Quietly tucked away in the East of Amsterdam lies the not-so-quiet Dappermarkt, a gem often overlooked by visitors and by Amsterdammers at large. The locals in the area know its value, however. After swapping banter with those who work in the Dappermarkt, you come to realise that it’s a market well and truly woven into the fabric of Amsterdam East, a hub which facilitates the exchange of goods, services and stories.
A collection of cultures
The one thing that is apparent to all who enter the Dappermarkt is its diversity. All shapes, colours and sizes can be found here. However, unlike markets which tend to frequent the ‘hotspot’ lists, the diversity is very much of the Amsterdam locals variety. The diversity of the stalls reflects the diversity of the visitors and sellers.
Freshly cooked Surinamese food sizzles beside traditional Dutch cheeses, patat, and stacks of salty, raw herring. A Vietnamese man sells his loempia's to a line of waiting customers beside stalls packed with spices and fresh produce. Situated in one of the most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, it is a perfect culmination of the essence of the area. As Peter from the Let’s go nuts stall states, “It’s like walking around the world”.
The Dappermarkt’s vast assortment
The diversity of the Dappermarkt is not limited to its visitors. The vast array of produce and items for sale adds to the spectacle of the hustle and bustle. The myriad of stalls with their jovial attendees tickle the senses, a kaleidoscope of colours, sounds and aromas. Some stalls add a fruity flavour to the air as they cut and blend fresh fruits.
The Vishandel De Graaf stall makes itself known long before you see it from its salty ocean smell and there are many stalls cooking foods on the spot, from barbecue corn cobs to potato crisp kebabs. Further down the Dappermarkt, on the Brouwerij het IJ end, the lining stores extend out into the street to display their wares. As a general rule, most products, accessories, clothing items, and miscellaneous objects for sale in the Dappermarkt are much more affordable than if you were to find them elsewhere. Where else can you buy 8 ripe-ready tomatoes for 1 Euro?
From generation to generation
Something particularly interesting about the Dappermarkt is the long tenancy of its stall holders. Frank, for example, states “When I was a baby, I was here”. He goes on to explain that his grandparents started the stall in 1948. With a chuckle, he gestures to the stall’s wares, “I was made in between the shoes”.
Many stall owners have been at the Dappermarkt for more than 40 years and have seen it change as Amsterdam’s population grows and diversifies. Arjindra works part time in the Dappermarkt selling clothing and has been doing so for the past 25 years, while the Boer Geert cheese stall, one of the most popular stalls in the market, has existed for 60 years. Marcel, who works at the stall, claims that “Dappermarkt is de gezelligste markt in Nederland” (Dappermarkt is the cosiest, nicest market in the Netherlands). After a stroll past its lively stalls on a beautiful Summer’s day, many would happily agree with him.
Words and photography by Emma Goodman