Singel 630 to 600 (between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein bridges)
Many of us think “tulip” when we hear the word “Holland” – and for good reason. The Netherlands has been Europe’s flower garden for centuries, starting some 400 years ago when tulip bulbs were first imported from the Ottoman Empire. Since the 1600s, flowers have been a significant contributor to the Dutch economy — and the world’s flower markets generally. De Bloemenmarket (aka, the “Amsterdam Flower Market”) has been around since 1862 and is a holdover from when most goods were sold in the city from the decks of barges and houseboats. Indeed, no trip to Holland would be complete without getting a whiff of Holland’s most fragrant treasure, so head over to Amsterdam’s floating flower market for some serious flower power.
When to go
Luckily for us, the Amsterdam Flower Market is open year-round. Opening hours run Monday through Saturday from 9am-5:30pm and on Sunday from 11:30am–5:30pm. Fresh flowers are brought in daily, and the earlier you get there, the greater the selection available.
How to get there
The market is located in the heart of the city on the Singel Canal, the innermost ring canal within the UNESCO-listed Canal Ring area in Amsterdam. From central landmark Amsterdam Central Station, de Bloemenmarket is an easy 20-minute walk or you can go by tram from the station. Several trams stop at the Amsterdam Flower Market throughout the day; if you decide to tram it from the station, we recommend checking here for up-to-date schedules and route planning.
The Amsterdam Flower Market is situated on a series of barges that are permanently docked in the canal. Each barge has a glass greenhouse affixed to it, and blooms of every color and variety can be seen through the glass. These days, the Market includes about 20 florists and garden shops, as well as a handful of stalls selling souvenirs, and takes the better part of an hour to stroll through them (not including shopping).
What to see
De Bloemenmarket includes a dizzying array of blooms in pinks, purples, reds, yellows, and oranges that seemingly burst forth from their floating glass houses. Tulips are certainly the most prominent of the blooms on offer, though narcissuses, geraniums, snowdrops, carnations, violets, orchids, and peonies are also here in force. A bouquet of tulips (12 stems) costs about 8 Euros ($9).
House plants, seeds, herbs, and bulbs are also available for sale, as are souvenirs ranging from the usual fridge magnets and clogs (of course), to gardening supplies, unusual seeds, and bulbs (black tulips, anyone?). During the Christmas season, evergreen trees are also available, along with ornaments and other holiday décor.
While you meander down the row of flower stalls, be sure and stop in a shop or two opposite the Flower Market, especially if you have an appetite. The street is lined with cheese and chocolate shops along with cafés serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, and pastries. We recommend sampling the traditional Dutch puff pastry-like Poffertjes with powdered sugar at Studio 2 for a break during your flower shopping.
- While there are always cut flowers available, tulip season is from mid-March through May, and selection will be greatest during this period.
- Be sure and bring a pocketful of Euros with you, as some of the vendors don’t accept credit cards.
- If you purchase bulbs to take back home, be sure they include a customs-cleared stamp on the packaging; otherwise they may be confiscated at the U.S. border.
- Consider spending a full day in the area. Just adjacent to the Amsterdam Flower Market you will find armloads of shopping opportunities, including local businesses, well-known chains, and restaurants.