Orange - national color of the Netherlands
First off, I have to admit I am not a big shopper. I enjoy it but it is not one of my passions. But I do love to window shop and visit unusual shops. Amsterdam and Holland is a great city for window shopping and I'm not talking about the red light district.
First a bit about the major Dutch stores. The main department store which has a variety of upscale fashion and home accessories is de Bijenkorf. I loved visiting this store when we lived in den Haag and there is one located at Dam Square in Amsterdam. You can see it on this picture.
But if you want to get a better idea of a typical Dutch store, visit Hema. This is their good value good design store. I'd compare it to Target. It is a great place to get items for the house. There are many around the Netherlands. Blokker is similar store. For fashion - V&D is the main Dutch fashion store along C&A another Dutch clothing store. One of my favorite fashion stores is H&M which is based in Sweden. It has just recently expanded to the US.
But the real charm of shopping in Amsterdam is walking in the cross streets between the major canals ( Herengracht, Keizergracht and Prinsengracht). This area is actually called the '9 Streets'. I love walking in this area. I am always charmed by some of the unique specialty stores such as the Knopenwinkel, a store which has an endless supply of buttons. Or De Witte Tanden Winkel which has a wide supply of toothbrushes.
There are other areas that are also interesting. Kalverstraat is a main pedestrian shopping street. I liked to visit the English Bookstore on the street to pick up something to read or other bookstores. Magna Plaza is behind the Royal Palace at the Dam. For upscale shopping, visit the streets in the Museum Quarter just a short walk from Leidseplein towards Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat (PC Hooftstraat). I remember falling in love with Derby dishes in one of the stores selling china along the street.
There are also several street markets in Amsterdam selling a variety of items from books, antiques to organic produce. Here is a good list of some of the markets. I wasn't crazy about the flea market at Waterlooplein but it is worth a look if you are in the area because it is typical of a Dutch street market.
Violin maker in Haarlem