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The largest flea market in Europe

No kidding, the largest and most awesome flea market is in Amsterdam! If you love vintage, antiques, secondhand, unsuspected treasures or bargains, this is the place to be. Last weekend I indulged in some street haggling and impulse purchases at the flea market IJ-Hallen.

Treasures and trash at the IJ-Hallen
Treasures and trash at the IJ-Hallen

Very popular with locals!

This place is a true hotspot with locals. Not only do locals love to shop at the flea market, but they also rent tables to sell their treasures and trash. My 8-year old niece, also a local, insisted on accompanying me. She instantly turned into a  treasure hunter when she spotted, even before entering, a giant stuffed cheetah! After I explained the art of street haggling to her, which she did not understand at all, she luckily changed her mind.

What will you find?

The list of items you will find is endless: (vintage) clothes, shoes, camera’s, vintage furniture, bags and clutches, vases, kitchenware,  ice skates, toys, sculptures, paintings, and many many super random items. In the pictures below you will see the most random items we could find at the IJ-Hallen.

Some tips

Should you bargain? Yes, you should, even if it is just for fun. There will be a mixture of professional sellers and private individuals. Buying from private individuals is a lot more fun as they often act like car dealers just not selling cars and usually for cheap.

Cash or card? I would definitely bring cash because the best bargains you get from private sellers and they only take cash. You will find ATM’s at the Central Station and also one after disembarking from the ferry (usually a long queue).

Best time to go? This flea market takes place once a month (on the weekend). The next one will be on the weekend of 15 and 16 June 2019. Thereafter on 27-28 July, 17-18 August, and 7-8 September. Check their calendar for more dates in 2019. In winter the market is indoors.

Where should you go for drinks?

You will find some snacks and drinks at the IJ-Hallen premises but my favorite place is bar/restaurant Pllek (it means place but deliberately written with double L so that would be Pllace). Pllek is at walking distance from the IJ-Hallen just by the river IJ. Reportedly, 75% of their menu is vegetarian of which 25% vegan. It is not only their menu that is very appealing to me, it’s location by the river gives you a sweeping panoramic view. This is one of these local hidden gems that visitors don’t know about. Take a close look at Pllek’s ‘architecture’, it is made of shipping containers cut open!

Bar/restaurant Pllek with a sweeping panoramic view.
Bar/restaurant Pllek with a sweeping panoramic view.

How do you get there?

You simply take a ferry right behind Central Station. The ferries are free of charge and leave every so many minutes. For the IJ-Hallen and Pllek you have to take the ferry towards NDSM-werf. From here it is a 5-minute walk, just follow the crowd.

(PS The ferry will pass by the most striking cinema of Amsterdam: the EYE filmmuseum).

About the author: Laura Danielle is a co-founder of Comedy Walks: stand-up comedy shows with the city as a stage, or, if you like, city tours with a professional stand-up comedian as a guide. We currently run Comedy Walks in Amsterdam and Washington DC. By far the most fun way to explore a city!

All information in the blog posts is based on personal experiences and commission free (“I rather drink coffee with inspiring entrepreneurs than compete with them for 20 cents commission for our customers’ coffee” – Laura Danielle).