These shops combine one-of-a-kind experiences with a side of history—some of the locations have been around since the 1700's.

By Jane Szita
November 02, 2015
Hajenius cigar shop
Credit: © Alberto Paredes / Alamy Stock Photo

Amsterdam is the perfect place to get your shopping done while taking in a little history lesson along the way. Along with many other survivals from the past, the city boasts a great range of time-capsule stores—places that have changed very little since they opened in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. In an age of megastores and Internet shopping, they offer experience over convenience (in the best way possible). Ahead: Four shops history buffs—and any other shopping enthusiast—won’t want to miss.

Jacob Hooy & Co

Herbalist Jacob Hooy first appears as a shopkeeper in city records in 1747—he moved into these premises on the historic Kloverniersburgwal just a couple years later. He would easily recognize his old shop today, where the shelves still groan under the weight of old wooden barrels storing various herbs, and row upon row of tiny drawers conceal further natural ingredients beneath gleaming scales. Products you can buy in this quaint old apothecary’s shop range from beauty preparations to teas, essential oils, herbs, and liquorice (real Dutch ‘drop’).


This cigar and tobacco company started life in the 1820s; today it occupies the same store occupied in 1914. Hajenius’ beautiful Art Deco interior—complete with leather ceiling, carved wall panelling and marble counters—remains in its original condition. If you’re a smoker, this is the place to buy Cuban and other hand-rolled cigars, or mix your own unique blend of pipe tobacco. The lounge at the back of the store serves fine wines and coffee to enjoy with a smoke, as you savour the atmosphere of yesteryear.

Holtkamp Pattiserie

Founded in 1886, this old-fashioned bakery remains a city favorite for its delicious pastries, including several must-try traditional Dutch recipes. Try an Arnhemse Meisje, or a Friese Dumke. It’s held the same address as its Art Deco location since 1969. Fun fact: The jewel-like interior was designed by famous Amsterdam architect Piet Kramer in 1928. The store still rocks an original blue-and-ochre tiled floor, stained glass, the original woodwork and glass showcases, and spectacular decorative frieze.

The English Hatter

Although located in one of Amsterdam’s busier and brasher shopping areas, this traditional menswear store—which opened for business in 1935—still seems to belong to a slower and simpler age. As the name suggests, it specialises in hats and caps plus a range of classic, often tweedy, clothing and accessories, all equally timeless and of high quality.

Jane Szita is on the Netherlands beat for Travel + Leisure. She lives in Amsterdam.