Amsterdam’s hub has been growing due to the merged operations of KLM and Air France • and the shopping facilities are seeing some benefits
Upgraded retail facilities have been transforming Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Lounge 3 has had a new lease of life (details of which can be found here
). But even without this latest upgrade, the airport stands as one of the pioneers of the duty free business - and one which has steadfastly done things its own way.
See Buy Fly is probably the most iconic and enduring of the shopping slogans created by any airport, and the hub still sticks to its tried and trusted utilitarian 'no brand' way of presenting most of its stores; the shopfronts are simply about being informative. Hence you'll see stores called, Chocolate, Electronics, Liquor, Tobacco. It may be unimaginative, but it works in an international environment like an airport, and since it was introduced only a few brands have been allowed to break the 'no brand' rule including Ralph Lauren and Victoria's Secret.
But before we look airside where See Buy Fly operates, the landside at Schiphol deserves a mention because of its large size and diversity. Housed in Schiphol Plaza, where all the transport to and from the airport converges, is a mall filled with stores where locals often come to do their shopping.
The plaza fans out from a core zone into three main shopping areas; Arrivals 1 to 3. At the centre you can browse a newsagents called Ako, Fleurtiek the first of many florists you will find at the airport, plus a menswear store called Global Brands with a mix of fashionable labels. Also in this area is the XD Theatre, a treat for filmgoers if you have time.
In 1 you can find the Telecom Shop for local pay-as-you-go SIM cards for smartphones and all sorts of other accessories, a hairdresser (Coiffure en Vogue), an Etos chemist shop selling a wide range of perfumes and cosmetics, and the higher end Kappé Perfumes & Colors perfumery which offers luxury beauty and sunglasses. Fashionistas can stop by America Today, with its industrial New York look of steel, wooden floors and large black-and-white photography, or try Saint Tropez with designs for younger women at reasonable prices.
Arrivals 2 has a similar mix with fashion to the fore. The H&M here was the first in the Netherlands to be focused entirely on ladies accessories like jewellery, bags, shawls and belts. Nearby, Wonder Woman is dedicated to women's fashion while Paolo Salotto Luxury Leathergoods sells suitcases, bags and travel items. Consumer electronics, computers plus DVDs, games and CDs are available at Capi, while Leonidas is the go-to for Belgian chocolate. Planes@Plaza is for aviation geeks looking for everything from aeroplane models to DVDs, T-shirts and games. And for yet more flowers and bulbs, don't forget Aviflora.
Arrivals 3 has a more brands-oriented and more upscale feel. Gassan Plaza stocks original jewellery and watches towards the luxury end of the market while Suitsupply has a made-to-measure suits service, plus ties and shirts. High street fashion is there in the form of Mexx for women and men, a Nike store and Paolo Salotto Menswear selling brands like Jaguar, McGregor and Gaastra, plus a separate Paolo Salotto Shoes unit selling ladies footwear and handbags. Finally, The Body Shop has its usual natural personal care products.