De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets)

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Shopping: the picture-perfect quaint approach
Located in between and dissecting the Prinsengracht and Singel are three parallel shopping routes, each of which are divided into three differently named sections (separated by canals) for a total of nine streets, all of which are lovely and pretty in that 17th-century way: Reestraat, Hartenstraat and Gasthuismolensteeg in one stretch, then Berenstraat, Wolvenstraat and Oude Spiegelstraat in a line to the south, then Runstraat, Huidenstraat and Wijde Heisteeg below that. It's a kind of consumer paradise, unless perhaps you were the butchers, grocers and shopkeepers who occupied these retail spaces (and lived above them) until the start of the changes in the mid-1990s. New-thinking establishments devoted to fine dining, fashion, flowers, jewellery, coffee, health and beauty and other specialties have transformed the area, though old-timer traders such as the Pompadour tea room [see entry] are holding their own.