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No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to Waterlooplein. This bustling square is nestled in the bosom of the Amstel river and is the home to Amsterdam’s outdoor flea market. The square stands on grounds that were once functional canals, and when they were filled, Waterlooplein became a marketplace for Jewish merchants in the district in 1893.

With the onset of World War II, the Jewish quarter was emptied by the Nazis in 1941. Today, the former marketplace is thriving as a flea market with over 300 stalls opening up on the historic Waterlooplein from Monday to Saturday.

The square is comfortably located between Nieuwmarkt, Artis, and Rembrandtplein and is easily reached by foot, bicycle or public transport. Locals and tourists alike regularly visit the Waterlooplein market to rummage through the selection of second-hand clothing, bric-a-brac, trendy tees, old books, electronics, souvenirs, and antiques. This outdoor bazaar is like no other. One may also stop off for the odd can of spray paint or a tattoo!

Besides getting totally lost in the atmospheric charm of the square, there are many attractions just a stone’s throw away from the flea market. The historic Moses and Aaron Church is open as a venue for concerts, exhibitions, and visitors. Behind Waterlooplein square on the Jodenbreestraat is the Rembrandt House Museum, where the famous Dutch painter lived for 20 years with his wife. Here you can marvel at the 17th-century interior and furnishings as well as Rembrandt’s own etchings, drawings, and personal objects. Music lovers may like to visit Stopera, a majestic building complex that functions as a city hall for Amsterdam and a music theatre. It is the principal opera house in Amsterdam, home to De Nederlandse Opera, Het Nationale Ballet and Holland Symfonia.

Besides its various historic sites, Waterlooplein also has many cafes and restaurants in its vicinity that make a welcome respite from one’s visit to the neighborhood. On the square itself are the popular chains Bagels and Beans and Coffee Company, where you can stop off for a caffeine fix. Walking away from Stopera and over a bridge onto Staalstraat you will find many quirky shops, including a clown shop and an antique bookstore. Be sure to drop into Droog for a creative shopping experience with a difference. For a taste of real Amsterdam, why not grab a sandwich from a delicatessen on Staalstraat and sit by the Amstel and soak in the unequivocal vibe of the city. If it is raining (and it often is) then do not fret, there are plenty of popular cafes in the area, such as Cafe de Gaeper to keep you dry and wet your palate!

Waterlooplein is also great for a visit during national celebrations in Amsterdam. The flea market and neighboring streets are taken over by local families on Queen’s Day (to be replaced by King’s Day in 2014) where for one day, the members of the public allowed to have a jumble sale. The annual Gay Pride takes place on the first Saturday of August and sees the area packed with locals watching the parade make its way down the canal. The parade usually arrives on the Amstel shortly after 3 PM. Get there early to secure your front row spot!

As a popular neighborhood Waterlooplein also has a range of accommodation, from hotels to apartments, suitable for people of different budgets. Check here for a list of places to stay in this area.

Waterlooplein is accessible by tram 9 from Central Station and tram 14 from Dam Square. Metro lines 51, 53 and 54 all stop at Waterlooplein.

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Amsterdam Apartments