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Hello and welcome to the first ever MarketMail. Thank you so much for subscribing!

In today’s MarketMail:

  • Why do Dutch flea markets charge an entrance fee to visitors?
  • The best way to visit markets when you’re abroad
  • Seasonal produce to look out for at the food markets now
  • The markets I’m most excited about in April
  • Links you’ll love (because I do!)
  • An overview of the biggest flea markets happening in the Netherlands in April

Once you read this email I’d love to hear your thoughts! Did you like it? What would you like to read more about? Would you change anything? Please feel free to reply to this email, leave a Substack comment, DM me on Instagram, or send a carrier pigeon. I can’t wait to hear from you!

See you at the market!

– Hajni
Founder of Where is the market?

Market fun facts

In January I started sharing lists of flea markets on Instagram and they quickly became an audience favourite. What many people seemed to have questions about is why flea markets charge an entrance fee to visitors. I think we all understand that organising a flea market comes with significant costs – they have to rent a location, ensure security, pay for electricity, cleanup etc. But wouldn’t it make more sense to have that covered by the fee charged to sellers?

To find out the answer I contacted Don Events, the organiser of some of the largest flea markets in the Netherlands. Here’s their answer: “Because we are a commercial company and have costs for organising the market (such as paying for the location), we charge an entrance fee to visitors.”

Simply put, the reason is capitalism. When the organisers are for-profit companies, turning a profit is always going to be the main objective. It’s much easier to do so by charging a fee to all parties involved. And if people are willing to pay, why wouldn’t they? The Netherlands is a very business minded country, so having to pay an entrance fee to flea markets can be quite a surprise to people from other countries. Luckily for those who find the concept to be ridiculous, there are still many markets that are free to visit.

Travel tips

This year, I made it my mission to visit a lot more markets in Europe to have first-hand experiences to share on ‘Where is the market?’ So far, I’ve embarked on three quick trips: to Paris, Catania and Provence. The beginning of the year is such a great time to travel because a) it helps with my seasonal depression, and b) you really get to experience most places without the crowds. If you get lucky with the weather, you can explore the South of Europe in pleasant spring-like temperatures and lots of sunshine. But, to be honest, I’d take a rainy day in France or Italy over a sunny day in the Netherlands any time of the year.

Local markets are often included in must-visit lists for tourists because they really capture the essence of local life. However, visiting a market as a tourist is a vastly different experience from visiting it as a local. Even though I now have some practice in visiting markets, I still often find the experience superficial or awkward. As an introvert through and through, chitchat doesn’t come naturally to me, not to mention the language barrier. I envy those who can easily strike up a conversation wherever they go, but I have learned to accept that’s just not how I am.

where is the market newsletter

The best tour guides

A solution I’ve found is going to the market with a local guide, either on a private tour or a small group tour. It’s like having a local friend, which is often the missing link when it comes to connecting with the vendors. In return, I receive lots of smiles, kind words, free samples to taste, and they’re also a lot more willing to have their photo taken. (That’s a topic for another day, but the French REALLY hate being photographed.)

It’s important to do your research before picking a local guide, because they’re not all the same. I usually start my search on booking platforms like GetYourGuide or Viator and then read reviews on social media, Google or TripAdvisor.

Below I’m happy to share my best contacts with you that I wholeheartedly recommend for your next trip. I paid full price for all these tours, so my recommendations are not #sponcon

🍋 Catania, Sicily, Italy

Giusy was my guide in Catania and I found the company she works for through the ExtraVirgin Food and Travel podcast (that I also highly recommend, by the way). She doesn’t personally have a website, but you can book a trip with her via email. I did a private market tour, but she also does food tours and historical tours in Catania and other places in Sicily as well! You can read about my Catania market experience in this article. It’s a piece I’m particularly proud of, so I hope you’ll give it a read!

💜 Aix-en-Provence, France

Edouard is a French-American tour guide in Aix-en-Provence. He offers market tours, historical tours, and food tours in the city, as well as other fun activities like pétanque at the park. Check out his website and Instagram!

🥐 Paris, France

Paris has over 70 outdoor food markets, but a few stand out, like Marché Bastille or Marché d’Aligre. Silvia does market tours at the latter, and it’s one of the best market tours I’ve ever done: well-organised, and you get to taste some truly delicious stuff, such as good coffee, which, believe it or not, is really hard to find in Paris. Check out her website and Instagram!

🍕 Naples, Italy

Iris and Joël of Ontdek Napels are a Dutch couple living in Naples. I used to work with Joël back in 2018 at an advertising agency in Amsterdam when he did the coolest thing I ever heard of: he quit his comfy office job to move to Naples for fun! Together with his girlfriend, they started a tour company. They offer Napoli food tours (no market tours at this time), neighborhood tours, bicycle tours, as well as tours to the beautiful Amalfi Coast or Pompeii.

What I loved the most about doing a food tour with them is how they are practically famous around town: the locals know them by name, and we even got invited into someone’s living room for a glass of wine. They can conduct tours in Dutch or English. Check out their website and Instagram!

‘tis the season

Finally, it’s spring which means slowly we have a lot more fresh local fruits and veggies to choose from at the market! Here’s what I’m excited about in April:
where is the market? newsletter April Seasonal Produce

Asparagus I always look forward to asparagus season! You can get them at the market, but I also love picking them up at local farm shops. Here’s where I go.

Rhubarb I’ve got a funny story for you! Last year around this time I bought what I thought was beautiful pink rhubarb at the Oogstmarkt in Rotterdam. I wanted to make this super simple rhubarb cake recipe. While slicing the rhubarb, I noticed that it doesn’t really have the texture and smell of rhubarb – not that I am an expert. With the help of Google I came to the realisation that it’s actually chard (snijbiet), luckily just before I folded them into the cake batter.

My favourite markets in April

This Reel has now over 1 million views and I really meant what I said in there: I’m super excited for those three markets to return from their winter break plus a few more I’d love to visit. Click the links for more info!

Sharing is caring

Links to everything I enjoyed recently!

  • I can’t believe I only just found out about Pien! The last two weeks I made several of her recipes and they were all bangers! Special shoutout to this fish taco recipe – the beer batter is genius!
  • This newsletter from David Lebovitz about shopping at the Saturday market in Dol-de-Bretagne, Brittany, France.
  • Since we’re on the topic of newsletters, check out this article about six newsletters for market lovers.
  • I hope I don’t come across as too much of a pick-me, but I’d take a market basket over a designer bag any day of the week. This one* from Dille & Kamille is my favourite! Fun fact: I used to have a basket bag brand.
  • People-who-moved-to-France is one of my favourite book genres, so I’m excited to read The French Ingredient* by Jane Bertch, who moved to Paris and opened a cooking school that also offers market tours!
  • I’m a wine nerd (WSET2 – with distinction), but recently all I want to drink is organic wine. MAG Wijnen, a wine merchant I met at the Westergas Sunday Market back in March, sells organic wines from Hungary, which is rare because it’s not easy to find good Hungarian wine in the Netherlands. I particularly love this naturally sparking wine (petnat).
  • A few weeks ago, I had dinner at Diepnoord in Rotterdam, and oh my god, the food was so good! It’s one of those (pretentious) small plate-natural wine type of restaurants that are currently super popular across large European cities. It was the best meal I had recently, with mind-blowing flavours and unexpected combinations. For example, slices of scallop and celeriac in a vanilla cream sauce that was almost like a dessert, a dish made of three different kinds of cabbage (kimchi, pointed white cabbage and Sauerkraut), or my absolute favourite, the gnocchi with a garlicky bisque (seafood soup) sauce and Italian kale. I highly recommend it for special occasions (it is pricey, but not forbiddingly so). Make sure to order a glass of orange wine – it goes with everything!

Large flea markets in April

I plan to send out this newsletter at the beginning of every month, including the biggest flea markets (with over 150 sellers) from around the country. While it’s not an exhaustive list, I try to include a large flea market for every weekend of the month from all over the country. I’ll continue to share weekly overviews on Instagram.

Bakkeveen (Friesland)




  • “The largest flea market of Eastern Netherlands”
  • Over a 1000 (!!!) stalls
  • IJsbaan Twente
  • 13 – 14 April, 9am – 4pm
  • Entrance fee: €5
  • More info here

Den Bosch

  • Around 400 stalls
  • Brabanthallen
  • 14 April, 9am – 4pm
  • Entrance fee: €6
  • More info here


  • 160 stalls
  • de Schilp
  • 14 April, 9am – 4pm
  • Entrance fee: €4
  • More info here

Goes (Zeeland)


  • 160 stalls
  • Emergohal
  • 21 April, 9am – 4pm
  • Entrance fee: €4
  • More info here

Horst (Limburg)

  • Car boot sale with 450 sellers
  • Peeldijkje
  • 21 April, 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Entrance fee: €5
  • More info here

Annen (Drenthe)

  • Over 250 stalls
  • Brink
  • 21 April, 10am – 5pm
  • Free entrance
  • More info here

Hoek van Holland

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