Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Shopping in Amsterdam


For the girls (and well for the boys too): Where to go when shopping in Amsterdam?

Bijenkorf (means Beehive), an upscale department store in Amsterdam located by the Damrak. The building was built in 1911 with neo style design, a cross between baroque and classicism.
Bijenkorf in the Netherlands is synonymous to Harrods in the UK, Bloomingdales/Neiman Marcus in the USA, and Rustans in the Philippines. But compared to the British and the Americans, the Dutch have simpler tastes and shopping habits. Many would veer away from swiping their credit cards regularly and buying ridiculously priced goods. So if you are here on a visit and happen to drop by at our Bijenkorf showcase, do not ever commit the mistake of comparing or expecting to find a widespread variety of the same pompous items back home, because as I have said, the Dutch live simpler lives.

Fact is, I am extremely disappointed... we have more designer brands and bigger shops back home in Manila!

Magnificent Magna Plaza shopping center, situated at the back of the Damplein (Dam square) in Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.
This is the closest one can get to a mall in Amsterdam. Ostentatious I should say! Shopping experience will never be the same again if all malls in the world are designed like this.

Built in 1899 in neo-gothic and neo-renaissance style, the impressive building was Amsterdam’s former Post Office. It was renovated and re-opened into its magical glory in 1992 as a shopping and leisure plaza.

It’s grandiose interior. I just love those dramatic arches and period columns!
When I am in Amsterdam and I find enough time to bum around, I make sure that I drop by in this fabulous place. Not only is Mango here, there is also this signature/designer shop selling their items at super slashed prices, all year round up to 50% to 70% discounts! Such a treat, I must admit and ooh very tempting.

And when your feet are tired from all the shopping extravanganza, you can easily swing by to this hip Irish Pub just outside around the corner. Perfect.

Kalverstraat, Amsterdam’s biggest, longest and busiest shopping street.
This is the shopping paradise of the city where tourists and locals meet. The packed and busy street stretches and connects to smaller shopping side streets that also offers fetching goodies. If you’re an avid shopper, like any woman, it will take you a day or two to fully comb the whole place. Most major stores and leading brands can be found in this area.

The Dutch by the way prefer this type of “outside shopping” than the customary “shopping mall” (inside the box=mall shopping). As they say, it is the “ambience” that matters. That, coming from the culturally correct European.

We also have a street that houses upscale signature shops (read: expensive Italian and French designers) in PC Hooftstraat. It is just a small street that caters to a tiny clientele percentage in Holland, mostly the dignitaries, royals, celebrities and socialites. A lot of moneyed people here are relatively and unsuspectingly low profile and prefer to buy their clothes and personal items in not too expensive or rather cheap places.

Well, what can I say… Holland taught me the joy and pride of wearing a € 5 sale skirt!


Next entry: All about SUMMER SALE

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