Bookish Travel in Amsterdam

Colourful books in a small wooden box outside of a red brick house

If you fancy a city break somewhere that has a clearly defined love of literature, consider taking a trip to Amsterdam. Books might not be the first thing you think of when you consider Amsterdam as a holiday destination, and sure enough the city really does have an excessive amount to offer most holiday-goers, but nonetheless it’s a great spot for anyone with a passion for reading. 

Finding Books in Amsterdam

If you want to find books, all you have to do is step off the beaten tourist track. As you start to explore the suburbs and more residential areas, you’ll start to notice books. In nice weather, people often put tomes and novels out on tables in front of their houses to be taken or exchanged. There are a number of apartment blocks with little libraries at the bottom as well, meaning you’ll be able to have a flick through books even when it’s raining! 

If you head down Haarlemmerdijk, which is close to the city centre, take a moment to have a look under the large overhead bridges on the side streets. Here, there are multiple outdoor book cases absolutely full of fantastic reading material. It’d be easy to spend a whole day pouring over the vast quantity of literature available at your fingertips. 

As expected, many of the books to be found will be in Dutch, but there are occasionally English options on offer too, so have a good look when you come across a bookish stop on your travels. Aside from all the free books and book swaps on offer, there are many independent bookshops to enjoy, plenty of which will have a few English options in stock.

Reading Nooks

Aside from all the places to find new reading, Amsterdam is a great destination for readers because of all the amazing reading nooks to be experienced. On a sunny day in spring or summer, finding a spot to sit by the canal and get lost in a book is simply magical. Even when the weather is less than ideal, Amsterdam’s prominent coffee culture means that there are countless fantastic cafés where you can experience a truly great coffee while reading. 

Colourful books in a small wooden box outside of a red brick house
Bookish Travel in Amsterdam

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