If you enjoy reading and you’re in the Netherlands, then you’re in luck! The country has some of the most incredible bookstores and a devoted reading culture. From all-American book centres to refurbished mediaeval churches that have been transformed into bookshops, the Netherlands has it all!
Explore Dutch books and international literature at these bookshopsReading is a common hobby in the Netherlands, and has become even more popular after the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re a bookworm, these are some of the most incredible bookstores in the Netherlands.
1. American Book CenterA local independent and family-owned chain with locations in Amsterdam, The Hague and Leidschendam, the American Book Center – or ABC – has a spectacular selection of books and audiobooks exclusively in English. The Amsterdam shop has three stories of shelves and stairs packed with books (yes even the stairs have bookshelves running along them!), guaranteeing a book for everyone. The café serves some of the most delicious coffee and food that pairs perfectly with a new book.
2. Athenaeum BoekhandelLocated in the heart of Amsterdam, Athenaeum has some of the best collections of books, presented in a beautiful and ambient atmosphere. Renowned for its Nieuwscentrum, this bookstore has international magazines that you will not be able to find anywhere else! Alongside a great selection of Dutch literature, the shop also offers a variety of international content in a multitude of languages, as well as textbooks for university students and teachers.
3. Boekhandel DominicanenThis bookstore is especially unique because, as the name suggests, it is located in a remodelled church! Boekhandel Dominicanen occupies a 13th-century Dominican church in Maastricht, and the stunning Gothic architecture is worth the visit alone. The store stocks books, CDs, mediaeval paintings and vinyls, but also hosts various cultural events, book signings, debates, lectures, interviews, musical performances, and a plethora of other weekly activities – there’s something for everyone at Dominicanen.
4. StanzaStanza is a quaint little bookstore in The Hague, and it has an incredible collection of books in Dutch, English, Russian, French, German and Portuguese. The store specialises in collecting books about law, and is known for its peaceful ambience and springtime aesthetic. Everything is in shades of green with pops of colour throughout, making it the perfect place to while away the hours and browse the shelves looking for your next read.
5. Mayflower BookshopMayflower Bookshop is a gorgeous English bookstore in Leiden, a stunning university town in the Netherlands. The store has that old book smell we all love, giving the place a very cosy vibe, completed by the book-lined walls. The store’s selection is so fascinating that one trip won’t be enough – you’ll keep on coming back for more!
6. De SlegteThis comfy bookstore has an abundance of second-hand books that have been well-loved. De Slegte in Rotterdam is a great place to venture to if you prefer pre-loved pieces of literature, although it does have new releases for those who prefer a fresh book. The bookshop also has frequent book signings and lectures given by poets, authors, writers, and lecturers.
7. Den BoerDen Boer is a marvellous bookstore in Baarn, which is less than half an hour outside of Amsterdam and is easily accessible via public transportation. The bookstore is in a Jugendstil building from 1887, and it’s a picturesque dream with high, arched windows and wood-panelled interiors. With a wide selection of content for all ages in an elegant setting, this is a bookstore worth visiting.
Profit from the Netherlands’ voracious book scene If you enjoy reading, then make sure to meander through these exquisite bookstores in the Netherlands. Of course, bookstores aren’t the only place where bibliophiles can crawl through shelves upon shelves of books – take a look at IamExpat’s lists of the best libraries in the Netherlands and the best libraries across Europe.
If you’ve got any other gems to add, let us know in the comments below!