Forget the plastic clogs and windmills you see in Amsterdam shops — you’ll want to bring home souvenirs that really reflect the city. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best things to take back with you after visiting the land of canals.
Cheese. Amsterdam is famous for its trading history and enterprising spirit. The Dutch East India Company, often considered to be the world’s first multinational company, was founded here in 1602 and introduced spices to the Dutch capital. Cheese made with cloves and chocolates flavored with peppercorns reflect this history and make unusual souvenirs.
Yes, you can bring cheese back to your home country — as long as it’s vacuum-packed. Reputable Amsterdam cheese stores, like De Kaaskamer in the Nine Streets, will vacuum pack your cheese purchases for you. Some stores will offer already packed cheese for sale (though these pre-packed cheeses aren’t always the highest quality).
Genever. The last remaining traditional distillery in Amsterdam is the family-run De Ooievaar. It is most famous for its genever (the precursor of gin), but also produces a range of liqueurs and old-fashioned bitters with evocative names like Rose Without Thorns and Bride’s Tears.
Beer. As distillers have moved out of the city, craft brewers have moved in. The best known is still Brouwerij ’t IJ, which produces around a dozen light, dark, and seasonal beers. These are available in the brewery itself or at De Bierkoning behind Dam Square.
Design. For something more enduring, snap up a piece of Dutch design. Characterized by minimalism, innovation and humor, Dutch design has been on the rise since the 1990s. Both Droog and Moooi sell products by established (Marcel Wanders, Richard Hutten) and upcoming talent. Clothing by Dutch fashion designers adorns the racks of SPRMRKT.
Try a nifty tulip vase, which features separate spouts for placing individual flowers and come in many sizes and designs, from traditional delft blue to more modern stainless steel. Look for them at the city’s many markets, such as the Monday Noordermarkt or the Albert Cuyp Markt (held every day except Sunday), or at design shops throughout Amsterdam.
Flower seeds or bulbs. Want to plant tulips in your own garden? Not a problem, as long as you purchase seeds or bulbs that are stamped as being cleared for international customs. Look for them at Amsterdam’s main flower market, De Bloemenmarkt.
Stroopwafel. Once you try the waffle-like cookies with stroop (caramel syrup) in the middle, you may find yourself craving this Dutch treat after you’ve returned home. Satisfy your stroopwafel urges by bringing back a package or two; you can buy them at any Albert Heijn supermarket.