What: It’s a market with everything you need and a little bit more. Go on Thursday and you’ll get it all: fresh produce, breads, meats and fish, flowers, more fabrics then Hobby Lobby, bulbs in the spring, hot waffles in the winter, clothing including great tights for kids, and CHEESE! It’s all great and the flower prices are amazing. If you sew, you want to go look at the fabrics. It’s also great for curtains – there is a wonderful curtain guy that is always there. Seasonal things like strawberries and asparagus will be beautiful. Plants are nice and the prices are very competitive.
Cheese: The cheese is amazing – you won’t find a large variety of French cheeses (for those, you need to go to the cheese guy in Geilenkirchen on Fridays), but for gouda, you’ll be well-stocked. My favorite cheese guy is the nice guy at Rote Peet’s – the only place that I’ve found that has pesto gouda. It’s bright green, but delicious. They also have a seasonal cheese called Graas Kaas. It’s made from the first milking after the cows come out in the spring and start eating grass. Try it. It’s delicious and soft. My youngest can’t get enough of it. Any cheese guy will tell you about them and give you samples. You just have to ask. If you go to Rote Peet’s, save your receipts. You’ll get free cheese with 50E of purchases.
On Saturdays, you won’t find the fabrics or as many plants – it’s just a day for the basics – fresh cheese, produce, fish, and fresh cut flowers.
When: Thursday is the big one, Saturday is the small one. They are both open from about 0800 until 1330.
Where: In Sittard’s Marktplatz.
Directions: From Geilenkirchen, take the B56 west towards Sittard until it ends. You’ll drive through Gillrath, Stahe, Ganglet, Susterseel, and Wehr. When the road ends, turn left. There is a parking lot about a block down on the right where you can pay to park ahead of time. Then you’ll walk down the narrow ally to Putstraat, then follow Putstraat all the way down to the left and you’ll run into the market. If this lot is full, then follow the road to the second signal and turn right. You’ll come to a signal. Turning right will lead you to a more expensive and overly crowded lot. To the left, you’ll find an underground garage (closes as 10pm), and by going straight, you’ll see signs for the ABC (a right turn into a parking garage). From any place, follow the church towers or the crowds and you’ll find the market. From anywhere else, if you’re new to the area, put Putstraat into your GPS and you’ll get in the area. From there, you can find parking.
WARNING: Do not park anywhere in the Netherlands if the sign says “Verdunning Hounders” (I’m sure I’ve spelled that wrong, but you get the idea). This means “for residents only,” so if you park there, you will get a ticket – any where from 50-300Euro depending on the area.
Bargain examples: Silk/pashmina scarves for 3 Euro, 3 pairs of pants for 10E, 4 quarts of strawberries for only 3 Euro (not each, total price), 4 pineapples for 2 Euro, 12 apples for 2 Euro, two quarts of seedless grapes for only 3 Euro, 5 lavender plants in 5″ pots for only 5 Euros total.
This is where a lot of the Spanish and Italians buy their fish.
Hungry? The market is surrounded by cafe/restaurants. Pick one. Or, go to Bagels and Beans on Putstraat for a little taste of home. If it’s snowing, I’d vote for the fresh hot waffle at the stand. They are gooey and messy, but hot and delicious too!