What are the best bookstores in Amsterdam?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Cecily Layzell

Whether you are looking for the latest bestseller in English or a beautifully designed coffee-table book to take home as a souvenir, Amsterdam has a number of wonderful bookstores. Read on for our top five.

American Book Center. Covering three floors on Spui square, ABC is where you'll find an extensive collection of English-language imports, from novels and biographies to travel guides and image-led design and fashion titles.

Waterstone’s. On the other side of Spui square is the Amsterdam outpost of this British chain. Alongside fiction and non-fiction, Waterstone's is the place to hunt out the latest offerings from the UK’s many celebrity chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and the grand dame of British cuisine, Delia Smith.

Athenaeum. Across the street from ABC is arguably the most prestigious independent bookstore in Amsterdam. Although it has a more limited English selection, it is the place to go for academic titles, dictionaries and iconic Dutch children's books such as Jip en Janneke and Miffy. The attached Nieuwscentrum carries the main international daily newspapers and weekly magazines.

The Book Exchange. Packed to the rafters with second-hand books, the quirky Book Exchange is a browser's paradise. Unearth a paperback classic or trade in your old titles for fresh reading material.

Oudemanhuispoort. If you visit The Book Exchange, be sure to drop by this nearby book market. Occupying a covered alley near the central University of Amsterdam buildings, it is less a formal bookstore and more an informal gathering of second-hand book stalls. Dig through the dusty piles of mainly Dutch titles for beautiful old maps and out-of-print English cookbooks.

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