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What in the early twentieth century was a chaotic maze, swarming with peddlers and their shabby carts, is now the city’s prime market.
Since 1912, Albert Cuypstraat has been the site of this market, held six days a week. The City Hall decided to establish order, a timetable and days of opening and closing because, around 1905, chaos was taking over the street and its surrounding area.
You cannot come here with a fixed idea of what you are going to find. The best approach to this huge street market is to let yourself wander, unhurriedly, from stall to stall and you will then, no doubt, make an interesting or at least surprising find.
It is said to be Holland’s busiest market and the proud local residents of the De Pijp district, site of Albert Cuypp, claim it is the largest daytime market in all Europe. Indeed, many shops in the district, with their traditional window displays and counters, have opted to open a “street branch” in the market.
You will certainly not regret spending a few hours wandering around. Fresh and exotic fruit, radio apparatuses, patterned quilts, photograph frames, Dutch cheeses, bicycle baskets or collectors’ rock T-shirts are just a tiny sample of what you can find at this market’s stalls. Here, what is attractive or grotesque is up to each person’s own taste.
You will notice that its charm lies not only in the canvases and displays of the stalls. It is fascinating to observe the mixed blend of characters you can come across here. Albert Cuypstraat and its surrounding areas are roamed by tourists, the elderly with a lot of time for looking, catering employees in search of fresh products for dinner, and residents of West Indian, Turkish or Moroccan origin who come looking for key ingredients to make their recipes taste as they do at home.
As with any self-respecting market, moreover, there is no shortage of fashionable young people who come in search of a bargain with which to set trends in Amsterdam’s bars.
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