LifeinAmsterdam: Best English bookshops in Amsterdam

LifeinAmsterdam: Best English bookshops in Amsterdam

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Though most book shops sell some English titles, here’s Kira's list of English book shops in Amsterdam.

Opposite the ABC and close to Waterstones, Amsterdam's most famous book market is held on ‘t Spui on Fridays. Though not English-focused, it's nice to nose around. You’ll find antiquarian booksellers, as well as stalls with rare modern books, mostly about art and photography.

Additionally, check out the intellectual / literary activities in this international book capital! These activities are also great to meet new (international) people in Amsterdam.

ABC and its Treehouse - US oriented
The largest ‘English’ literary institution in Amsterdam is the American Book Center. Besides a wide range of books, they host numerous self-development activities ranging from writing clinics and yoga classes to Hello Kitty book signing and open mike nights.

American Book Center, Spui 12. Opening hours: Mon 11am-7pm, Tue-Sat 10am-8pm, Thu till 9pm, Sun 11am-6.30pm.

ABC Treehouse, Voetboogstraat 11.

Also see: self publishing @ ABC with the Espresso Book Machine!

Waterstone’s - UK oriented
If the American style is not your cup of tea, try Waterstone’s, a four story bookshop with a welcoming, traditional ambiance.

Waterstone’s, Kalverstraat 152. Mon 10am- 6pm, Tue-Fri 9.30am–6pm, Thu till 9pm, Sat 10am-6.30pm, Sun 11am-6pm.

LifeinAmsterdam: Best English bookshops in AmsterdamBrownies and tea at The English Book shop.
The English Bookshop is my favourite book shop in Amsterdam; it is friendly, personal and there is a bell hanging above the door, ringing happily when you step into the store. The cozy basement boasts checkered English sofas, which are perfect for enjoying the chocolate brownies, freshly ground coffee or Rooibos Tea. The only thing I am missing is a fireplace and a sleeping Labrador at my feet! The South African owner Liesl can order any book you wish, yet I am always amazed by how many books she has managed to store in her picturesque shop.

The English Bookshop, Lauriergracht 71 (Jordaan). Opening hours: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm.

Book Exchange - second-hand books
The Book Exchange is specialized in used English books and has acquired quite a stock (80.000 titles) over the past 30 years.

The Book Exchange, Kloveniersburgwal 58, Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun: 11.30am-16.00pm

LifeinAmsterdam: Best English bookshops in Amsterdam
The lady from Athenaeum insisted on a 'frog view' of the food magazine and me. It makes me look very 'schmug' - yet I believe, I'm nice and the lady that shot the photo was supernice. Just so you know!

Athenaeum - global magazines & papers stand

If you need a magazine, say the newest zine from Barcelona or the music mag from Kenya, there's only one place to go: Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum, which translates to (surprise surprise) Athenaeum News Centre. Open since 1966, this place is a national landmark of magazines.

Besides magazines, they sell international newspapers, (travel) guides and books on design, jazz and pop music.

Something newsworthy about this news stand: they are open 364 days a year, only with Koninginnedag the doors remain closed.

Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum, Spui 14-16, Amsterdam centre. Open daily from 8h-20h, Thursdays till 21h. Sundays from 10h-18h.


Kira Nijenhuis / Expatica

Kira NijenhuisKira Nijenhuis blogs about her Amsterdam discoveries on She explores the city's beautiful and authentic side; from cool cocktails and luscious lunch places to century old bars and true local things to do. 

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1 Comment To This Article

  • Fraser Bailey posted:

    on 5th December 2012, 12:57:30 - Reply

    [Edited by moderator] For a start, almost all these places are very mainstream and very expensive. There are many little market stalls and tucked away shops where you can find (second hand) English books for next to nothing.