advertisement

Shop till you drop in Rotterdam. Cutting-edge fashion is the thing in boutiques on and around cool Witte de Withstraat. On the Lijnbaan car-free shopping promenade, you'll find dozens of small fashion boutiques. The historic Delfshaven area is a storehouse for antiques.

For sexy designer lingerie, head to Marlies Dekkers, Witte de Withstraat 2 (tel. 010/280-9184; www.marliesdekkers.nl; Metro: Eendrachtsplein), which stands out on cool Witte de Withstraat not so much for its location in a tastefully converted former bank building, as for the hot lingerie and beachwear from the Dutch designer's Undressed collection in the window. Chic fashion boutique Prague, Van Oldenbarneveltstraat 119B (tel. 010/213-1748; www.prague-by-louis-dijksman.nl; Metro: Eendrachtsplein), trades intimacy for the space to showcase the creations, for men and women, of a multitude of intriguing fashion designers -- the list is headed by Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, and Haider Ackerman, and extends to little-known Japanese designers.

Department stores are located on Coolsingel and Hoogstraat. The classy De Bijenkorf department store, Coolsingel 105 (tel. 0900/0919; www.bijenkorf.nl; Metro: Beurs), has five floors selling women's and men's fashions and accessories, cosmetics, household items, books, toys, CDs, DVDs, and more. Its bright continental restaurant La Ruche is worth visiting. On one side, it opens onto the new Beurstraverse shopping mall, which runs below street level and has a mix of chain stores and small stores.

With more than 12,000 different products on its shelves, the large supermarket Gimsel, Mariniersweg 9-33 (tel. 010/404-7342; www.degroenepassage.nl; Metro: Blaak or Oostplein), takes shopping for "bio" food and drink far beyond its cottage-industry roots. This is just one of the organic or alternative stores in the Groene Passage green shopping center. Close to Rotterdam's curious Cube Houses, De Man van Drank, Hoogstraat 54A (tel. 010/411-2879; www.bierenco.nl; Metro: Blaak or Oostplein), stocks a vast selection of beers of distinction, including all the main Dutch beers and those from microbreweries, along with Belgian, German, English, American, and more, plus seasonal, rare, and real ales.

On the trendy south bank of the Nieuwe Maas, the Entrepot, a 19th-century bonded warehouse, enjoys a new lease on life. In a place that defines the idea of fun shopping, you find distinct colonial overtones at Jumbo, Vijf Werelddelen 33 (tel. 010/280-9888), the city's largest supermarket. A colonnade of diverse restaurants overlooks a small marina and faces a row of interior design stores.

Back in the center city, a huge general market brings alive the Binnenrotte area on Tuesday and Saturday. Part of the market (still 200 stalls!) opens from May to December on Sunday afternoon. Lovers of antiques, bric-a-brac, and old books should make their way to the Sunday market (Metro: Leuvehaven) amid the mini-Manhattan architecture on Schiedamsedijk, along Leuvehaven harbor in the center of town; the market is open mid-May to mid-September Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.