The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes)

By Philippa Burne, UK, June 2011

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In the heart of the historic center of Amsterdam, criss-crossing the inner ring of seventeenth century canals, is a small network of streets known as The Nine Streets. Here is where you’ll find much of the city’s best shopping and some excellent little bars and cafes to stop and rest between purchases.

Bicycles clank down the narrow streets vying with cars and wandering pedestrians carrying bags emblazoned with the names of local designers. The Nine Streets has vintage fashion, designer fashion, gift shops, homewares, art galleries, and jewelry, even some beauty salons to finish off your look and your day perfectly. My favorite shops are the two of Hester van Eeghen whose shoes and handbags are a Dutch design icon. 

Stretching between the canals Singel and Prinsengracht, the Nine Streets is made up of three continuous streets which change name when they cross the other inner canals (Herengracht and Keizersgracht): Reestraat, Hartenstraat, Gasthuis Molensteeg, Berenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Oude Spiegelstraat, Runstraat, Huidenstraat and Wijde Heisteeg are the names of these nine small but high-quality streets.

The area is very easy to find; it’s a short walk from the Anne Frank House further along Prinsengracht, or from the other direction, up Singel from the Bloemenmarkt (the flower market). Or cut across from the busy shopping area in Kalverstraat. Just be careful as you wander along window-shopping because the bicycles wizz by without a look out for distracted pedestrians, more consumed by their ongoing battle with the ever-increasing car traffic.

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