Europe’s Largest Flea Market, IJ-Hallen, Is Environment-Friendly

Dalis Robinson Avenue, Entertainment, the amsterdammer

Europe’s largest flea market, IJ-Hallen, is widely known by locals and tourists who come to bargain their next outfit, old cassettes, vintage boots, among others. Above 750 stands are placed almost every weekend at NDSM, where hundreds of people buy second-hand items. This has contributed to an environment-friendly atmosphere.

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Almost every weekend, Europe’s largest flea market takes place at NDSM. Dalis Robinson / Staff

Ilona Nobiley, or “Dear Noby,” 67, has owned a stand at the IJ-Hallen flea market for over 8 years, where she sells vintage leather goods and military garments. Nobiley gets her merchandise shipped from a friend of hers who currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite admitting sales have not always been in her favor, the woman has found friendships with her stand neighbours over the years. “People are the ones who make IJ-Hallen so great,” she said. “It feels like home to me.” Nobiley considers herself  as someone who cares about the environment. In the 80’s, she served as a volunteer in the tropical forest. According to her, flea markets are a good alternative for high consumption. Indeed, the products are fast-fashion free and they are given the lifetime they are supposed to have.

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Leather goods and military garments from Ilona Nobiley’s stand are display on May 20 at IJ-Hallen. Dalis Robinson / Staff

Like Nobiley, Daniel Hog, an Australian musician, believes IJ-Hallen does not only work as a good weekend activity but also helps the environment and sustainability. “If anyone is using something for a second or third time, it is perfect,” he said. “If something makes it to a flea market it says a lot about its quality and the fact that it hasn’t been destroyed in three months.” Hog went for the first time to the IJ-Hallen flea market in 2016. Accompanied by his partner, a Haarlem resident, May 20th marked the second time that Hog went to the enormous marketplace where he enjoyed walking around and looking for vintage instruments. “I like it here because everyone is just walking around, doing their own thing,” he admits. “It’s nice!” In some fortunate occasions, the 28-year-old has found good deals for clothing, such as  shirts for 0.50€, or pairs of shoes for as little as 3€.

At IJ-Hallen, some locals have found a place to resell their belongings in exchange for some money. For Eva van Erp, a 34-year-old designer, it was also her second time at IJ-Hallen. The woman has a long history selling her belongings in other markets. Indeed, as the van Erp buys large amounts of clothes, she resells them once she has renewed her wardrobe. Rather than doing it for the money, being a stand-owner at IJ-Hallen has made her feel at home.

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750 stands are placed almost every weekend at NDSM, where hundreds of people buy second-hand items. Dalis Robinson / Staff

Stands can be reserved online for anyone who wishes to participate in the outdoor flea market in the North of the city. Demolition worker Stefan Bacaj, who considered selling at IJ-Hallen as a hobby, has sold items such as antiques, DVD’s, old tapes, or toys, both there and in other flea markets. “I also sell at other markets,” Bacaj admits. “But there is nothing like here (IJ-Hallen), this one is the best.” The 45-year-old disapproves of IJ-Hallen markets policy of charging entrance fees because then not as many people attend, “Most clients are good but some of them don’t want to pay fair prices for what we sell, we keep on changing our products to keep clients happy,” Stefan revealed that most of the products he sells are bought from the Internet but he also sells some of his past belongings.

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Stefan Bacaj, a 45-year-old demolition worker, poses in front of his stand at the IJ-Hallen flea market on May 20. Dalis Robinson / Staff

This weekend, from Saturday, June 9, to Sunday June 10, the flea market will take place at  IJ-Hallen.

  • Managing Editor Online (Spring 2018)
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