The famous district of the Dutch capital offers coffee shops, bars, fashionable shops and more attractions so you can’t escape its charms.
There’s no doubt that Amsterdam’s canals are the real stars of thousands of photos boasted on Instagram, Tik Tok and now BeReal. But just a stone’s throw away from these watery rings lies one of the city’s trendiest and most beautiful neighbourhoods. It is the Negen Straatjes district – its name in Dutch – or what is known in English as the 9 Streets, a historic area full of personality. The ideal way to discover it is to meander through its streets while admiring its architecture and exploring the most fashionable shops, exclusive cafés and trendy restaurants.
Diving into Negen Straatjes is the best way to discover the essence of the capital of the Netherlands. Flowers, bicycles and architecture come together in this network of nine streets, which are actually three parallel streets of three blocks each, separated and surrounded by the city’s four main canals (Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel), declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco. The 9 streets are an architectural and commercial legacy dating back to the 17th century, when all the fur trade in Amsterdam was concentrated, as can be deduced from the names of the streets: the Reestraat (Reestraat), the Wolvenstraat (Wolvenstraat) and the Berenstraat (Berenstraat).
Today, the 9 Streets show visible traces of their past and are lined with a variety of charming Dutch-style shops. Forget the big international franchises. There are 250 shops, restaurants or galleries, and icons such as the Huis Marseille photography museum or the Canal Museum. Treasures to keep you entertained for a couple of hours… or all day.
Quick guide to the must-see 9 Streets of Amsterdam
It’s well worth a visit to the world of socks, which is located at number 5 Gasthuismolensteeg. SocksWeLove is the name of this curious shop that has been specialising in themed and cool socks for more than 20 years. Here, everything you can imagine is at your feet. And just a few steps away, at number 7, you shouldn’t miss Iris Galerie Amsterdam, a place where they turn your iris into a work of art thanks to a combination of technology and photography. Also not to be missed on your list is meChicas, the jewellery mecca renowned for its knotting techniques that combine different stones from around the world. And don’t forget to check out Waxwell Records, which offers a unique collection of vinyl records.
2. Hartenstraat (seer street)
At Fabienne Chapot you’ll find original garments, full of colour and beautiful handmade prints, the hallmark of this renowned Amsterdam-based fashion brand. Another must is King Louie (Hartenstraat 10), the fashion shop that started 40 years ago selling second-hand clothes and now stands out for its own design and vintage-inspired pieces. After your fashion pleasure, it’s time to satisfy your taste buds: try the delicacies at Flower Burger, a restaurant with a strong nod to hippie culture that has a 100 per cent vegan menu with burgers in all colours, yellow buns coloured with turmeric, black with charcoal or pink ones made with cherry and beetroot extract.
3. Reestraat (roe deer street)
If you go as far as number 15 Reestraat you will discover Red Wing Shoes, an eye-catching shoe shop that also has an original décor inside the old building, all the more reason to visit. For watch lovers, there is the Amsterdam Watch Company, which specialises in exclusive antique and modern watches. And for a relaxing moment, Nooch offers Asian, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai delicacies. For the more discerning, a good option is Jansz, a slightly more exclusive restaurant offering modern food with a Dutch twist, with windows overlooking the beauty of the canal.
4. Berenstraat (bear street)
Refuel at Pancakes Amsterdam, which has a wide range of thin, flat Dutch pancakes, much like a crepe, to which you can add any combination of toppings you like. If you’re looking for a special souvenir, explore Pig&Hen, which has the cutest handmade bracelets made from real ship’s rope. Or let yourself be seduced by the lingerie creations at Marlies Dekkers, the favourite brand of many celebrities and the hallmark of Dutch designer Elisabeth Maria Johanna Dekkers. And if you’re a bag lover, take note of Berenstraat 22, MyoMY, a brand that’s committed to sustainable eco-leather with materials made from recycled bottles or apple waste. Don’t leave without trying the menu at Zwaantje, a restaurant with 35 years of experience, typical Dutch, cosy and with a good atmosphere. But if you want to enjoy Dutch-style meat and fish, be sure to make a reservation as it tends to get very busy.
5. Wolvenstraat (wolf street)
As we said, fashion is one of the main protagonists of Las 9 Calles: check it out at Wolvenstraat 7, where you’ll find Laura Dols with a wide collection of vintage clothes. Especially if you’re looking for the most beautiful evening or wedding dresses, this is the place to go. It’s not for nothing that this shop with more than 45 years of experience has attracted the attention of major magazines such as Elle and Vogue, which often select their garments. Also take a stroll through Scotch & Soda to find colourful and exclusive pieces for the little ones, and at W-21 you might catch the launch of their limited collections. If art is your thing, stop by Carré d’artistes for quality works at reasonable prices. Satisfy your appetite at Sous Bar-Bistro, where you can also relax while sipping on some of their varied drink offerings.
6. Oude Spiegelstraat
This street is located between the Herengracht and Singel canals. If you pass by DSIGN. Amsterdam, at number 3, you’ll be surprised by original bags, card holders or accessories from renowned and emerging Dutch designers. You can’t miss Rika, a gallery and gift shop that is also a guesthouse with two unique rooms with a privileged view of the Herengracht canal. At number 7 discover Samsara Books & Art, where you will find interesting books on philosophy, health, art, psychology, parenting or non-duality.
7. Wijde Heisteeg
It’s one of the shorter streets but with interesting shops like R. Wigmans Goudsmist, a place where you’ll be tempted by their jewellery designs. Or Raymond Gerritzen Delicatessen, a small shop where you can choose from a variety of sandwiches, cheese or coffee to go.
Exploring Negen Straatjes means wandering into cute shops with years of history, such as Zipper, open since 1979 and always a good place to shop for clothes from the 1950s to the 1980s. For more modern garments, don’t miss Rainkiss, a brand that specialises in ponchos with avant-garde designs and art-inspired colour combinations – perfect for those rainy Amsterdam days! If you’re looking for personalised jewellery, head to Beadies. And if you’re looking for gastronomic delights, head to Chocolaterie Pompadour: its window display of sweet desserts or chocolates made with Valrhona chocolate is an invitation to indulge in temptation. At Café de Pels, relax while you admire its art-covered walls.
The 9 Streets is also home to the beauty temple Skins Cosmetics, where you can browse a wide range of exclusive hair, beauty and treatment products. It is also worth a look at Cibdol Brandstore to discover the wide range of products related to cannabis, the consumption of which, as you know, is tolerated in Amsterdam. Another must is De Kaaskamer, a real gourmet shop filled from floor to ceiling with more than 400 varieties of cheese (cured, organic, spiced…), another Dutch speciality. While if you want to try Dutch fries, head for Fabel Friet on Runstraat 1, ideal for a cheap bite to eat on the go. And look out for Screaming Beans, where the freshly roasted, high-quality, highly-regarded coffee is just the thing for that daily fix.