As you enter the city from the main railway station and across the museum bridge, you will probably walk down the charming Folkingestraat. This shopping street was once proclaimed the ‘Leukste Winkelstraat van Nederland’ (Best shopping street in the Netherlands). It’s a well-deserved title, because this street only features special shops and restaurants. Be sure to look beyond the shop windows to see the extensive amount of hidden art in the Folkingestraat.
The heart of the Folkingestraat beats according to a Mediterranean rhythm. Ariola has twice been voted the best shop in the Netherlands. It is the place to go for lasagne, stuffed courgette and tapenade. Their Italian delicatessen and other products are all homemade. Across the street is Le Souk – the other cornerstone in this street – where you buy everything you need for a delicious North African meal. All of the other foodstores here are no less special, and a visit to the Beans & Grapes wine shop is highly recommended. Another recommendation is the Pindakaaswinkel, where you are sure to find your favourite peanut butter. TOY TOY sells nostalgic toys, and fans of alternative clothing should go to Simsalabim, which has been a household word for years.
The Folkingestraat has a tragic past, however. Jewish life in this neighbourhood ended abruptly during World War II. Today, this is where you find hidden works of art that refer to the history of this street. At the beginning of the street, at number 67, is a bronze door of which the door handle is missing. Behind it is the forever hidden history of the Jewish district. The side wall of number 9 reads the word ‘Weggehaald’ (Taken away, i.e. deported). Be sure to look down as well, to see a bronze moon cycle between the yellow cement clinkers of the street. Eleven moon shapes take you from the waxing moon and full moon to new moon.