The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Amsterdam

Do you love buying souvenirs to bring home from your travels? Enjoy our guide on the best Dutch souvenirs to buy in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Amsterdam

BeerCheese | Clogs | Miffy | Pickled Gherkins | Royal Delftware | SausagesSpeculaas Biscuits & Spread | Spiced CakeSpirits & Liqueurs |Stroopwafels | Tulip Bulbs

Beer

De Bierkoning beer shop in Amsterdam

Image by Bernt Rostad (Creative Commons)

Many of the bars in Amsterdam serve a lot of Belgian beer, as well as big, internationally known brands so you will need to actively seek out Dutch beer. The city is perhaps most famous for Heineken (and indeed the factory tour remains popular), but there are also some very fine traditional and modern ales made in the Netherlands too.

Cafe ‘t Arendsnest and Brouwerij ‘t IJ (Amsterdam’s longest standing craft brewery) are two of our personal recommendations for anyone wanting to try a range of Dutch beer, and the latter sells its beers in bottles as well as on tap. ‘t Arendsnest does its best to stock beer from every one of the country’s 50+ breweries, with a whopping 30 on tap, and many more in bottles.

As well as seeking it out to enjoy whilst there, we recommend you look for Dutch beer to bring home. Buy at Brouwerij ‘t IJ, visit a specialist beer shop such as De Bierkoning, check the selection in a general alcohol store (Gall & Gall is a well known chain), or pop into one of the late opening grocery shops like Avondwinkel Sterk.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats. Kavey Eats on Instagram.

Cheese

Dutch cheese in Amsterdam Dutch cheese in Amsterdam

Dutch cheese is well known around the world. There has been a strong cheese-making tradition in the Netherlands, dating back to 400 AD, and cheese markets have been catering to international buyers for hundreds of years.

Gouda (a semi-soft cows milk cheese) and Edam (a semi hard cows milk cheese) are the two most famous cheeses, but you can also look for Maasdam (a semi-hard cows milk with large holes, much like Swiss cheese). It’s also worth looking for Boerenkaas (a farmhouse cheese usually made by hand from raw buffalo, cow, goat or sheep milk).

Another thing to look for are the many, many flavoured cheeses available. Traditional flavours are mostly spice and herb based – cumin, basil, black pepper, fenugreek, garlic. The prevalence of these spices date back to the days of the Dutch East Indies empire, when the import of such spices to Europe became commonplace. Today, you’ll also find new flavour ideas such as pesto, chilli and nettle.

For blue cheese lovers, look out for Delft Blue (named for the famous ceramics, this is a creamy blue-veined cows milk cheese).

Street markets usually have stalls selling plain and flavoured Gouda and Edam but it’s also worth visiting some of the many cheese shops in Amsterdam, where you can find a wider range of cheeses available. The Amsterdams Kaashuis, owned by cheese producer Henri Willig, is a good bet and you can sample the cheeses before you buy.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Clogs

Clogs and Clog Factory in Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam

Originating in Holland, Clogs are wooden shoes that are worn all over the world, particularly in agricultural and mining prominent countries. Each country has unique patterns and colors in the way clogs are designed. Clogs in Amsterdam or Netherlands are colorfully decorated and they make for an excellent souvenir to take back home.

One of the oldest clogs was found in Amsterdam Netherlands, dating back to the mid 13th century. There are tours to clog factories to learn how clogs are made and how Hollanders use them even today.

You can easily find shops selling clogs in and around Amsterdam, particularly at the souvenir stores in Damrak.

When you select a pair of clogs to take home, check that they are made in the Netherlands. You may like to include a windmill or tulip design as it makes the souvenir truly special and a reminder of the destination you visited. The best clogs are hand made items. A pair of clogs is not very heavy, even though they are made of wood, so you can definitely carry them back home.

Souvenir stores and gift shops also carry miniature clogs in the form of key-chains, fridge magnets and wall display. They are great options as souvenirs if space is an issue to carry full size clogs.

By Mayuri Kashyap, author of To Someplace New. Find her on Instagram.

Miffy

Miffy shop in Amsterdam

Image by Gonnie (Wikimedia Commons)

Beloved rabbit cartoon Miffy is the creation Dutch artist Dick Bruna, who wrote and llustrated the first book in 1955. Called Nijntje in the Netherlands, Miffy is a globally recognised character.

If you’re a Miffy fan, visit De Winkel van Nijntje store, on Scheldestraat in Amsterdam’s Scheldebuurt neighbourhood. You will be blown away by the selection of Miffy items, from books and a wide range of toys, to kitchenware and school packed-lunch boxes, to clothing, to lamps and lightshades, to clocks and money boxes, to childrens’ furniture, to magnets and keyrings.

Be aware that you can find some of the items in the store cheaper elsewhere, but you won’t find as large a selection.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Pickled Gherkins

Gherkins, Amsterdam Maatje (soused herring) and gherkins, Amsterdam

Maatjes – lightly soused herrings – are one of my favourites of the street food in Amsterdam. Meltingly soft, these herrings are traditionally served with gherkins and raw onion, with or without a soft white bread roll. The best I tasted were from Vlaardingse Haringhandel at the Albert Cuyp Street Market, in business since 1916.

Although the soused herrings may not travel well, the sweet sharp pickled gherkins were so good that when I spotted them on sale by the jar, I bought some to bring home.

Gherkis may not be the most obvious souvenir to bring back from Amsterdam but even without the herring, I was reminded of Amsterdam when I ate them. Mine were €2.50 a jar.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Royal Delftware

Royal Delft in the factory showroom

If you are keen on displaying something rather special at home from your trip to the Netherlands, you can’t really go wrong in picking up a piece of a piece of genuine Delftware. The best, most authentic Delftware you can buy is the iconic Royal Delft, still made by hand in the Dutch city of Delft.

Delftware is earthenware having an opaque white glaze with an overglaze decoration, usually in blue but there some made with many other colours. However, you should be aware that there is a huge difference between the mass-produced, inexpensive, tourist-style ‘Delft Blue’ products – and real, antique Delftware. We are talking about the brilliant blue and white handmade pottery, deeply rooted in Dutch culture and history. It is this exquisite Delftware, which can be up to 400 years old, and is sought after by collectors the world over.

Delftware has its origins back in the 17th Century when the Dutch sailors and explorers first brought back Chinese porcelain from the Far East. This porcelain proved extremely popular and shortly after Dutch potters started to imitate it and perfected this craft to a very high standard.

Today you can purchase Delftware and Royal Delft in various stores across the Netherlands. However always ensure that it comes with a certificate of authenticity to ensure it is genuine. Better yet, catch the train from Amsterdam for around a 45-minute trip to Delft to visit Royal Delft and see the factory and the wide range that is available. You can also order online and even have a ‘bespoke’ piece tailored for you.

By Nicole Anderson, author of Camping for Women

Sausages

Rookworst

Image by Martijn van Exel (flickr creative commons)

I love sausages, so I always look out for local cured sausages that can safely be transported back home, without refrigeration.

One good option is Rookworst, which translates as ‘smoked sausage’, and is made from minced pork meat, spices and salt, stuffed into a sausage casing and smoked. These days, smoke flavourings are sometimes used as a short cut, so buy from a good deli and ask for traditionally smoked versions. Rookworst is often a key element of a traditional stamppot, a dish of fresh and fermented vegetables, potato mashed with apple or pear, and the smoked sausage, though sometimes bacon or stewed meat are served instead.

Another speciality is Ossenworst, a smoked raw beef sausage, also flavoured with spices and salt. The key difference, other than the type of meat, is that this sausage is cold smoked, such that the meat remains raw.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Speculaas Biscuits & Spread

Speculaas paste Speculaas biscuits

Speculaas (also spelled speculoos) are absolutely delicious crunchy biscuits flavoured with sugar and mixed spices – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and white pepper. Traditionally baked for St Nicholas’ Feast in early December, nowadays they are available all year round. Often, the biscuits have a picture stamped onto the front before baking, making them an attractive souvenir or gift.

You’ll find the biscuits available in many bakeries and shops around the city, and you can buy the main commercial brands from a supermarket for much less. Lotus is one of best known brands, but there are others also worth trying, including Vermeiren.

Also look out for speculaas paste, a thick, spreadable condiment with the same flavour as the biscuits. It’s wonderful on bread or toast, or used in sweet bakes but it’s hard not to eat it in big spoonfuls straight from the jar.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Spiced Cake

Spiced cake

Image by Takeaway (Wikimedia Commons)

Dutch spiced cake is known by a few different names – kruidkoek (spice cake), ontbijtkoek (breakfast cake) and peperkoek (pepper cake). The second of those names should give you the clue that it’s a popular breakfast choice, but of course this spiced cake is good at any time of the day.

Often sweetened with honey, this is a dense, light brown cake, commonly made with rye flour; ginger is one of the key flavours alongside cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and black pepper. Particularly for breakfast, it’s served sliced with a thick spread of butter.

Find it in bakery’s, grocery shops and supermarkets.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Spirits & Liqueurs

Speculaas Liqueur by Zuidam

We first came across the Zuidam brand in a beautiful Amsterdam bar called Cafe ‘t Arendsnest. While Pete worked his way through several excellent beers, on tap, the barman introduced me to amaretto and speculaas liqueurs.

Established in 1975, Zuidam are a distillery based in Baarle-Nassau in the Southern Netherlands. They produce whisky, gin, genever and a range of liqueurs including fruits such as cassis, cherry, orange, pear, strawberry, and other flavours like amaretto, chocolate, coffee, honey, speculaas and vanilla.

You can find these and other brands in alcohol shops in Amsterdam.

By Kavita, author of Kavey Eats.

Stroopwafels

A Dutch stroopwafel

One of the souvenirs you must buy in The Netherlands is the ‘stroopwafel’ – syrup/caramel waffle in English. They are one of the most famous sweet snacks that originate from The Netherlands, and very tasty. A stroopwafel exists of two very thin layers of waffle, with a layer of stroop (syrup or caramel) sandwiched in the middle.

You can find stroopwafels in every bakery, supermarket and weekly or daily market. But the best stroopwafels are the ones that are freshly made. The warm ’stroop’ flows out of the waffle with every bite you take. And it’s even better if you have a warm cup of tea or coffee, as the syrup will melt even further when you place the stroopwafel on top of the warm cup.

It’s best to bring prepackaged stroopwafels home with you as a souvenir anyway since the fresh ones won’t last long and are way better to eat as soon as you buy them. The easiest way to bring stroopwafels home, is by visiting a supermarket. I haven’t bought a package of Dutch stroopwafels in a supermarket that was not tasty.

One thing is for sure, your family and friends will thank you for bringing these tasty Dutch goods home.

By Manon van Schagen, author of Visiting The Dutch Countryside. Find her on Instagram.

Tulip Bulbs

Tulip in a can from Amsterdam, Netherlands

While the Netherlands is famous for quite a few things that translate well into souvenirs, one of the most prominent is tulips. From March to May, large part of Holland become covered in colorful tulip fields stretching for miles. As a result, tulips have become one of the primary and most well-known symbols of Holland.

Taking a piece of the Netherlands back home in the form of a tulip is the best way to remember your adventures. What’s even better is that the Netherlands has a very unique and special way of presenting this. To bring a tulip home from the Netherlands, tourists can purchase a decorated tin can with one tulip bulb in the color of their choice. These tulip bulb cans can be found at the Floating Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) in Amsterdam for 3.50 euros per can.

You can also buy seed packets and loose bulbs for tulips and other plants in the Floating Flower Market.

This is an extraordinary souvenir to purchase because you get to plant it once you are home and watch it grow. It is also a very thoughtful gift to bring to any flower lover in your life.

By Samantha Karen, author of Sam Sees World. Find her on Instagram.

Best Souvenirs to Buy in Amsterdam

Find more of my posts on the best souvenirs to buy around the world.

Images contributed by authors of each souvenir, or used with attribution courtesy of Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons.

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
20 Comments to "The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Amsterdam"

  1. Linda (LD Holland)

    I must admit that we often do not bring souvenirs back when we travel. Generally it is only food or drink that we know we will consume quickly. Amsterdam cheese would certainly be something we would look for. We did not try Speculaas biscuits when we visited. But that would be a snack we will look for on a return visit. But we did love the Stroopwafels. So glad you included lots of food and drink on your souvenir list.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Linda, we too tend to prioritise food and drink souvenirs, though we do make some exceptions!

    Reply
  2. Snigdha

    Hi Kavey,
    Great collection of recommended souvenirs. Lovely pictures, too.
    But can I add Wilhelmina Pepermunt sweets to the list?
    They are lush!
    with love
    Snigdha

    Reply
  3. Dada

    So great tips of what to bring home from Amsterdam! As often as we can we try to bring something to consume to families and friends and you definitely have so many on your list! We have bought once Stroopwafels (they are sooo delicious), Cheese but since we are from Switzerland we were a bit disappointed with the cheese we bought from Amsterdam. Now next time, I would like to try the sausages!

    Reply
  4. Kathryn Burrington

    Oh goodness, me and my sister used to love Miffy. We found one of these books just last week while sorting out some stuff at Mum’s. We couldn’t bear to throw it out so we kept it!

    Reply
  5. Yukti Agrawal

    Wow there are so many beautiful things to bring from Amsterdam. I would love to buy wooden clogs as they look very unique and authentic thing to bring. Even stroopwafels look must buy in The Netherlands as they are one of the famous sweet snacks originating here. Tulip bulbs also look good option but then it depend on season or weather of my country where I live as it is very hot and so I guess can’t be cultivated here. It is good you listed from where to purchase these souvenirs.

    Reply
  6. Clarice

    I love Miffy. I did not know they still exist. I had quite a lot of Miffy stuff when I was 7 or 8 years old but it was not so popular here in the Philippines and we really do not have a store selling them. Most of my merchandise were gifts from my family abroad. I would love to visit this store if I get the chance. Lots of good memories.

    Reply
  7. Parnashree Devi

    This is a great list of souvenirs. I am definitely going to buy Clogs, Stroopwafels, and Cheese for sure. I have started collected wine and drinks from different parts of the world. So I would definitely buy Spirits & Liqueurs. I am sure that taste of Stroopwafels must be super delicious.

    Reply
  8. Fae Celine

    I’ve seen a Miffy Souvenir shop in Arashiyama during my trip to Japan. I didn’t know its actually created by a Dutch artist. I thought that character is from Japan. This is a great list of Souvenirs to buy in Amsterdam.

    Reply
  9. Archana Singh

    I am not much into souvenirs. Usually, just collect fridge magnets and shot glasses. But your tips on what to bring home from Amsterdam is wonderful. I would love to bring some beer, pickled Gherkins, clogs, cheesed and spiced cake. They look so different.

    Reply
  10. Shreya Saha

    That’s a great list of souvenirs to pick up from Amsterdam. Pickled gherkins are something I would love to collect from there. Also a pair of clogs would be a great option.

    Reply
  11. Helga

    Wow… I literally just made a list of all the things I want from what was mentioned in your article. Thanks 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  12. Ann

    Although I have never heard of spiced cake officially, I love to add some nice spices to my carrot cake when I make it. No one else likes it that way but me so I’m pleasantly surprised to see that spiced cake is something that is enjoyed elsewhere by others, and that I am not alone in this. Nice photos as well!

    Reply

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