Waterlooplein Flea Market, Amsterdam

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Travel Features >> Waterlooplein Flea Market, Amsterdam

Waterlooplein Flea Market, Amsterdam

July 26, 2011

Today the Waterlooplein Market (Waterloopleinmarkt) at Amsterdam is a place for second hand goods and antiques. But it wasn’t always only that. Dating back to the 1880s, when two canals were filled in to make a square, the Waterloo Square soon became the site of the Jewish Market. Through the early 1900s its reputation grew as a place where you could pick up just about anything.

Then came the Holocaust, the war and finally the formation of Israel in 1948, which meant that the Jews of Amsterdam like most others in Europe left the scarred continent for the homeland. Since then Waterloopleinmarkt or ‘the market on Waterloo Square’ has never regained its original personality.

It became instead, as the post-war recovery of Europe progressed, a place where people could buy furniture, books, clothes and other odds and ends at affordable prices. In the 60s and 70s, the era of flower power and peace demos, Amsterdam rapidly became the chosen destination of the ‘liberal generation’, and in Amsterdam, Waterlooplein the chosen spot. Jewellery, pipes (to smoke ‘the peace’ in), psychedelic clothes, funky junk and even things of real value like old books and antiques found their way to the market, which was thriving once again. And that is how Waterloopleinmarkt became a thriving flea market and popular with residenst and tourists as well.

Located behind the Town Hall, today the market has around 300 stalls selling quite a bit of the stuff that it used to. If you’re looking for a good browse among musty old books or for a funky artefact at a throwaway price or well, for furniture because you’ve loved Amsterdam so much you’re settling down there (these things do happen!), then head for the Waterloopleinmarkt.

The market is open six days a week (Sundays closed) from 10 am to 6 pm. It’s served by trams and the subway. If you’re driving, you could park at the Town Hall for a fee. If you’re on a boat tour down the Amstel, get off at the Jewish Museum – it is a pleasant 2-minute walk from the market.

Read on for more information on Amsterdam.

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