The Netherlands has numerous supermarkets. The cheaper and more basic supermarkets are the Lidl and the Aldi, the more exclusive and more expensive ones are Albert Heyn, C1000, Super de Boer, and Jumbo. The latter ones offer a bigger product range, and more specialties. Almost every supermarket has a separate counter where they sell tobacco products flowers and lottery tickets.
Some hints for shopping in supermarkets:
- Remember to bring a 50-cent coin with you for a shopping cart.
- Some grocery stores have weight/price machines in the fruit and vegetable section. You are expected to price your own product before going to the cash desk. The process is simple enough: Grab a bag, fill it with the required product quantity, take it to the scale, push the corresponding button (the buttons carry pictures of all vegetables and fruits, so no Dutch required), and hit the bon (ticket) button. You will get a sticker with the price; put it on your bag and you are ready to proceed to the cash desk.
- There is no such thing as a bag boy. You are expected to pack your own groceries. And to make it a little more difficult, stores rarely provide grocery bags for free. You can ask for a 'tas', which will cost you about 10 cents per bag. You can also grab a recycled cardboard box at the entrance of the store.
- Remember to bring your used glass and plastic bottles of beer, soda, and milk to the store. If the word statiegeld (deposit) is printed on the bottle, you have paid 25 cents deposit on them, so make sure to get it back. All other glass bottles, jars, etc, must be taken to a bottle bank outside the supermarket (often located in the parking lot).
- The legal drinking age in The Netherlands is as follows: Alcohol under 15% vol.: 16 years and older. Alcohol above 15% vol.: 18 years and older. The sale of alcohol to children under 16 or 18 is illegal.
- The legal smoking age in The Netherlands is 16 years and older. The sale of tobacco to children under 16 is illegal.
- All Dutch supermarkets have weekly offers. Sometimes you need a discount card to make use of the weekly offers (otherwise you do not get the price reduction!). For example the Albert Heijn has a bonuskaart. You can ask for a bonuskaart at the counter in the supermarket (it is for free).
The markets in The Netherlands do not take place every weekday on the same location. You have the possibility to visit a market five days a week in Tilburg. The Dutch markets do not only sell foods but also clothes and household stuff. Do not be scared to try to make a good deal. The people selling their products are ready to negotiate.
For the market schedule, you can check www.tilburg.nl
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