Are you wondering where to find the best Amsterdam supermarkets?
You’re in the right place. I’ll tell about where to find the best Amsterdam supermarkets in this article.
I live here, and I need to do my grocery shopping in the Netherlands all the time. I can’t live on water🚰🤗. So I know where to go, what the main stores are, and which to avoid.
In this article, I make sure to cover the different supermarket chains in Amsterdam, which places to avoid, and ways to save money.
I’ll also make sure to include Amsterdam supermarket tips because I know from my foreign friends that the local experience can be confusing at best sometimes.
Why you can’t always pay by card, why bring your own bags, why do you need coins to get a shopping cart, and where to buy real Dutch cheese at local supermarket prices?
After reading this article I hope you walk away feeling empowered to skip the shady night shops and tourist cheese shops that are way too common in the city center and you’ll find it easy to shop like Dutch people for all your grocery needs.
Table of Contents
15 Popular Amsterdam Supermarkets
Tourists too often find themselves in shady convenience stores with inflated prices or stores created specifically for tourist stores, like Henry Willig and the Amsterdam Cheese Store. Where cheese is sold in flavors unknown to the Dutch, and prices are much higher than in regular supermarkets.
I know one thing for sure when you do the same, you pay too much for inferior products.
And there is absolutely no need for that. There are many regular supermarket stores in Amsterdam. Where you can get these products at normal prices.
Here is a list of authentic supermarkets and stores that offer fair pricing and where locals shop themselves. Supermarket chains in major Dutch cities vary from the high-end priced Ekoplaza organic stores to the discount brands of Aldi and Lidl. And everything in between.
Albert Heijn and Jumbo are the largest supermarket chains in the Netherlands. They have many stores in the Netherlands and Amsterdam is no exception.
Let’s go over them one by one so you know exactly what to look for.
1. Albert Heijn Supermarkets
The leading Dutch supermarket chain is Albert Heijn, or AH in short, known for its quality products. They have numerous locations in Amsterdam.
Did you know Albert Heijn’s first store was a small mom-and-pop store in the Zaan area?
That store has been saved and moved to the Zaanse Schans where you can still visit it today.
Now it’s a little museum with some items for sale. Super cute. You can get to the Zaanse Schans on your own by bus or train (the Amsterdam Region Travel Ticket is super convenient for that), or go for the convenience of a guided bus tour, this bus tour to the Zaanse Schans I’ve been on myself and I enjoyed the experience, Fleur, our guide was so funny!
Albert Heijn has the largest presence in Amsterdam, that’s why I listed them first.
They’re more expensive than most other Dutch grocery stores but cheaper than Ekoplaza.
You’ll find three different types of Albert Heijn:
- AH to Go: convenience stores found in tourist areas and railway stations, better priced than unbranded convenience stores, but more expensive than regular supermarkets. Meant for a coffee on the go, or a snack.
- Albert Heijn stores: the regular stores, are scattered around Amsterdam. Here are the five most convenient store locations in the city center:
- Prins Hendrikkade 20. Opposite Lovers Canal Cruises near Amsterdam Central Station.
- Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 226. Behind the Palace on Dam Square, and next to the Magna Plaza shopping center.
- Koningsplein 6. Next to the flower market.
- Jodenbreestraat 21. Next to the Rembrandtshuis and the Waterlooplein Flea Market.
- Overtoom 21. Very close to the Leidseplein square.
Another fantastic location is their store at Schiphol Airport. It’s located on Schiphol Plaza, right next to the train station and Burger King. Perfect for last-minute shopping before you go home.
These are just a selection of the many stores in the city center. For all locations, visit the Albert Heijn location directory on their website.
Curious about the first Albert Heijn general store? You can visit it at the Zaanse Schans open-air museum just north of Amsterdam.
The biggest supermarket in Amsterdam
The biggest supermarket in Amsterdam is Albert Heijn XL. These as you might expect are not located in the old city center but are on the outskirts of the city.
There are three in Amsterdam and these hypermarkets are much more compatible with North American and UK supermarkets that tend to be very large.
1. AH XL: Osdorpplein (Amsterdam West)
2. AH XL: Gelderlandplein (Buitenveldert)
3. AH XL: Diemerplein (Diemen, east of Amsterdam)
2. Jumbo Supermarket
A family-run chain with a reputation for good customer service (which I always find disappointing). For example, they promise to open a till when there are four customers in line, but then apologize for being understaffed. Or they say to match competitor pricing and then try to find 10 excuses why they don’t.
Good luck fighting with a 16-year-old who is much more interested in going back to his or her chat about last weekend’s adventures, than dealing with you.
But apart from my personal rant, Jumbo has the most supermarkets in the Netherlands after Albert Heijn.
It’s worth finding them because they have very easy payment options including all major credit cards. Albert Heijn is notorious for their limited options. It’s easier at Jumbo. And products are generally cheaper there than in Albert Heijn as well.
Jumbo stores come in regular stores and Jumbo City stores. The latter is comparable to the AH to Go stores.
3. Dirk van den Broek
A budget-friendly option with several branches in Amsterdam. There are many locations that you can easily find with Google Maps, but the most convenient one is right behind the former Heineken brewery, now the Heineken Experience, at the Marie Heinekenplein 25. Metro station Vijzelgracht.
PS: If you’re a fan of Heineken you can get your Heineken Tour tickets here, or for a better deal check out the Go City Pass, I reviewed the Go City Amsterdam Pass recently in person and loved it. Heineken is included. You get three free beers during your visit, and then can buy more at Dirk van den Broek 🙂
But back to Dirk (as the Dutch call it in short) this is considered a discount supermarket among the full-service supermarkets with low prices. I like this chain. Their prices are much better, and they have a large fresh section in their store including a wonderful bake-off bread section. They also accept most major credit cards.
4. ALDI stores & Lidl
German discount chains are also in The Netherlands and known for their no-frills presentation, good-quality products, and cheaper prices. You might know ALDI since their presence is now more global. They’ve opened many stores in North America and the UK. The European version doesn’t look as nice as they do in the US though. It’s much more basic.
For that reason, I like Lidl a lot better. Their stores are generally nicer, their prices are really good, and the quality is high. It’s all store brand products, but they win prices.
For example, their Stroopwafels have won quite a few times as the best supermarket Stroopwafel. So there you go.
The most convenient location for ALDI is also near the Vijzelgracht Metro station on the Nieuwe Weteringstraat 24-28. Lidl is a little more out of the way. The closest store is Hemonylaan 25a.
Ekoplaza – The Organic Food Market
Ekoplaza has many grocery stores in the Netherlands. And it’s one of the best supermarkets for organic food.
As you might expect they’re often found in the nicer neighborhoods just like Wholefoods stores are in the USA. But these stores are not nearly as nice as Wholefoods however Whole Paycheck applies here too.
Marqt was a high-end supermarket offering a range of organic goods. This was an expensive supermarket but it offered a wonderful experience. It was a great store for special finds and harder-to-find brands. Today most stores are gone, they could never become profitable, and some have been taken over by Ekoplaza.
Regular supermarkets like Albert and Jumbo now also have a great selection of organic products. Especially Albert Heijn. Look for the label: Biologisch.
Other Local Chains
There are many other chains that you’ll also find throughout the city: Spar, Vomar, Dekamarkt, and COOP. Any of these are fine, but usually more expensive than the main brands, except maybe for Vomar. These stores are in more residential areas.
I know I said before I was against shady convenience stores, even more against tourist stores. Like these candy stores that sell candy for €3-4 per 100 grams.
You might not be familiar with the metric systems but that’s €13-18 per lbs. Ouch… Get your own candy fix at Kruidvat or Etos drugstores for a quarter of the price.
Or those beautiful-looking cheese stores like Henri Willig that you only find in tourist areas and nowhere else in the country with the weirdest flavors that the Dutch never buy, but tourists all the more, pesto garlic whatever… Those cheeses. I cringe seeing them and want to warn everyone inside.
You can do better.
There is a wonderful Dutch cheese shop on the Haarlemmerdijk called “Kaasland” or Cheeseland in English. They sell true Dutch cheeses at normal prices. My favorites are a good matured Gouda or Beemster cheese. And I have a thing for Cumin cheese which is commonly sold in the Netherlands.
You can also get a wonderful selection of Dutch cheeses at all the supermarkets I mentioned above. They sell pre-packaged whole and sliced in all varieties popular with the Dutch themselves. At much lower prices than in the tourist stores.
Oriental Supermarket Amsterdam
If you’re looking for more exotic ingredients TOKO’s or oriental supermarkets are your best bet.
There is a wonderful eclectic Asian supermarket at Nieuwmarkt in the middle of the Red light district across from the beautiful Waag building (a great stop for a break), the market is small but packed with so many different products, it makes you dizzy, all at very reasonable prices also.
Amazing Oriental, Nieuwmarkt 27.
8 Dutch Supermarket Quirks You Might Not Be Aware Of
“‘s Lands Wijs, ‘s Lands Eer'” is a common expression the Dutch use. It means as much as every country has its own quirks, customs, and unwritten rules that visitors must be aware of. Here are some Dutch supermarket oddities that might raise an eyebrow.
1. Dutch Supermarkets Tend to Be Smaller
Due to the compact nature of the Netherlands, supermarkets are usually small to medium-sized. The Dutch like to have things nearby which results in smaller stores often found in residential areas in Dutch cities, and thus smaller selections. That also simplifies things. No FOMO here. Three kinds of toilet paper at the max, and not an aisle filled with 30 kinds.
2. Paying With Your Card Can Be More Difficult
The Dutch pay for everything with “Pin.” They even turned it into a verb: “Pinnen.” It’s connected to the Maestro network and VPAY. And those networks are quite picky. Cards issued outside of Europe, even with the logo, can prove to be quite unreliable. Credit cards are accepted at even fewer places.
Prepare yourself to always have some cash on hand, in case you can’t get any card to work.
Albert Heijn is notorious for accepting a very limited amount of payment methods. But cash always works in case of a problem.
Jumbo, Dirk van den Broek, Hema, and Lidl on the other hand are known to accept most payment cards from around the globe, including credit cards from Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
3. Prices Are Including Of Tax
The Netherlands has a high tax level. Sales tax is charged at 9% for food, and 21% for anything else including wine. Thank goodness all taxes are included in the prices you see on the shelves. No nasty surprises at the cash register like you do in other countries around the world.
4. Rounding of prices
If you pay by card you pay the price advertised. But when you pay cash your total is rounded to the nearest 5 cents. 1 and 2 Eurocent coins do exist in Europe but are not used in The Netherlands. If you have 1- and 2-cent coins left from your Rhine Cruise in Germany, you are out of luck. They’re not accepted at Dutch stores.
5. Cans and Bottle deposits
In the Netherlands on most cans and bottles that are not glass “Statiegeld“, or a deposit is levied. You need to return them to the recycling machine that every supermarket has to get your money back.
You’ll be printed a ticket, that you can use at the register when checking out. Some supermarkets have two buttons one to collect the amount yourself, and another to donate to a good cause. Make sure to press the right button. They’re labeled in multiple languages.
PS: Deposits are charged from €0.15 to €0.25 depending on the size and material of the item. You recognize items that carry these deposits from the “Statiegeld” logo as shown below.
6. The Dutch love rules and deposits. It’s not just bottles and cans that get levied with a refundable deposit. You better have coins with you. Just for getting access to a shopping cart, you need one.
You might know this concept from ALDI in the US, but in Europe, you’ll find it much more common. You push in a coin (€0.50) and it’s yours, return it to its rightful place and you’re reunited with your coin. If you don’t have a coin, get in line at the information desk for a free plastic coin, or take a basket instead.
7. Bring your own bags
Dutch supermarkets are price savvy, you better bring your own bags or you will be charged if you want the supermarket to supply you with one. Prices range from €0.25 for a large plastic bag to €1.50 for a reusable more sturdy bag.
And it’s not just at the cash register where you need your own bag, even in the fruits and vegetables department you’re expected to have your own bag. If you’re looking for a free plastic bag to store your produce, you’ll be searching in vain.
PS: A local tip from somebody who is blond and super forgetful aka me: If you’re in a big supermarket in Amsterdam and the market has a fresh bakery you can usually find paper bags here, and use them for your produce.
8. Sales and Discounts:
The main supermarkets have their own apps where you can check weekly sales and discounts. Search in the App Store for “Albert Heijn”, “Jumbo”, and “Lidl”. The Dutch word for sales is “Aanbiedingen.”
Near the entrance of the store, you’ll also find a printed “folder” with weekly specials. Watch carefully when promotions are running. This is quite confusing.
Most supermarkets have their sales from Monday – Sunday. But Dirk van de Broek for example from Wednesday – Tuesday. And some sales are even shorter.
PS: Albert Heijn only applies the sale price when you scan their loyalty card (called Bonus card). Don’t have one don’t sweat it! Just ask the cashier, or assistant at the self-checkout counter. They have one for you to use.
They make a lot of extra money this way, especially from visitors who unknowingly pay full price. This can easily be avoided by asking an employee to scan their “Bonus card.”
Which Supermarkets Accept Credit Cards in Amsterdam
I’ve mentioned it before not all supermarkets accept credit cards, most notably Albert Heijn (which is the largest supermarket chain), but many others thankfully do.
To make it a little easier for you, here is a handy list of supermarkets where you can pay by credit card:
- AH to Go (Albert Heijn convenience stores)
- Dirk van den Broek
- Gall Gall (Liquor > which can not be purchased in a supermarket)
Amsterdam Supermarket Helpful Vocabulary
Supermarkt – Supermarket
Winkel – Store
Gesloten – Closed
Karretje – Shopping Cart
Biologisch – Organic
Roomboter – Real Butter
Tasje – Bag (be ready to pay for them, even for the plastic one-time use bags)
2e gratis – 2nd item free
2e halve prijs – 2nd item half price
Maandag t/m Woensdag – Monday through Wednesday
Weekendaanbiedingen – Sales that are only valid during the weekend
OP=OP – While supplies last.
But don’t worry about language in a Dutch supermarket, especially in Amsterdam. The staff will speak English.
In fact when I’m in Amsterdam every time I feel like a tourist speaking a foreign language when I speak Dutch. English is now so common, and so many immigrants from the EU take these service jobs who very often don’t speak Dutch. English is absolutely fine here.
But if you are allergic reading product labels can be difficult because they are usually not in English.
Product labels in Dutch supermarkets are almost exclusively in Dutch. Sometimes also in French or German (neighboring languages), but hardly ever in English. Allergens are highlighted and most can be understood by an English speaker. If you’re having trouble with them, two tips:
- Use Google Translate on your phone and activate the camera function. Scan the label and it will translate it for you.
- Ask a member of staff to translate for you.
What to buy at an Amsterdam Supermarket?
We touched on a few items already. But supermarkets are a great place for Dutch cookies and candies. I published many in my extensive list of 50 Dutch Foods to try. The best known of course is the Stroopwafel. Nothing better than a fresh one from an outdoor market where they make them in front of your eyes and serve them warm, but the next best thing is getting them from a supermarket and NOT from a tourist store.
Because Stroopwafels are not created equal. They can be made with real butter or margarine. The latter is cheaper, but the taste difference is like night and day. The tourist versions, especially the ones with nice prints on their box are made with the cheaper margarin for higher profit margins. Because while at normal supermarkets the margarin version is always the cheapest, in tourist stores prices are hugely inflated. Want the real butter one (a must), then look for the word Roomboter (which means real butter), if it’s mentioned you know it’s a higher quality product. Every supermarket has them.
Dutch Cheese: All supermarkets will have a huge selection of cheeses. We Dutch eat a lot of it. It’s part of our DNA. And that is reflected in the cheese section of every store. Go loose here and you know prices are much lower than at those pesky tourist cheese stores where the sales persons are all dressed up in “Dutch traditional costume.” If that’s what you’re looking for then head over to Volendam for your own photo shoot.
Get your cheese at a true Dutch cheese store like Kaasland or at any of the supermarkets mentioned above. Even at the discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, you find a large selection.
Convenience meals: Albert Heijn is king here. You can find so many wonderful fresh salads in dozens of different flavors all balanced to make for a complete meal. And even microwavable meals here are fresh and healthy.
No need to go for some inferior freezer meal. There are plenty of fresh meals in the cooling section available. Not cheap but a great alternative if you don’t want to go to a restaurant again.
Perfect if you have a vacation rental home (PS for that I advise VRBO, the cheaper and safer version of Airbnb).
Find your Amsterdam Holiday Home with VRBO
It is good to know that supermarkets don’t have a microwave available to heat. So if you don’t have one, the meal salads might be the better choice. AH to Go stores by the way usually do have a microwave at the exit.
Alcoholic Drinks: Supermarkets carry a large selection of Alcoholic beverages, this is normally where you would go to buy wine, beer, and even some stronger drinks. But for real strong drinks like vodka or gin, you’d have to go to a liquor store, called a Slijterij in Dutch. Well-known stores are Gall & Gall part, and often near an Albert Heijn Store. And Dirk van den Broek usually has a location of Dirck3 onsite.
Is it easy to find Gluten-free at Amsterdam supermarkets?
Larger supermarkets in The Netherlands usually have an entire aisle devoted to “free-from” products like gluten-free. It’s not any more difficult than elsewhere to eat gluten-free in The Netherlands.
Is it easy to buy organic products in Dutch supermarkets?
Every supermarket in the Netherlands has organic products for sale. They sell both regular items as well as organic alternatives. The Dutch word for organic is Biologisch. Albert Heijn has the best selection of all the chains.
Is it possible to source Vegan/Vegetarian products at supermarkets in Amsterdam?
Absolutely, you’ll find plant-based alternatives for any animal product. All supermarkets offer a wide array of vegetarian and vegan options. It’s more trendy in Holland, and even more so in Amsterdam, to eat less meat and supermarkets cater to that trend. So no worries there. You’re going to be fine.
What are Supermarket opening hours in Amsterdam?
Supermarkets in major cities are open 7 days a week. That is also the case in Amsterdam. The exact hours are different from store to store. But usually, they’re open at least from 8 am to 8 pm, and often till 10 pm, Monday till Saturday. Opening hours on Sundays are usually shorter. Stores open later, and close earlier.
For current opening hours check the supermarket’s website, or easier check Google Maps.
Can I have my groceries delivered?
Albert Heijn and Jumbo both do home delivery but have a minimum order requirement of €50.
This option is best if you live in the Netherlands long term, or have a house rental. You simply order your products from their websites (ah.nl or jumbo.com) and select a delivery address and delivery timeslot. Note these websites are Dutch only.
You need to be there when they deliver since they won’t come back. Delivery prices vary on the time slot you choose.
It’s good to remember that is hard to pay with Albert Heijn as a foreigner, also for home delivery, they won’t accept cash. You’ll need a Dutch bank card or a Dutch Internet banking account. When you don’t then order with Jumbo. They accept credit cards. You pay at the door (not when you order).
For smaller orders, you can also use new delivery services like Flink, they have very low order minimums and quick delivery times, usually, you pay a bit more for the convenience.
Amsterdam Markets – Beyond Supermarkets
While supermarkets offer convenience, don’t miss out on Amsterdam’s markets. They often provide fresher produce and a chance to mingle with locals.
Markets can be one of the best places for better deals, especially for fruits, vegetables, and other perishables.
You’ll also have a chance to try freshly prepared Dutch food favorites at any of the city markets like the Albert Cuyp (daily except Sundays), Noordermarkt Organic Market (Saturdays), and The Lindengracht (Saturdays only, right behind the Noordermarkt) in central Amsterdam.
These are just a few examples, there are many more. Street markets are a true tradition in the Netherlands and can get very busy.
I enjoy the Noordermarket and the Lindengracht market the most out of them all.
The Noordermarkt has beautiful products but at a higher price point. While the Lindengracht will ensure mingling with the locals and finding many cheese, fish, and flower stalls at affordable prices. The Lindengracht market is incredibly long. Make sure to keep your Saturday morning empty. Because you might want to also some of the best Apple Pie in the world at Winkel 43.
PS: Most street markets are selling foods but there are a few exceptions like the Flea Market at the Waterloopplein.
TIP: Haggling is usually not a thing in the Netherlands, you pay the price advertised (also if you shop at a market), except for flea markets. There you can try your haggling skills at various success rates. But please don’t at food markets, you will be considered rude by both the sales person as fellow waiting customers and you achieve a discount anyway.
Armed with this post in hand you should easily be able to avoid the tourist traps and find the real Dutch supermarkets.
Plus avoid the surprise by the quirky things that are differently organised in this country compared to home.
Don’t forget to bring your own bags, have a 50 cent coin, and some cash on hand if your card is not accepted and you’ll save money plus can you can enjoy a wider variety of items.
Did You Know About Dutch Supermarkets?
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