Life in the Netherlands: My favourite things

Life in the Netherlands: My favourite things

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After only three months in the Netherlands Jeannette Jordan has already drafted a list of her favourite, mostly edible, buys in Amsterdam.

The ‘A’ List

I am certainly no Oprah Winfrey, but I do have a list of ‘favourite things.’  Of course, no one can expect to get rich by me going public with my favourites, but it may help you get a competitive edge in business or some personal relationships. 

Let’s say for instance you’re called on to do a presentation to perspective clients; well the best way to have them remember you is to leave a little treat. 

That’s where my number one favourite comes in:

(1) Wilhelmina pepermunt. 

I get them at Albert Heijn, on sale for 58 euro-cents but never more than EUR 1 each.  They come in a neat package with a picture of a crown on top; the mints taste good and look expensive.  Leave these mints at each place where your clients will sit during your presentation along with your business card and whatever literature, and voilà, you are a hit. 

Next on my favourites list is:

(2) a wine shop called Amsterdam - 2008 Wijn en Dranken at Haarlemmerdijk 59 in Amsterdam. 

The shop is directly across from the Coffee Company.  What I like most about this shop is the guy who runs it (Ron Verhoeven).  He knows his wine and has some really good prices.  For example, I went into the shop one day, told him I was invited to dinner and that the person cooking was from Italy.  He asked what region and then recommended a perfect wine to take for the dinner.  Turns out, the mother of my host was from the same town where the wine was produced.  Amazing! And the wine only cost EUR 8.  I also like the Australian Cabernet he sells for EUR 5.98.  Cheers.

Moving right along, before I get too hung up on the wine; let’s talk about my favourite chain stores:

(3) HEMA.

Oh my gosh, I love their food section; especially the fudge that sells for EUR 2.50 and the boxes of Fair Trade Tea for just EUR 1 each.  You can also use this fudge and tea for gifts when you travel; especially out of the country.  People love to get food items and you will love staying on budget.  Also, pick up wash-towels for EUR 1 at the back of the store.  Put them together, tied with chocolates and a ribbon; and for less than EUR 5 you have another nice gift.

Let’s be a little selfish now and talk about some favourites just for you; along with a few practical things.  Our next stop:

(4) Blokker.

I mean what can’t you find in this store?  They have a little bit of everything and the prices are amazing.  I got a flat-screen television for EUR 119 and DVDs in English for less than EUR 3 each.  I also get my candles at Blokker for EUR 1.99; get the jasmine ones, they smell delicious.  And, the votive holders, you can get a pack of 4 for EUR 1; no kidding.  I like to have candles burning in the bathroom; especially when I have guests.  It keeps the place smelling nice – you know what I mean.  Oh yes, don’t leave the store without buying trash bags.  You can get a huge package that will last three months for just EUR 1.99, seriously.  And most of all, Blokker is giving out bonus type coins for every EUR 5 you spend.  You can use the coins on later purchases.  For example, right now five of those coins will help you get a EUR 60 off the price of a bicycle.  Not bad, people.

Last but not least are my favourite markets:

(5) the Saturday and Monday market in the Jordaan neighbourhood.

Photo © tinkenI adore the antiques, fruit, vegetables and the booth with the really good fudge next to the lady who sells the fresh squeezed orange juice. 

My other favourite market is at Waterlooplein. 

I especially love the antique guy who also makes and sells jewellery right there on the spot.

I got a nice bracelet for EUR 2.50 from him and I plan to buy 30 more to take home this summer for presents! 

So there you have it, the top five from my favourites list.  Who knows what will make the cut next time.  After all, I am still discovering things.



Jeannette JordanJeannette Jordan is an American journalist and Erasmus Mundus Global Journalism fellow.  She is currently taking programme courses at the Graduate School of Communication at the University of Amsterdam.  Jeannette’s background includes work as a television news writer, producer and researcher for CNN, NBC, FOX News Chicago, FOX News Atlanta and CBS Atlanta.  She is also a freelance writer and producer and conducts business seminars on ‘Understanding the American Media.’
Photo credit: tinken


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