IJ-Hallen: An Amsterdam Must

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Kees Lynch
March 11, 2024

Last semester, I published a blog post about fashion and shopping in Amsterdam. The style is great here, and you have easy access to lots of awesome clothing and accessories. I briefly wrote about IJ-Hallen, a flea market that happens once every four weeks, but after going back again a few weeks ago, I thought that it warranted its own blog post.

IJ-Hallen is the largest flea market in Europe. It happens once every four weeks, beginning on a Saturday morning and going until later afternoon on Sunday. It is located in NDSM, the former Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company) which is now a hip neighborhood in Amsterdam Noord. Located on the IJ river, one has to take a ferry there, which is a classic Amsterdam experience. The area is full of graffiti and abandoned industry, which provides the perfect backdrop for your flea market adventure. There’s a prominent art scene in NDSM, so if you’re feeling ambitious you could shop till you drop and check out some of the modern art museums back-to-back. NDSM really has it all.

The flea market itself is fairly easy to find—after getting off the ferry, walk or bike straight and a bit to the right, or just follow the hordes of people who come to find flea market treasure. It costs six euros to enter the flea market, which is a bit of a bummer, but it’s very easy to purchase a ticket either online or right at the entrance, and it’s worth every penny. As is the case with all flea markets, make sure to bring plenty of cash—the majority of places don’t accept card. There are a few places where you can send someone a Tikkie, which is essentially the Dutch version of Venmo. Having Tikkie is useful anyway for when you go out with your Dutch friends and split a bill—Venmo is nonexistent here. 

IJ-Hallen is split into two sections: indoor and outdoor. As long as it’s not freezing, pouring rain, or howling wind (though the latter two are actually kind of common), the outdoor section is open in some capacity. The first time I went, when it was hot and sunny, the outdoor section was (I think) the only section there, and it extended much further than when I’ve been in the colder winter weather. When the weather is worse, the outdoor section houses some of the “worse” stands, where selections are perhaps less appealing, but prices are cheaper. Don’t underestimate the outdoor stands, though. Last time I went, I bought a Prada bag for 50 euros, as well as a great summery button-up shirt, a thick colorful scarf, and a very baggy pair of jeans with basketball shorts cleverly incorporated into the design. I believe I only purchased a vintage deck of cards inside. The inside is, of course, magnificent. There are clothes as far as the eye can see, and in all styles; Norwegian sweaters, fur jackets, designer bags, cowboy hats, sneakers galore, True Religion and Ed Hardy jeans, and everything in between. Don’t be afraid to haggle—most shops without fixed prices will usually accept any deal that you offer within reason. If you play your cards right, you can easily save twenty euros in a day. You can also buy all sorts of vintage Dutch accessories and knick-knacks, from jewelry to records to books to posters. IJ-Hallen is the perfect place to find quirky Dutch souvenirs, room décor, or a casual read.

Shopping on the whole in Amsterdam is great. If you’re not careful, you could purchase a whole new wardrobe in the blink of an eye. Because I’m studying here the whole year, my closet has grown extensively—I am going to have a serious problem on my hands come June when I have to pack and fly home. Despite this, IJ-Hallen is a must-visit. It is just so remarkable to see all that it has to offer, and you can really spend a full day there if you’re so inclined—there’s plenty of traditional Dutch food stands dotted around the market to replenish your shopping energy. I hope you find as many gems as I have at IJ-Hallen! 

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Kees Lynch

Despite being a history major and studying history at the UvA this year, I am a passionate musician. I have been playing piano for over a decade, focusing largely on jazz, but I love to play guitar, banjo, and mandolin in my free time!

2023 Fall
Home University:
Skidmore College
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