Usually, it started out with a conversation like this:

+ “What are we going to have for lunch?”
– “I don’t know. Can’t think of anything.”
+ “Me neither. Let’s go to the market, then.”

Or this:

+ “What are we going to do this weekend?”
– “I don’t know. Can’t think of anything.”
+ “Me neither.”
– “Visit the market?”
+ “Sure.”

While traveling, visiting local markets (and grocery stores) has always sat on the top of my bucket list. I love people-watching and local markets are the best place to do this while sipping a cup of freshly-pressed orange juice or having a bite of that delicious Kibbling (fried cod) sandwich–topped with onion sauce.

Amsterdam is vibrant with local markets.

Some of them, like the flower market (Bloemenmarkt), Waterlooplein flea market, Het Spui book market (Boekenmarkt) and the ever-popular Albert Cuyp Market can be pretty packed with tourists–but even then, I still find the whole experience entertaining.

It’s all about the music in the air, the clinging and clanging of goods and utensils, the explosion of scents and colors, and the murmurs on the stalls on the left, and on the right: everything is so alive, so vibrant, so attractive!

My favorites to visit are actually the neighborhood markets–smaller local markets in different residential areas where locals get their fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, and bread. The one closest to where I was staying the last time was the Ten Katemarkt in Amsterdam West (the hip foodcourt De Hallen is nearby!), and the other one I love is the Noordermarkt on Saturdays–when they have their farmer’s market.

Some tips before visiting the local market in Amsterdam:

  1. Find out what kind of market you’d like to visit. There are book market, flower market, flea market, fabric market, art market, vinyl market, and many more.
  2. See the opening days/hours. Some markets closed early (or completely closed) on certain days. You don’t want to be disappointed!
  3. If you don’t have enough time to explore the popular markets, find a neighborhood market that is closest to where you stay. You can always get some food there.

You can find more information about the local markets in Amsterdam (location, opening hours/days, and what they sell) here and here.

Personally, these are some of my favorite things to see (or buy!) when I visit Amsterdam’s local markets:

  1. Heavily-decorated vintage plates and cups.
  2. Old pins.
  3. Beautiful fabric.
  4. Delicacies from a country I’ve never visited, served from a food truck.
  5. Watercolor postcards or canvas paintings.
  6. Home-made jam, tea-mix, or spices.
  7. Potted plants!


When I’m alone, I can spend hours in these markets: standing in front of different stalls, sniffing the fresh produce, reading the labels on jars, running my fingers through vintage dining utensils, and admiring the naturally artistic way the sellers move behind their counters.

It reminds me of the feeling I have while I am sitting by the beach, gazing at the rolling waves licking the sand.
It’s strange how I can always feel somewhat calm in the midst of such a bustling environment.

Hanny Kusumawati


2 Responses

  1. I love visiting local markets (and supermarkets) too! They offer lots of local produce and it’s so different from what I see in Indonesia. Most of the food at local markets are also affordable so I always make sure to try this and that 😀

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We tend to shape our memories of them based on the limited time we spend with them—and our memories of them, over time, will be replaced with one single word, one single interaction, or one single feeling.
Beradadisini Love Letter to Self
I took up a personal journaling project this week: writing a love letter to myself before bed. I work on a thin A6-size handmade paper journal I got from a paper artist, Els. The journal is thin and small enough, so it doesn't overwhelm me. It feels like I am only going to work on a small project.
Standing up for yourself does not have to look aggressive. It does not have to feel like a fight. It's not always about convincing others or explaining yourself and your decisions with the hope that everyone else understands or accepts your choice.
Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer/artist/illustrator and stationery web shop owner (Cafe Analog) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.