Myself and Sophie recently took a trip to Amsterdam together, which was one of the most fun trips i’ve ever been on! I completely fell in love with the city and i actually started looking pretty hard for reasons and ways to move there. On top of everything else we did in the city, we obviously wanted to check out some of the book shops there and see what we could find!
Before we went, i researched some book shops in Amsterdam so we could have a whole afternoon of exploring new book shops (honestly, is there anything better than going on a trip with a bookish pal?!). There ended up being so many that i wanted to visit! And so many that specified they were English book shops or sold English books. I was amazed at the amount of choice for English speakers (which admittedly, is most of Amsterdam).
The first book shop we went to was Scheltema. This was one we actually just happened upon instead of planning to go to. Straight away we went to the YA section to see what they had in English and see what kind of covers were different to the ones in the U.K. Very quickly this became our favourite thing to do in Amsterdam, just looking at the different covers! Scheltema also became our favourite book shop there. I felt it was a little bit like a Foyles in the U.K. in the way it was set out and how the displays were. I absolutely loved it.
We also went to the New English Bookstore and Used English Bookstore. I’m assuming these are run by the same people, but i cannot be sure. I really enjoyed these two places, especially the second hand and seeing what was in there. It felt like being back in a second-hand book shop in the U.K.
One place i really did enjoy was Athenaeum Boekhandel. We visited this shop on our last day after finding it on the first and not checking it out. This was my favourite little place that had a really small, but really well stocked and lovely YA and English fiction section. It was so so lovely and the staff at this shop were the most helpful and delightful i met while there. Plus they wrapped their books up in paper when you bought something i literally fangirled over this a little bit. Me and Sophie managed to find a copy of What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera in English while we were in that shop. So obviously bought it.
We made a trip to the Waterstones in Amsterdam too, to add it to my list of Waterstones in the world that i want to visit (the geekiest list in all the land). It was a classic Waterstones, it felt like being back in the U.K. again. The sections were really nicely laid out in this Waterstones and the most excited we got was when we found the British food section! How strange!
We came across the Uni Book Market while we were there. In the grounds of Amsterdam Uni there’s a little book market down a side alley, which had plenty of choices of second hand books and some really good English titles. I didn’t buy anything from there but it was a really nice place to have a wander and browse.
My biggest disappointment of the trip was the American Book Center – and it was the one i was most excited for! I’d heard absolutely fantastic things about this place, and admittedly the layout of the shop is lovely, and they had an alright choice of books, it just wasn’t for me. There wasn’t much in the sense of YA and everything there seemed to be much more expensive than everywhere else (i’m going to write a full blog post on this, keep an eye out). I did enjoy my trip to this shop, and maybe it’s because i hyped it up so much, but i just wasn’t really feeling it when i was there.
Let me know if you’ve been to Amsterdam (or are from there!) and your thoughts on the book shops. It’s now one of my favourite places and i absolutely adored checking out these different book shops.