christmas tree ornaments as souvenirs.
You will find cute wooden clogs, hanging canal houses, windmills, bicycles, and many other small things that depict aspects of this Dutch capital. Add these unique ornaments to your Christmas decoration box so that you get reminded of your travels to Amsterdam when you’re back home.
I’m all about buying functional and usable souvenirs and I hardly ever buy decor unless it is super special (like canal houses). So let me present to you one last souvenir idea – get a jigsaw puzzle with Amsterdam’s cityscape.
Unlike Dutch snacks or drinks, this is one souvenir that you will enjoy over and over with your family or friends. It also makes an amazing gift!
Closing Thoughts on Amsterdam Souvenirs
I have a tip for you – you don’t always need to spend money to buy a souvenir. You can save small mementos like your city transport card, or paper coaster in a bar where you had an amazing time.
I loved this simple coaster at Bar Bukowski and I carried it home as a reminder of my solo trip to Amsterdam. I stuck it onto my fridge with a magnet and voila – I have a perfect souvenir that tells a story.
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