Sunday, August 21, 2011

Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam

GUEST POST by Hasti Tarekat.  The Albert Cuyp Market is a traditional market in the city centre of Amsterdam. It is walking distance from the Museum Quarters of the City. In all, there are about 250 stalls plus shops and cafes. Every year about 5 million visitors come to this market. The market is popular amongst tourists because it sells Dutch souvenirs, but it is also nice for locals especially on weekends because it sells fresh products (vegetable, fruit, seafood), creative products (handcrafts, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc) and it offers cozy cafes and restaurants.

Cafes and Bicycles in the Netherlands
Before 1900, there were canals and windmills where the market is presently located. It was later filled up for new housing development that was needed at that time in Amsterdam.  This area was called ‘De Pijp’ in Dutch and turned out to be a new slum colored by drug and prostitute problems.

An opening of a market in De Pijp was a matter of time as vendors started to sell their fresh products and initially they just shouted to get attention from their customers. The selling of goods was not permitted here and there were conflicts between the vendors and the police.

The Dutch clogs

In 1905, the Amsterdam Municipality legalized the selling activities but this was only for Saturday evenings. Later, in 1912, the market was allowed to open every day except Sunday.

During the economic crisis in the 1930’s, poverty influenced this market, followed by the Second World War when Germany made it difficult for the Jewish vendors to do their business. One third of the verdors in the Albert Cuyp Market were Jewish but after the war almost none of them came back. It left a deep wound in this market.

In 1960’s and 1970’s, the Albert Cuyp Market reached its peak period as more and more foreigners and the upper class of Amsterdam began to visit this market. Over the years, the market has gone through ups and downs but it continues to exist even today. It is still a local market for young and old, rich and poor, foreigner or local.

Patat or Dutch French fries(top) and the Famous Dutch Stroopwafels (above)

Hasti Tarekat is the co-founder and Executive Director (1998-2004) of Sumatra Heritage Trust based in Medan, North Sumatra and member of Board of Directors (2010-present) of Indonesia Heritage Trust based in Jakarta. She now lives in the Netherlands where she holds a voluntary position as the Representative of Indonesia Heritage Trust. She can be reached at:

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