The nicest shopping areas in NL

Edition 19 April 2019, by Bárbara Luque

Rain, wind or thunder have never stopped life in the Netherlands, and let’s be honest, there is always a good excuse to shop. But now that spring has arrived, the sun has come out, and people are more eager to get out of the house, shopping will be an even better experience. Now that we are in the subject, is your wardrobe ready for this weird spring/autumn going on? As big or small a shop you need, we have you covered!

The Netherlands offers a great variety of shopping centers, both indoors and outdoors, where you can find everything you need to calm down your inner retail fanatic, who has anxiously been waiting for that shopping spree to start.

We have done our research and created the ultimate guide of the best shopping cities and shopping centers, so you can take advantage of your day off and splurge your way into a shopping extravaganza.

Here are the ten best shopping cities according to the Hotel Specials website. We added specific information on the best shopping spots, including the largest shopping centers according to Glamour Style; the nicest indoor shopping centers, by Cosmo Girl; and the eight best shopping spots as recommended by Tripadvisor users.

1.      Leiden

Number one on the list of best shopping cities in the country is Leiden. With around 650 stores altogether, Haarlemmerstraat and Breestraat are the largest shopping streets in the city and include the most popular retail chains.

If what you’re looking for is discovering boutiques and specialty shops, antiques or delicatessen stores and art galleries, poke around in the alleys of the Pieterskwartier, a historic part of Leiden.

2.     Haarlem

The city of Haarlem, named as the best shopping city in the country three times, is very diverse. It offers something for every taste, from vintage stores to large fashion chains, although most stores belong to small, independent entrepreneurs.

If you are interested in popular retail stores, you will find them in Grote Houtstraat. On the other hand, if what you’re looking for is handmade products, anything from jewelry to clothing, you can find your pick in Schagchelstraat.  Gierstraat will lead you to more than 50 special shops, located in 18 grade I listed monuments.

3.     Maastricht

This city is considered the ultimate fashion city of the Netherlands. The shopping area, which includes authentic specialty shops in the field of fashion, accessories and design, is divided into different streets and areas.

For large retail chains like Hema, H&M and C&A, visit City-Noord, while in the historic Wyck district you will find anything from art, antiques, design, living, fashion to delicatessen shops.

4.     Utrecht

Hotel Specials calls this city a paradise for shopping enthusiasts. Whether on the canal, in the canal, or around the canal, you can shop your way through the Dom City. The most interesting spot in this old city is Hoog Catharijne, the largest indoor shopping mall in the country – this is certainly a place where you can shop till you drop.

Is that not enough? Then take a walk through the city center! In the historic streets you can find popular department stores as well as boutiques, trendy shops, a great flower market, an organic farmer’s market and the Streekmarkt.

Oudegracht and the Museum Quarter are also great shopping spots, especially for second-hand and vintage items. And if you’re looking for something from young fashion designers, visit the boutiques in Voorstraat and Schoutenstraat.

5.     Rotterdam

The best and most popular street for shopping in the city is Koopgoot, while Coolsingel and Lijnbaan are great streets to find fashion, sports and department stores.

For unique boutiques, visit Van Oldenbarneveltstraat in the Lijnbaankwartier, the artistic Witte de Withstraat, Nieuwe Binnenweg in the Museum Quarter and the Pannekoekstraat in the Laurens Quarter.

You can’t miss it when in Rotterdam: the amazing Markthal, the largest market in the city, with and amazing architecture and internal design, with many stalls which offer an incredible amount of delicacies from around the world. The Markthal is number one in Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers in the country.

Alexandrium is another perfect spot for shopping in this city. This indoor shopping mall is the largest shopping center in Rotterdam and consists of three parts, which make it very diverse, so it offers enough variety to entertain everyone. Here you can find nice stores such as Zara, River Island, Primark and JD Sports. Alexandrium is number seven on Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers in the Netherlands.

Also in Rotterdam, you will find Zuidplein, an indoor shopping center where you can find a Kruidvat, TK Maxx, New Yorker, Primark and Zara, among other great stores.

6.     Amsterdam

If you live in Amsterdam or are visiting the city, your first stop will be Kalverstraat, Leidsestraat and PC Hooftstraat, the most famous shopping streets, full of exclusive shops, department stores and small boutiques.

Other interesting shopping spots in Amsterdam include the Haarlemmerbuurt, with more than 235 shopping and dining options; the stores in the Jordaan, with a unique range of specialized stores for vintage products, and the Amsterdam-Zuid neighborhood, with chic designer stores such as Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Chanel.

Furthermore, one of the largest shopping center in the country is here: Batavia Stad. In this gigantic fashion outlet you can shop for hours at hugely affordable prices. This spot has plenty of nice streets and squares where you can also enjoy some great food options. Batavia Stad is number five on Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers.

7.      Den Bosch

This city is full of trendy fashion stores, boutiques and hip concept stores, both in its large shopping streets as well as the not-so-crowded side streets.

For long shopping days, you can then relax in any of the plenty nice restaurants and bars in the city.

8.     Zwolle

Eight on the list comes Zwolle, known for old characteristic buildings and make shopping in the city a very historic experience.

The main shopping streets are Sassenstraat and Luttekerstraat, where you can find boutiques, vintage stores and design stores. If you want to explore the big chain stores, go to Diezerstraat.

9.     The Hague

There’s a lot to see and plenty to shop in The Hague. Starting from Central Station, you can walk along Herengracht, Korte Poten, Lange Poten and Spuistraat. Throughout the city there are many shopping spots in the characteristic squares, streets and markets, including De Passage, the oldest existing shopping center in the country.

The Passage is an incredibly beautiful and stylish building in the city center, housing various shops and large fashion chains. The Passage is number two on Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers in the country.

There are also big retail chains as well as surprising independent shops in the city. In Denneweg, you can find chic shops, art galleries and plenty of good restaurants.

10. Alkmaar

This was named shopping city of 2017 for its large offer of fashion chains, small streets and unique boutiques.

The most popular shopping streets are Laat and Langestraat, and there are intriguing small businesses on Houttil, Hekelstraat and Huisbrouwerstraat, where you will find jewelers, restaurants, gift shops, vintage shops, trendy boutiques and coffee shops.

Even more shopping cities

Arnhem- The largest shopping city of Gelderland is full of special boutiques, nice food shops and cafes. The Modekwartier is a creative spot full of up-and-coming talent, established names and craftsmen. In the Kronenburg area you will find brands such as Douglas, Jeans Center and Only.

Roermond- This “surprise from the south”, as the ANWB calls it, has an outlet store with major brands such as Gucci and Prada, and a real Walk of Fame.

Deventer- The city that loves Dickens is also a great spot for your shopping spree. Including Hipshop, Havenkwartier, Hoge Ramen and Bergkwartier, amongst many others, this city ensures a nice stroll for your shopping needs.

Delft- The city of narrow canals offers a great variety of cafes and a nice shopping area right in its center. Would you rather shop some Delftware? Go to the Royal Delft Experience. Hungry for chocolate? Look for Van der Burgh Chocolade.

Other great shopping centers

Designer Outlet- One of the largest shopping centers is Designer Outlet in Roermond. Just a bit smaller than Batavia Stad in size, you can shop here while getting advantage of the great outlet prices. Designer Outlet is number three in Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers in the country.

City Mall- If you like a more relaxed shopping, visit City Mall at Almere, number four in Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers in the Netherlands.

Middenwaard- If you like to shop while enjoying the sun (or the rain), go to Middenwaard shopping center in Heerhugowaard. This is number eight in Tripadvisor’s recommendations for shopping centers.

Stadshart- If you go to beautiful Zoetermeer, visit the Stadshart, which combines small shops with large retail chains.

Heuvel- In Eindhoven, you will find this shopping center with more than 80 stores and restaurants. Brands such as H&M, Foot Locker and Sacha can be found here.

Vier Meren- In Hoofddorp, visit this shopping center to find stores like Flying Tiger, Mango and Ici Paris.

Pieter Vreedeplein- If you are in Tilburg, have a look at this shopping center, where you can buy clothes at Zara and Bershka. There’s also a movie theater in the mall.

De Bogaard- This indoor shopping mall in Rijswijk lets you enjoy a day visiting shops such as H&M, Vero Moda and Sneakers.

The Mall of the Netherlands

If you think you’ve already seen the largest and most beautiful shopping center in the country, you haven’t heard the great news. ‘The largest, most service oriented and innovative shopping center in the Netherlands’ is estimated to open in 2019.

Real estate developer Unibail-Rodamco is investing half a billion euros in the renovation of the outdated Leidsenhage shopping center. This shopping center in Leidschendam-Voorburg will become ‘the most beautiful, largest and most modern’ of the country. The project is expected to bring a large variety of big international retail companies.

Unibail is the largest owner of shopping centers in Europe and firmly believes in a modern and large-scale approach for its new centers. Otto Ambagtsheer, Benelux top man for Unibail, states that ‘The Mall of the Netherlands’ will have the ‘international character of the largest, most service-oriented and innovative shopping centers in the Netherlands’. This, he adds, is precisely the category of shopping malls that is missing in this country.

The fully renovated shopping mall will contain an immense movie theater, stores of major brand names as well as small authentic shops. The shopping experience will be enhanced by a full range of food and drink, entertainment and services.

Not only Unibail is positive about this new project: research by shopping research agency Strabo agrees with them. ‘I think this shopping center can become one of the winners’, says Hans van Tellingen, director of Strabo. Additionally, the renovated mall is located in one of the richest catchment areas of the Netherlands. Van Tellingen also agrees that this new project will attract appealing foreign chains.

French sports giant Decathlon and Canadian group Hudson’s Bay decided to enter the Dutch market only when they were certain that there was existing infrastructure to meet their requirements. Dutch company Blokker is also aware of this need, investing millions in modern stores.

An example of the big success of Unibail’s concept is the ‘Mall of Scandinavia’ in Stockholm. This impressive indoor shopping center covers 116,000 square meters and houses more than 200 stores, a movie theater and parking space for 4000 vehicles.

The expectation for this project is so big that regional channel TV West broadcasted a six-part tv series called “The Mall” about the renovation. This tv series focuses on the construction of the market ‘Fresh!’ and follows people involved in the construction, former retailers and new retailers that will become part of Fresh! The renovation of the Fresh! part of the mall includes around ten kiosks and 24 stores. The tv series can be watched via the website omroepwest.nl and the app for mobile and tablet.

There’s no doubt that the Netherlands offers great shopping centers. Regardless of what anyone may think, the magnitude with which the shopping culture has taken on the whole country is becoming more apparent each year. Are you on board with it? Which nice shopping city in the Netherlands will you discover next? No matter what your choice is, it will certainly be quite an adventure. Happy shopping!

For this article, Hotel Specials, Cosmo Girl, Tripadvisor, Zoover, Volkskrant, Leidsenhage Vernieuwt, Glamour Style and ANWB were used as sources. You can find more information on their websites.