5 well-stocked bookstores in Amsterdam

1) Het Martyrium

There’s a hushed library atmosphere in this bookshop. It’s easy to spend an hour leafing through the books here. There’s a particularly big sales section that offers a surprising range of old and new good books. The English literature, poetry and non-fiction sections are quite good as well. 

books at Het Martyrium

2) Athenaeum

Athenaeum, opened in the sixties, is well known for its large section of non-fiction and academic literature and has become the preferred supplier of cultural and academic institutions. The Nieuwscentrum next door probably has the best selection of foreign newspapers and magazines in town. 

window at Athenaeum book store

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3) Scheltema

Scheltema was founded in 1853. But the end seemed near in early 2014, when the company that owned Scheltema went bankrupt. Luckily, it made a fresh start at a new location, and now has five floors filled with a staggering 120.000 books. That also includes second hand books, a fine selection of English and German literature, and a coffee bar on the first floor. 

book party at Scheltema

4) American Book Center

It’s easy to get lost as you wander through the bookcases in this four storey mecca of English language literature. ABC also has good sections on travel, fantasy and games, and organises regular lectures, meetings and exhibitions in their Treehouse located across the square at Voetboogstraat 11. 

interior of shop at the American Book Centre Amsterdam

5) Waterstones

Stepping into Waterstones is like stepping into an atmospheric old library, with personal tips from employees snuck in between the books. The store is housed in a monumental building by the Dutch architect H.P. Berlage, adjacent to ‘book square’ Het Spui, with its weekly book market on Fridays. 

people shopping books at Waterstones Amsterdam

Wendy Cheong

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