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The Dutch capital didn’t manage to make itself the epicentre of a Golden Age without knowing a thing or two about trading. The legacy of canny consumerism lives on in the Amsterdam of the 21st century, which boasts more than 10,000 shops. Sure, you could pick up yellow clog-shaped magnets or miniature houses on Rembrandtplein, but going off-piste can really pay off. Cast your net a little wider (or even pop into a regular supermarket) to bag something that’s authentically Amsterdam, often at a fraction of the price. Tasteful Van Gogh merchandise or ethical chocolate – just remember: if it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much.
Gin Mayo is what happened when the wags behind one of Amsterdam’s most popular restaurants – Mossel & Gin – decided to throw together two local staples. An intoxicating blend of traditional Zaanse mayonnaise and Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin, this hipster condiment will enliven any sandwich. Originally a niche affair, it’s now available from Albert Heijn supermarkets around town.
One of the splendid things about a new flavour from Tony’s Chocolonely is you never know whether it’s going to be a limited edition, so stocking up feels entirely justified. Past numbers have included a honeycomb and cardamom bar, and a version suffused with disco sprinkles. Tony’s started in Amsterdam in 2005 with the ethos of slave-free chocolate, now it’s a welcome sight in most Dutch supermarkets.
The finest-smelling corner in the quaint Nine Streets shopping district belongs to local cosmetics brand Marie-Stella-Maris. Its woody No. 92 Objets d’Amsterdam fragrance is available as a room spray and a scented candle. The scent is inspired by this egalitarian city, and €1 per product sold goes to finance clean water projects worldwide. There’s even a café downstairs.
It’s a novel way to wear your heart – or at least your love of Amsterdam – on your sleeve. Designer Seroj de Graaf has created the perfect tribute to this city: solid silver cufflinks that resemble an endless row of picturesque canal houses. To get the details right, De Graaf studied drawings and photographs from the City Archive. Available from the purveyor of all things cool and Dutch, X-Bank.
Did you know that Vincent van Gogh was prone to using tea towels as a canvas for some of his paintings? Nor did we, until we heard the story behind this set of decorative dish driers from Droog – a minimalist take on the painter’s 1890 work, Landscape with Houses. Nestled next to one of Amsterdam’s most Instagrammable bridges, Droog is a trove of contemporary Dutch design.