Though most bookstores sell at least a few English titles, here’s a guide to dedicated English bookstores 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 literary activities in this international book capital! These activities are also great to meet new international people in Amsterdam.
ABC and its Treehouse
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: Tues-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-6.30pm, Mon 12-8pm.
ABC Treehouse, Voetboogstraat 11.
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. Opening hours differ.
Brownies and tea at The English Bookshop
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 sofas, which are perfect for enjoying the chocolate brownies, fresh 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.
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-4pm
If you need a magazine, say the newest 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.
Athenaeum – global magazines & papers stand
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 Mon-Sat 9am-7pm and Sun 11am-6pm.