A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Let’s get it straight, Dutch people absolutely loves open markets, which really surprised me at first because I always think people in Western countries prefer going to supermarkets and department stores. That is certainly not the case here. You will be amazed at the various different kinds of open markets that are held almost every day in all corners of the Netherlands. Flea markets, lifestyle markets, food truck markets, you name it. Especially in big cities like Amsterdam, there will always be some kind of markets that are opened. Last Sunday, my friend and I visited IJ-Hallen, the so-called biggest flea market in Europe.
To be honest I didn’t have high expectation at first, because I’ve been to a few flea markets here and mostly for fun and curiosity. I didn’t, or couldn’t buy anything. I was totally shocked when my friend (who’s been to the flea market once) dragged a long a huge suitcase. She said that last time she bought a lot of stuff so she’s really eager to go back. I was still a bit doubtful as we got on the train. I mean, as much as I am a fan of vintage clothing, I would never expect to find anything decent in a public flea market. I didn’t even bring much cash. Boy, I was totally wrong.
IJ-Hallen is not much different from other flea markets that I’ve been to before, just that it’s 10 times bigger! And it’s quite interesting that it is held inside a massive warehouse (I think the place was used to build ships), which is kinda cool, and very convenient considering Dutch weather. They have many stalls outside as well, but believe me, those inside are enough to keep you busy for half a day.
Given the quantity of goods being sold, it will be really difficult for you to go home empty-handed. You can find pretty much everything here, and for those who likes secondhand clothes hunting, I would definitely recommend going to this flea market instead of any other one. I was pretty keen on not buying anything, but eventually ended up buying 2 jackets and 1 dress, all for 7 euros! And they are quite nice actually, I was absolutely satisfied. A small tip for you: find the stalls whose sellers are young girls, their clothes will suit your style and size better, plus you will find it easier to bargain with them!
As for my friend? She almost filled up her suitcase with kids’ toys (she’s married with kids), home accessories and lots of clothes.
It was raining quite heavily that day so I didn’t have a chance to check out the stalls outside. But maybe that was lucky, I didn’t have any more cash and I would be really sad not being able to buy the thing that I might love.
Next time will be June 20 and 21. Save the date!