Amsterdam city guide with information on sightseeings, transport, restaurants and more. Provides different tips and links for Amsterdam trip.

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Amsterdam has much to offer the avid shopper. On the one hand, there are international fashion labels, books, arts and antiques; on the other, there are local specialities to buy, such as tulip bulbs, chocolates, cumin cheese, stoneware bottles of jenever (Dutch gin), blue Delft china and diamonds.

Traditional shopping hours are Tuesday to Friday 0900 or 1000-1800 and Saturday 0900-1700. However, some now stay open later, particularly on Thursday. Generally, the shops are closed all day on Sunday and on Monday morning. There is a 20% sales tax on luxury goods and 5% on other items. Visitors from outside the EU can obtain a tax refund for purchases over f300.

The main shopping areas are Leidsestraat, between the Leidseplein and Spui, Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk, leading from the Munt Tower via the Dam to near Centraal Station. Pedestrianised Leidsestraat - which, with its fashion boutiques, large fashion store (Metz & Co), souvenir shops and newsagents, is Amsterdam's answer to Oxford Street - is the perfect place to combine a spot of shopping with canal views and cafй stops. At the northern end of Leidsestraat is Singel, the floating flower market. Kalverstraat offers a combination of classy department stores, fashion boutiques and the luxurious shopping centre of Kalvertoren, while Nieuwendijk - one of Amsterdam's oldest shopping streets - is home to moderately priced fashion, shoe and CD stores. Amsterdam has recently gained a reputation for cool clubbing clobber, with Clubwear House, Herengracht 265, and ZX Fashion, Kerkstraat 113, two of the funkiest outlets, with the latter also boasting a hairdressers that specialises in outlandish styles. DKNY is at PC Hoofstraat 60, while Armani is at 39-41 in the same upmarket shopping street. Maison de Bonneterie, Rokin 140-2, is the Harrods of Amsterdam, here can be found top quality men's and women's clothing and fine household goods.

The Dam offers a couple of options, including Bijenkorf, Dam 1, the premier department store in Amsterdam, which sells a good range of clothing, accessories, cosmetics and household items. Magna Plaza, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 182, is located in a fairy-tale, neo-Gothic pile that was once the General Post Office. Inside are 40 shops ranging from Virgin Megastore to Shu Uemura Cosmetics.

Amsterdam has 25 markets for those seeking a bargain. There is an interesting flea market around the City Hall and Opera. The busy, cosmopolitan, food and clothes market is in Albert Cuypstraat. The colourful Bloemenmarkt (flower market) on the Singel is not to be missed, while the Boerenmarkt (Organic Food Market) is in Noordermarkt, which is open Saturday 0900-1600 (in winter until 1500). The Vogelmarkt (Bird Market), also at Noordermarkt, is open Saturday 0800-1300.

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