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  • Writer's pictureErik Sadao

Amsterdam is paving the way to become the Denim Capital of the World

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

Few people know it, but Amsterdam has more jeans per capita than Tokyo. The fabric popularized in the American gold rush has found its most loyal audience in the capital of the Netherlands. The reasons are almost obvious: in a place where people cycle to the opera, you need to ensure the comfort and endurance of what you wear all year round.

Over the last few decades, informality has come to dictate the Dutch way of dressing, especially in Amsterdam. There is a term that defines this way of being. "Gezellig", as popular here as the Italian "dolce far niente" or the French "joie de vivre", means cozy or simply comfortable.

Present in the decoration of houses and restaurants, in the lighting of cities and even in Schiphol airport (have you noticed that despite the immense traffic, you never notice how giant its structure is?), nothing embodies "gezellig" so well as fashion from the Netherlands. And denim is an inseparable part of this identity.

The maxim "if you're comfortable, you're dressed well" has turned the formal dress code into pure pleasure. It is not uncommon to see well-cut suits and dresses from the latest collections around town. The difference is that in Amsterdam, elaborate looks will coexist in absolutely all environments with good old jeans that often appear in cuts only seen here.

Denin City AMS, the first jeans university on the planet

As the demand for clothing made of resistant denim is huge, it is no surprise that the first university entirely dedicated to the manufacture and design of denim garments would appear here.

Located in De Hallen, a former streetcar depot turned hip hangout with a cinema, food court with some of the city's coolest restaurants, stores and even a TV studio, Denin City AMS has students showcasing their creations and accepts custom orders with raw material from centuries-old brands.

Lifestyle and fashion experience seekers can order a bespoke piece from one of Denin City AMS' designers, and have it delivered to their hotel in time for their return home. Collections from century-old brands like Levi's, Lee and Wrangler share space with fashion icons of the past few decades like Diesel and 7 for Mankind and local darlings like Deham, G-Star Raw and Nudie Jeans.

Denin Days - The Market: Pure Jeans Paradise

Denin Days - The Market takes place with varying frequency at De Hallen and brings together brands from Denin City AMS-trained designers and international darlings, including Japanese and South Korean brands.

In addition to the possibility of purchasing products directly from small manufacturers, lectures, workshops and exhibitions mark the events. The spring edition took place on April 14 and featured brands such as Benzak, which uses premium Japanese raw materials in 100% of its products.

Denham, our favorite in Amsterdam

The little scissors that form the icon of Denham, signed by Dutch designer Jason Denham, are beginning to show up in cities like New York, Paris, London and even São Paulo. The reason is simple: design made in Amsterdam with bold cuts and slightly more classic models, with impeccable production, and limited editions, made in factories in Italy.

With stores all over Amsterdam, Denham is synonymous with cool and quality among locals and travelers looking for high-quality local products. Don't expect an explosion like the ubiquitous G-Star Raw, the ultimate representative of Dutch denim. For a while, you'll have to travel to the Netherlands or to cities like Berlin to get a pair of Denham's. Collabs with brands like Mackintosh, Aspesi and Nike often sell out quickly, often generating waiting lists.

The City of Sustainable Denim

In the mid-2010s, brands like Nudie Jeans offered the opportunity to exchange old garments for new ones, paying only a difference. The discarded items were used in recyclable models that quickly fell in love with Amsterdam residents.

That the textile industry is one of the most polluting is nothing new. Just take a look at the dumps piling up around the Atacama desert. Materials such as denim fiber used in the production of jeans use the most water in the industry and will last longer in the environment than some of the endangered species.

In the last year, in addition to exchange, Nudie has started offering free lifetime repairs, sparking a trend now followed by almost all local brands. Today, when you buy a pair of jeans from Amsterdam brands, you are guaranteed that a lost button or a torn piece is no longer a reason to throw them away. It is the first city on the planet to create such a movement.


Sapiens Travel Denim itinerary: We mapped the coolest brands and addresses in Amsterdam for hunter-gatherers and fashion and lifestyle experiences with the latest denim. The Sapiens Travel Denim itinerary is included in the tips and our hosts take care of scheduling personalized appointments with the designers and informing the most convenient addresses for each traveler.

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