A canal in Amsterdam is bordered by trees and traditional buildings

Top 7 Amsterdam Souvenirs to Bring Home

May 25, 2024

Your bags are packed, you’ve updated your status to “#ICantWait!!!,” and you’re ready for an amazing student trip to the Netherlands. Just like a seasoned traveller, you’ve left plenty of room for all the shopping and souvenirs you’ll find at your first stop in Amsterdam—isn’t it fitting that they should be Dutch souvenirs? Here are our top 7 Amsterdam souvenirs to bring home.

1. Delftware
2. Cheese
3. Tulips
4. Clogs
5. Van Gogh print
6. Stroopwafels
7. The Diary of Anne Frank

Iconic blue and white pottery in Amsterdam

At its peak, there were 33 pottery factories in Delft. Today only one remains, The Royal Delft, which continues to produce Delft pottery according to tradition.

1. Delftware

This iconic blue and white pottery originates from the city of Delft in South Holland, one of the most important areas for porcelain production from the 17th to 19th centuries. Even today, it is a well-known Dutch export.

Over the years, Delftware has been created to commemorate important events in Holland’s history.

The instantly recognizable blue and white colours on Delftware come in many shapes and sizes—in Amsterdam you can find plates, ornaments, a clock or even a cow-shaped creamer. Just be sure to ask for bubble wrap as you’ll want your purchase to stay safe on the way back home!

A shelf full of giant wheels of Gouda Cheese in Amsterdam

Gouda cheese is Amsterdam’s most famous cheese! This semisoft cow’s milk cheese is named for the town of its origin.

2. Cheese

Wherever you go during your time in Amsterdam, you can bet that there’s a cheese shop within a stone’s throw. Chief among the varieties available, you’ll find giant wheels of Gouda—don’t forget to stop in for a taste you won’t forget.

In a restaurant, you’ll most often find the cheese offerings on the dessert menu as a delicious way to end a meal. If you’re interested in bringing some home with you, be sure to check the customs guidelines for cheese—in most cases, if the amount is limited and properly packaged, you’re okay. Keep in mind that you can also buy cheese at the airport on your way home, which is a handy way to avoid having to keep it refrigerated while you’re busy exploring the city.

Image of Tulip garden in Amsterdam

The best chance of seeing the most beautiful tulip fields in Amsterdam is from mid-April to early May.

3. Tulips

You can’t think of Amsterdam and the Netherlands without thinking of tulips. Even OPI nail polish agrees—‘Dutch Tulips’ is one of my favourite nail colours!

Back in the day, tulips were a luxury item; there was even a stock exchange created through which to trade them. In modern times, Dutch tulips dominate the tulip market around the world and thousands of hectares of land are dedicated to growing them. The most notable are the fields in Noordoostpolder, an hour’s drive northeast of Amsterdam.

Each year, the Netherlands sends 20,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa, Ontario, which become part of the Tulip Festival held every May. The tradition originally started as a way to thank Canada for having sheltered the Dutch royal family during Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War.

Tulip bulbs are available in stores and at the airport. Depending upon the customs regulation for importing, you can also buy colourful wooden tulips in place of the live ones.

Image of wooden clogs

Clogs have some amazing benefits to being worn, like the support they offer through their orthopedic shape and the wooden material provides great insulation keeping your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

4. Clogs

Part of an ancient tradition, the oldest surviving Dutch wooden clogs date back to the 1200s. While the original styles are not typically worn in modern fashion, there are beautiful Dutch examples of clogs available throughout the country—often, they’re hewn and painted by hand with colorful designs.

A more practical souvenir may be the fun slippers shaped as clogs that come in a variety of colours and designs. These can be found in most souvenir stores and may come in handy on a chilly night around the house.

A framed portrait of a man in a hat is photographed by a person with a smartphone next to an exterior view of the Van Gogh Museum building.

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” - Vincent van Gogh

5. Van Gogh print

Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh’s extensive body of work certainly makes him one of the most recognizable Dutch artists of any generation. We have all seen his iconic “Starry Night,” which currently lives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum houses an impressive collection of his paintings that also help in telling his life story.

If you like art and have some blank wall space at home, a Van Gogh poster is the perfect Dutch souvenir. Many shops will provide a poster tube for transport home, sometimes for a small fee.

image of waffles in Amsterdam

The traditional way to eat a stroopwafel is to place it on top of a cup of hot tea, coffee or chocolate, allowing the heat to warm the waffle slightly softening the syrup. This makes the waffle soft on one side and crisp on the other.

6. Stroopwafels

Once you’ve had some of Holland’s Gouda, you may want something sweet to round out your palate! A stroopwafel—a syrup or caramel waffle—is not to be missed. Street markets are great for souvenir shopping in Amsterdam and there is bound to be a stroopwafel vendor working in the stalls, where you can see them take the waffles straight off the iron and generously slather them in mouthwatering syrup.

Luckily, you can enjoy them at home as well; packages of stroopwafel, like the one pictured here, can be found throughout the city and at the airport.

Image of Anne Frank house

Anne Frank spent 761 days hiding in the secret attic. This is where she wrote short stories and copies passages from the books she read, as well as writing in her diary to pass the time.

7. The Diary of Anne Frank

Amsterdam is a city rich in history—particularly that of the Second World War. The Diary of a Young Girl is a very common text used to help students understand the impact of the Nazi occupation through the eyes of someone close to their own age. The text has been translated into over 70 languages, making it the most translated Dutch book of all time.

Amsterdam is home to the attic where Anne hid with her family. The gift shop at Anne Frank House has a variety of copies of the text, as well as blank diaries to encourage visitors to tell their own story.

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