Buying groceries

22 January 2013 – Being an international student in the Netherlands requires a lot of arranging which can lead to frustrations. EM provides tips and tricks to ease your stay in the Netherlands. This week in our Survival Guide: Where to buy groceries.

Where can you shop the regular food products

The easiest way to buy the basic food products is in the regular supermarkets. Depending on your budget, there are several options:

Albert Heijn

Albert Heijn (simply AH, or ‘Appie’,  called by most Dutch people) is the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands. It is not known for being the cheapest, but they are conveniently located. For locations click here.

Tip: At any counter in an AH supermarket, you can request a bonus card for free. AH offers many products on special sales every week, which you can use if you have a bonus card. For all the bonuses click here.

Tip: There is also a AH bonus app, which is called ‘Appie’ and you can download for free on any smartphone.

Note: There is the option to shop low budget at AH, since they have their own ‘euroshopper’ brand. They also have an affordable own brand which is known for being of pretty good quality, named AH huismerk.


One of the fastest growing supermarket chains in the Netherlands. It can be seen as the slightly cheaper version of AH. For locations click here.


Bas is known for being amongst the cheapest supermarkets in the Netherlands with a reasonable range of products. For exact locations click here.

Note: This supermarket chain actually uses three names: Dirk, Bas and Digros.


Not located in the city center bút known for being one of the cheapest supermarkets selling decent B-brand products. For locations click here.

Tip: They also sell non-food products such as laptops, shoes and seasonable products such as skiing outfits. Keep an eye out for their offers here.

Note: There are other supermarket chains in Rotterdam such as Plus and Spar, however these are known for being more expensive and have a less established name than the ones mentioned above.

Where to buy seasonable products?

Rotterdam has one main market which is located at Binnenrotte (at the Blaak train station) and is hosted every Tuesday and Saturday. Here you find many stands selling seasonable vegetables, fruits, bread and of course cheese.

Tip: Do not buy from the first stand you think has a good offer. The market is huge and there is quite some competition amongst the stands. Walk around first to see which stand has the best offer.

Tip: If you drop by the market around 16:00 – 17:00, many stands will start closing and that is when you can find the best deals.

Where to buy organic good?

De Groene Passage

If you care about organic and biological food, de mini shopping mall De Groene Passage is where you need to go. For the location click here.

Tip: Besides an organic supermarket, there is also a restaurant, an organic butcher and a fair trade shop located in this mini mall.  


This is an organic supermarket much larger than De Groene Passage and therefore slightly cheaper. However, it is not located as central as De Groene Passage. For the location click here.


Also organic, but this supermarket supports local products such as honey made in Rotterdam. Not cheap, but very hip! For the locations click here.

Note: Buying your food in organic supermarkets is more pricy, but gives you clean conscience.

Where to buy ethnic food?

If you live abroad, you can really miss products from your home country and that is why ethnic stores are so great. Rotterdam has over 40 ethnic stores or toko’s. For all toko’s and locations click here.

Tip: Even if you are not familiar with the ethnic cuisine and want to change your eating routine for a change, buying at an ethnic store occasionally can be nice since you can find the most exotic spices and dishes here.

Important note: A lot of supermarkets and ethnic stores are open on Sunday but not all. Make sure you check the opening hours of the supermarkets here. NdB