Cheer up your Monday mornings with a to visit the Westermarkt and Noordermarkt. The Westermarkt runs the length of the Westerstraat and the Noordermarkt is held on the square in front of the Noorderkerk. There was some talk of the market closing a few years back as the young professionals who had moved into the area didn’t like having their beauty sleep disturbed so early (aw, diddums). Common sense prevailed though and the market is fortunately still going strong.
The market starts at around 8am and finishes around 1pm every Monday except Bank Holidays. It’s best to get there either early, between 8am – 10am, or later from 12am-1pm. That way you avoid the crush down the narrow aisle between traders, which can get claustrophobic and is bad for your toes. Bargain hunters are not usually well known for their good manners, are they? You can get some real ‘koopjes’ as the Dutch call them and if you are at all Magpie-inclined, i.e. love anything sparkly, then the Indian fabric stalls are irresistible ! Discover your inner Diva with all those sequins, satins, velvets and gauzy fabrics. The haberdashery stalls are excellent too if you want to individualise your clothing. Now, with the current trend for make-do-and- mend the fabric market is on the up. Haggling is not usually appreciated by the Dutch stallholders, so unless you’re buying a huge length of fabric, I wouldn’t recommend it. Even my Dutch hubby who’s well known for his bargaining skills rarely has any joy on this market.
The Noordermarkt section has mainly vintage and ethnic clothing with a few bric a brac and furniture sellers. If it’s extremely busy on the Westermarkt section then it’s often quieter here where there’s more room to spread out. If you get peckish try a loempia (Indonesian spring roll) or go to the Winkel for their legendary warm apple tart and whipped cream. There will be a queue so be patient! My favourite haunt for lunch is Basilico, an Italian delicatessen that serves delicious rolls. A bit off the beaten track but well worth the walk. Freshly made pasta and other treats are on offer as well if you want to pick up authentically Italian ingredients for your evening meal.
When I was more active on the belly dancing scene I visited the market regularly for inexpensive, exotic fabrics to make circular skirts, harem pants and veils. As you can see from the photos I didn’t know when to stop… Over the years I have had loads of fun teaching women the basics of belly dance and how to embrace their femininity during hen-party workshops and weekly lessons. Earned a bob or two as well! My belly dancing self is taking some time out at present but don’t worry, she’ll be back!