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If you are an antiques lover, Amsterdam is a city that will capture your heart.
In the main shopping zones and in the Jordaan district you can find some hidden shops with interesting yet extremely common items. In the street markets, it is more difficult, as the objects tend to be in worse condition and they are hardly ever true collector’s items, but are usually colourful old junk. So, if you are truly interested in collecting antiques, take good note of this name: Nieuwe Spiegelstraat.
This street, which starts from the Rijksmuseum and ascends to the centre, after crossing the Singelgracht, has become an essential meeting place for collectors. If your pocket so allows, you can find some items of true luxury in the shops here.
The surroundings are incomparable: the peace and quiet and cultured atmosphere emanated by the city’s most prestigious art museums, the proximity of the calm and virtually aristocratic Vondelpark, and the luxury shops and great designers of the streets P.C. Hoofstraat and Van Baerlestraat, which are not far from there.
In this setting, everything is elegant; even the owners of the antique shops dusting their valuable porcelains. Most establishments in Nieuwe Spiegelstraat are like exhibition rooms, although their refined restoration work and collections are not solely for display purposes; they are also for sale.
Most of these dealers in luxury antiques have specialist collections that range from scientific instruments, clocks, coins, cards, to exotic or glass items.
Amsterdam has indeed always been a city of collectors, starting with even the simplest bourgeoisie, who invested fortunes from their businesses to buy paintings by famous artists, and ending with wealthy nobles who collected truly curious objects.
Rembrandt himself, for example, fell victim to his own passion for collecting. This expensive pastime led him into so much debt that he went bankrupt and had to leave his mansion full of furniture, chandeliers, illustrations and other works of art that were later auctioned.
You can spend hours and hours among hundreds of glittering and brightly lit items in the galleries of the dealers of the zone.
If you wish to make an investment and cannot make up your mind what to buy, you might find an Amsterdammer, the city’s traditional grandfather’s clock that was manufactured between 1690 and 1810. As far as price is concerned, if you are lucky enough to find an Amsterdammer, the cost can be very high. A high price is also fetched for imported Chinese porcelain, brought by the East India Company from the eighteenth century onwards.
If your budget does not stretch so far, you could always acquire one of the colour or black and white illustrations that feature views of the city. In the seventeenth century, Amsterdam was an extremely important book publishing centre and such items abound if you know where to look.
Whether you buy or not, the walk is truly enjoyable. The dealers’ galleries are lovely, and their owners are always delighted to explain each and every one of their items as they are extremely proud to own them.
Albert Cuyp Market (41)
Tuschinski Theatre (50)
Felix Meritis Huis (22)
Magere Brug (25)
Portuguese Synagogue (18)
The Antiques District (35)
He Hwa Temple and Amsterdam's China Town (5)
Magna Plaza (46)
Sint Nicolaaskerk - Church of Saint Nicholas (48)
The Charm of the Jordaan District (37)