For the ultimate shopping experience in Amsterdam, De Negen Straatjes – or Nine Streets in English - is a must-visit district. Home to great independent boutiques and chic international brands, offering everything from unusual homeware to high-end women’s fashion, this is one of the most unique and interesting places to shop in the Dutch capital
On any international shopping trip, it’s often the areas full of independent local brands that offer up the best purchases. This can certainly be said of De Negen Straatjes – the Nine Streets – in Amsterdam: a network of quaint boulevards, separated by picturesque canals, which play host to everything from unusual homeware boutiques to high-end women’s fashion stores, as well as a host of delectable places to eat and drink. Whether you’re in the market for a vintage-look bag or the latest catwalk-inspired pieces, a stroll around this inviting district is sure to pay dividends.
Areas full of independent local brands that offer up the best buys
Van Ravenstein has been on Keizersgracht since 1997, after originally opening on neighbouring Runstraat six year earlier. Founded by sisters-in-law Gerda and Linda Van Ravenstein, the boutique is now internationally renowned for its selection of high-end womenswear from a selection of tops brands including Vetements and Calvin Klein 205W39NYC. ‘We only buy what we like and think is interesting or beautiful,’ explains Linda. ‘We also look for designers who make small collections. We like to surprise our clients and look for something that is not everywhere.’ This approach has clearly been successful, as Van Ravenstein has been charming visitors for more than 25 years.
Linda believes the secret to Van Ravenstein’s success is its selection of timeless designs. ‘We sell fashion that stays beautiful for years and that you can build your wardrobe with,’ she continues. ‘We have clothes for day, for work and for going out, for different women of different ages. We even have an outlet in our basement, which is open every Saturday.’ As a result, whether you’re in the market for a new-season garment or a discounted designer item, Van Ravenstein is an essential place to visit.
Timothy Oulton is another important stop on any De Negen Straatjes tour. The shop on Runstraat is home to the eponymous British designer’s vintage-inspired homeware and handcrafted products. ‘I worked in the antiques trade for a long time, and I wanted to honour that same traditional handcraftsmanship and level of detail in what we do,’ he explains. ‘It takes more time and effort, but that’s what gives our collections character and soul, and I think our customers appreciate that. People want pieces with meaning, pieces they can connect with.’
The residents of Amsterdam, as well as international visitors, certainly connect with Oulton’s designs. So much so that the Runstraat boutique continues to thrive as it enters its fifth year of trading. ‘The area has this great mix of incredible heritage with a very modern attitude, so it’s the perfect home for us,’ Oulton continues.
Along with the interior design items, Oulton’s retro-look bags can also be found in the Runstraat store. ‘I’ve always been obsessed with vintage luggage, I can’t say no to a trunk at auction, so the bag collection is an extension of this,’ Oulton explains. ‘Just like the furniture collections, the bags aren’t trend-driven, they’re a modern take on classic styles.’
For spring/summer 2018, visitors to the Timothy Oulton store will be greeted by ‘some very exciting designs in new, innovative materials’. The designer continues, ‘My latest fascination is rock crystal; it’s an ancient material, about 25 million years old – the ultimate antique. We’ve used rock crystal in the new collection and it’s just epic.’ For a truly memorable souvenir from your time in Amsterdam, look no further.
Those looking for a piece of Dutch fashion to revitalise their wardrobe should visit the Summum Woman boutique, which opened in 2015. Having a store in De Negen Straatjes had been a long-time ambition of the brand, which was founded in Amsterdam in 1998. On Hartenstraat the team found the perfect location. ‘We fit in well with the image of the district and the customers that can be found there,’ says Shelly Eikelenboom, who looks after marketing and PR for the brand. ‘The mix of international brands, with super-strong local brands and a delicious range of catering establishments make it the perfect location for Summum in Amsterdam, where we feel very much at home.’
Inside the bright and airy 16th-century building, visitors will find leaf-patterned suiting, maxidresses in bold prints and safari-style separates from the spring/summer 2018 collection. Eikelenboom believes Summum is adept at dressing the modern woman. ‘Let’s face it: a woman wears a few different caps on a daily basis, so you need a multifunctional wardrobe. You want to look sharp at work, and at a dinner for two you prefer to be dazzling. Summum understands that because its team consists mainly of female designers. It’s very Dutch: on your bike to work and then directly to that cocktail party, with only a shoe change.’
The Dutch aesthetic is rapidly being taken up by hard-working women all over the world, so blend one of Summum Woman’s multipurpose looks into your fashion toolkit. Accessorise with a Timothy Oulton bag and some new-season shoes from Van Ravenstein and take some De Negen Straatjes style home with you this season.