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Amsterdam - Shopping

Shopping hours is one of the first differences that will likely be noted by those learning to live in Amsterdam. Many of the stores are closed all day Sunday and at least part of the day on Monday. Some have extended hours one or two days of the week to accommodate shoppers' needs.

When it comes to shopping for designer labels, unique items and all things typically Amsterdam, you'll find it at any one of several districts around town. Whether you're looking for designer jeans or black tulips, there's a shopping area set aside for just this purpose.

The national currency is the Euro. Though some tourist-based businesses may be able to help with currency exchange, you'll generally need to make your exchanges upon entry into the country. You should be aware that the country has a five percent sales tax on goods sold. There is an additional tax on luxury items to bring that tax to a total of twenty percent. Note that visitors to the country can obtain a refund for some taxes.

While the areas are maintained because of the tourists, many residents of the city seem to enjoy a few hours of strolling and shopping in Leidsestraat. There are boutiques, a large fashion store where some bargains are sometimes found, restaurants along the canals, and the Singel - a floating flower market. While this isn't the place to stop in for a loaf of bread on your way home from work, there are many department stores and other shopping destinations in this area.

Nieuwendijk is another shopping district, but this one is home to many discount stores. It's an older and more established shopping area of the city where items ranging from small home decor to shoes can be purchased.

Markets are an important part of Amsterdam's shopping. There are some two dozen markets in outdoor venues that are open regular shopping hours when weather permits. One of these is the Farmers' Market at Noordermarket. The produce offered there is generally raised without pesticides or herbicides and there are sometimes some good deals for the avid shopper.

The Albert Cuyp Market is one of the largest open markets in the city, but this one appears to be available only on Saturdays. There are foods from around the world, clothing and many other items available from this source, and there are plenty of bargains to be had here.

Many residents of Amsterdam buy the majority of their household food needs from several shops. There are delis, produce markets, butchers, bakers and small grocers who offer specialty items sprinkled around the various neighborhoods of the city. That's not to say there are no large chain grocery stores in the city. Konmar Superstores is one of the larger chains in Amsterdam. You'll find their website at http://www.konmar.nl/, but note that the text is all in Dutch!

Amsterdam Escape offers some comprehensive information about shopping in the city. You'll find an overview online at http://www.amsterdamescape.com/shopping.html

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