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Planning your Shopping in the Netherlands

I don’t know if I’ve ever written about this before, but with recent chatter how the number of Sunday shopping days will not be increased with this new government, I thought it was a good time to revisit it. Coming from consumerism riddled America, I wasn’t prepared for the forethought you have to put into your shopping chores in the Netherlands. You can’t just shop whenever you like (well, maybe in Amsterdam) and if you don’t pick up that milk now, you might be out of luck later. Here’s what to watch for in Maastricht:

image (cc) Michael McCarty via Flickr

Some days it feels this complex. >_>


Grocery stores typically have normal hours on Mondays, but it’s quite common for other stores to simply be closed or not open until 1 pm. I never try to shop early on Mondays; it’s not worth the effort to find the one or two stores I need that might be open.

Tuesday & Wednesday

Stores are generally open from about 10 am to 5 or 6 pm. The grocery stores are a bit better; you can typically get into these until 7 or 8 pm depending on the location and time of year. Disappointingly, the Wednesday market closes early (by 3 pm).


Once a week in Maastricht, most shops stay open until 9 pm (with a couple closing slightly earlier or later) and they are usually packed with people since anyone who works have trouble making time on other days of the week. Thursdays are also the only day per week you can get a Pinkys wafel after dinner.


On Friday shops generally go back to the Tuesday/Wednesday schedule. Like the Wednesday market, the Friday fish market generally closes a couple hours before people actually get out of work.


Saturdays are also be shopping days, both because people have all day to go shopping and because of the one day drought coming up.  Saturdays are good days for stocking up on grocery essentials since if you don’t get it now, you won’t be able to tomorrow.


In the Netherlands stores are only allowed to be open 12 Sundays a year (except apparently in Amsterdam where they stay open for the tourists). In Maastricht the first Sunday of each month sees many stores open for truncated hours (usually noonish to 5 pm or so). Fortunately restaurants are open on Sundays, so when we forget to grocery shop we can still eat.

Image is (cc) Michael McCarty via Flickr and is used under a Creative Commons license.

8 Responses to “Planning your Shopping in the Netherlands”

  1. Alison says:

    Some of the grocery stores here in Utrecht do open on Sundays, but only from about 4-8 p.m. It’s not all branches, either, only a couple on the outskirts of the city center. Of course, they’re madhouses with tons of people and long lines. Still, it is nice to have the option in case we forget something on Saturday or just can’t be bothered to plan ahead.

  2. Invader_Stu says:

    I was so confused when I first got here about shop opening times and I was amazed by the way no where seemed to open on Monday morning.

  3. Judy says:

    At least in Maastricht the koopzondagen are pretty regular (first Sundays of every month). In Nijmegen they are scattered unevenly throughout the year, so that you have to either look it up online or hope that you remembered the right koopzondag date for the city that you’re in ;-)

  4. Amanda says:

    A 4-8 pm wouldn’t be so bad.

  5. Amanda says:

    The Monday thing is a bit frustrating. I use to go out early for groceries and then have to go back out in the afternoon for litter.

  6. Amanda says:

    Yikes. That would be frustrating. It seems like there’s a weird double standard. How come the larger cities get to have some time open on most Sundays while the rest of us have to put up with these old-timey “blue laws”? (Blue laws, for nonAmericans, are old, usually outdated, laws left over from stricter times. For example, in some states you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday, etc.)

    These days, if I’m in another town on the weekend I just assume nothing is open on Sunday.

  7. Aledys Ver says:

    All these different opening hours take some getting used to!
    It is particularly stressful when there is a long weekend, for you have to plan everything in advance. Forget about making last minute plans to drop by at a friend’s house or decide to bake something on a boring rainy Sunday…

  8. Amanda says:

    Oh, I forgot about long weekends. It is frustrating to realize that you’re out of luck for milk and eggs for an extra day. ;)