Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk are a single-stretch of shopping streets slightly to the west of Centraal Station. Once a bit of a no-go area, the stretch’s shady past is long behind it, now hosting a mixture of homeware and clothes boutiques in between the liberal smattering of coffee shops.
Stores like Concrete Matters, Restored, Tenue de Nîmes and Six and Sons cater well for shoppers looking for something to adorn their shelves at home, to pull out of the wardrobe, or for a unique gift for friends and family.
In particular the area provides good opportunities for the more niche men in your life; if that brings to mind stationery-obsessed lumbersexuals with an antique map/taxidermy fetish, you’re in the right neighbourhood.
Aside from the clothes, soft furnishings and dead animals, there’s also a number of other opportunities along the street. As you stroll westward you’ll pass good spots for food and drink too… Vinnie’s Deli is a nice cafe for brunch or for a takeout coffee with which to power yourself onward, meanwhile Ibericus Amsterdam is a charcuterie-lovers paradise with delicious Iberico ham sandwiches to go (and a full menu with which you can sit inside).
Keep on walking and you’ll be rewarded with independent art house cinema, The Movies; Amsterdam’s oldest movie theatre (which is twinned with another cinema in De Hallen). Maybe you’re not in the mood for a film but it’s worth sticking your head inside to see it’s cozy art deco interior. It has a restaurant too so you can always hang about for a coffee or bite to eat while you check your map or hide from the weather.
If you make it to the end of the stretch then you’re at Haarlemmerplein, a square which is just a stone’s throw from Westerpark – Amsterdam’s ‘culture park’. Westerpark holds numerous festivals throughout the year in its open fields or at the cluster of bars, restaurants and halls within it known as Westergasfabriek.
But if you don’t make it that far along or you fancy a detour on your way west, take a left onto the beautiful Brouwersgracht canal which sits alongside Harlemmerdijk on the opposite side to the train tracks and River Ij. Brouwersgracht is where the canal belt (Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) or ‘grachtengordel’ ends and where having a map to hand is extremely useful; Team Kompas still gets disorientated when maneuvering around here, usually taking a couple of shots to set ourselves on the right course.
If you cross Brouwersgracht on the outer edge of Prinsengracht then you’re in the super camera-friendly are called Jordaan, which is a section in its own right (so go visit that too).