Please note that these rankings are approximations. You will be likely to discover that many products are sold at the same prices in all supermarkets, whereas some products of similar quality may be sold at markedly different prices.
Besides from grocery stores and drug stores, shops in the city centres (such as clothing stores) in the Netherlands are usually open from 09:00 to 18:00 on weekdays and from 09:00 to 17:00 on Saturdays. Almost all shops are closed on Monday mornings and increasingly, shops are opening on Sunday afternoons from 12:00 to 17:00, which is known as ‘koopzondag’ (buying Sunday).
Most stores display their opening hours near their entrances. In several (larger) cities, many stores stay open until 21:00 on one day per week. This varies per city, but typically, this will be on a Thursday or Friday evening. Until recently, it was normal for shops to remain closed on public holidays, but currently, more and more shops are also opening on public holidays.
Shopping second-hand is the more sustainable alternative. You may check out the local Kringloop, Marktplaats or Facebook Marketplace. which is an online second hand store.
- Bargaining is not customary in the Netherlands (with buying first-hand items). With very few exceptions, you will be expected to pay the marked price.
- Always be sure to take a shopping bag with you, as even in supermarkets, you will be expected to pack your own groceries and bags are not usually provided free of charge.
- The Dutch do not tend to queue, as you will no doubt notice and you will need to learn the art of gently but firmly getting into, for example, busses and trains. You will also need to learn the art of attracting service in shops. Unless a shop has a queuing system whereby the customers draw numbered tickets, you will be expected to know who was waiting before you, which takes practice (and patience). If a fellow customer glares angrily at you, it will probably be because you unwittingly spoke up before it was your turn to be served. On the other hand, he/she may be bluffing, so do not hesitate to glare back if you are sure that you were next in line.