What to buy in Amsterdam
Ajax memorabilia - Back in its heyday, when Ajax, the local football club, was among Europe's elite teams, loads of merchandise was produced and that tradition hasn't subsided. Ajax souvenirs can be found at shops throughout the city and, of course, at the World of Ajax Tour in Zuidoost.
Birthday calendar - What? A calendar with all the birthdays of friends and family filled in, and all that hanging on a wall in the toilet? The Dutch are crazy like that. If you want to adopt this weird custom you can buy all sorts of themed calendars in almost every tourist shop near the Dam or Rokin.
Cheese - If you don't include French, Danish or Tibetan yak cheese, there is indeed no cheese like Dutch cheese. For the best big chunks of Gouda, goat or sheep cheese go to Cheese & More on Leidsestraat. For gourmet cheese try Reypenaer (Singel 182). Our personal favourite would have to be Oude Amsterdam Kas (Old Amsterdam Cheese) sold at all local cheese shops.
Clogs & Wooden shoes - It's a typical tourist thing to do. Buy a pair of uncomfortable wooden shoes that you'll put away in a dark closet as soon as you're back home. But if you really want a pair, try Otten & Zn in De Pijp.
Delftware - The factory in Delft isn't exactly close to Amsterdam, but Delfts Blauw (blue porcelain) is sold everywhere in Amsterdam. Find a tourist shop and go wild with the little cute statues. We particularly like the Christmas ornaments at Jorrit Heinen (Prinsengracht 440) and Rinascimento (Prinsengracht 170).
Diary of Anne Frank - You might not want to think about past atrocities when you're on holiday, but Amsterdam is still the place where it all happened. Her diary can be bought in many translations at the Anne Frank Museum (Prinsengracht 263 - 267), and while you're there, it's worth visiting the Achterhuis as well.
Drop - Why do the Dutch try to inflict the 'great' liquorice taste of a typical Dutch drop on every tourist or foreign friend/enemy? Be sure to pack your own pack of these black sweets before a local tries to shove some down your throat. You can find them at every supermarket and at HEMA.
HEMA stuff - It looks like a very cheap Harrods, with its minimalist aisles and seemingly random homebranded products like stationery, bike pumps, gold paint, Jip and Janneke merchandise, a photo service and, behold, brandless cheap clothes. Yet HEMA remains one of the strongest and most popular Dutch chains, and there's a reason: it's cheap and it's accepted! You don't need to wear a disguise to shop here.
Stroopwafels - It looks like a gooey biscuit that's been run over, but it's actually delicious. One of the most exported products among people visiting their friends and family abroad (because it's small, easy to transport and very tasty), you can find them at any supermarket and most souvenir shops.