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De Wallen, Amsterdam's Red-Light District

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Shops & Boutiques in De Wallen
De Wallen, Amsterdam's Red-Light District
Photo © Vards Uzvards

While it isn't as overloaded with shops and boutiques as retail hotspots like P.C. Hooftstraat and Kalverstraat, quite a few of De Wallen's retailers stand out for their uniqueness and quality.

  • CODE Gallery Store (Oudezijds Achterburgwal) - The CODE store features Amsterdam-based couturiers as part of the Redlight Fashion Amsterdam project, whose bid to turn De Wallen into a fashion hotspot has been met with ambivalence since 2008.

  • Condomerie het Gulden Vlies (Warmoesstraat 141) - The first specialist condom shop in the world, the "Golden Fleece" opened its doors in 1987, and since then has attracted the curious stares of passers-by. The variety of sizes, colors, textures and flavors reminds me of the motto of my favorite eyewear store in Manhattan: "If you have to wear them, make it fun!"

  • Geels & Co. (Warmoesstraat 67) - Rarely can I resist the lovely scents that waft from Geels, a coffee and tea specialist that's even older than it looks; founded in 1864, its industry experience makes it the ideal curator of the modest coffee and tea museum on its premises (museum hours Saturday, 2 - 4:30 p.m.; entrance free).

  • Jouw Stoute Schoenen (Oudzijds Achterburgwal 133) - This modern-day artisan shoemaker revives a lost art with her hand-made footware, made to order based on each customer's individual whims. Courses and workshops are also offered at the boutique-cum-studio, from leatherwork to DIY pumps and boots.

  • ROOD (Warmoesstraat 137a) - ROOD, the Dutch word for "red", lives up to its name with an assortment of red merchandise, but not just any red item makes the cut: each piece is more covetous than the next on the store's adorably curated shelves.

  • W. van Poelgeest (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 43) - While this frame maker and antiques dealer arrived in De Wallen only in 2001, its history extends back to 1920, when it traded in the art of local Zaandam painters and etchers. Today, the store specializes in fine prints of Old Amsterdam and maps of all scopes, from small Dutch towns to the world.

  • WonderWood (Rusland 3) - WonderWood far surpasses its prosaic description as a store that sells plywood furniture (mostly chairs); it elevates its craft to an art with its replicas of plywood classics and unique silhouette sculpture, not to mention a fine selection of retro plywood finds.
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