From what I understand, Dutch open air markets have been around since the Middle Ages, maybe longer. Nearly every city hosts some sort of market where visitors can find an array of wares - from flowers and produce, to trinkets and thimbles (seriously, I've purchased sewing supplies). The first time I visited the market in Dordrect, I was blown away by the size, diversity and public assembly that seemingly materializes out of nowhere.
Every Friday and Saturday (rain or shine) all of Statenplein in Dordrecht Centrum becomes a big bazaar, and one absolutely worth visiting. There are aspects of the market reminiscent of farmer's market's in California (Main Street in Santa Monica would be the closest) - the fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and bites. But what sets Dordrecht's market apart is how far beyond "farmer's market" it goes. You can easily pick up electronics, clothing, bras and underwear, party supplies, fabric and bike parts at discounted prices.
In case you are Posh and fearful that the market might really be some kind of creepy swap meet, don't fret. Think of it as an over-sized farmer's market with a few bonus options. It's actually quite convenient.
Now, I don't think I've stressed that this market is really, really big. And it's full of great vendors. Featuring all of them might be a great long term project, but for now, here are some of my favorites:
Goudse Stroopwafels Remember when I dedicated a post entirely to my love for stroopwafels? Well, this booth is the real deal for fresh, warm, gooey stroopwafels. The woman working here is the cutest, too. Recently, the team has been set up where Statenplein and Vriesestraat meet.
Bloemenbedrijf John Huijgen: best flower vendor in the market, if you ask me. He's generally (and conveniently) near the Goudse Stroopwafel stand.
Scheveningse Vishandel: Fresh fish, fried fish, smoked fish (my fav), they have it all, and lots of it. This part of the market is always completely packed with people waiting to fuel up with a fried snack or bring home kilos of something wild caught. The staff is always super friendly AND they lure customers in with free samples. If you only visit one location at the market, please try this one.