Amsterdam for Book Lovers: Where to find English books

I love reading, and coming from the US, I couldn’t bring a lot of books to read. I was worried that I would have trouble finding a good selection of English books in a Dutch speaking country. I was totally wrong! There are many, many bookstores in Amsterdam, including English language bookstores.

Posted by at Jan 10, 2017 02:55 PM

There are several options for finding English books in Amsterdam. There are stores that deal in new books, used bookstores, used book markets, and general second-hand markets where you can often find books.  Each option is a joy to explore.

The easiest way to find English language books is to go to a square called the Spui, in the city center. Here you find two English bookstores, The American Book Center and Waterstones.

Waterstones features a great selection of English books and is right on a main shopping street

Both stores have great selections and feature the newest book releases. They both have a very nice recommended section, from which I have picked up a couple books. The American book center is especially great for students as it offers a 10% discount!

American Book Center
The American Book Center features a similar selection to Waterstones, but with a 10% student discount!

There are also many, many used bookstores throughout Amsterdam. I’ve even been told that Amsterdam has one of the highest bookstore per capita ratios in the world! Almost all of these book stores have a section in English where you can find great deals.

There is also a used book market called the Oudemanhuispoort book market, that is really fun to walk through. It is located inside an old passage, near the red light district. The books are sold out of little stalls crammed full of books. Like the used book stores, each vendor will usually have at least a small English section. This market features a lot of classic authors like Ernest Hemingway, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen etc.

Oudemanhuispoort Book Market
The Oudemanhuispoort is located in this very pretty covered alley in the old town

Another really nice feature of this market is that there are a couple vendors who sell vintage posters and pictures. I picked up a couple photos of Amsterdam from circa 1900 (see title photo) that really have helped brighten up my room.

The last way to find English books is to wander through some of the many second hand markets in Amsterdam. The best one for books that I have found is on Waterlooplein, near the Rembrandt House. There are several vendors that have a mix of random antique trinkets that often include books. Once again, the selection of books tends towards the classics.

Little House
One of my favorite views in Amsterdam is just steps from the 2nd hand market

Besides books, it is really fun to look through all the weird things that people are selling. If you’re into antique curiosities, it’s definitely worth a look.

I highly encourage everyone to check these places out. There is always something to find and for non-native English speakers, it’s a great way to improve your English!

Comment below if you’ve found a bookstore in Amsterdam that I should check out, or if you have any questions!

Posted by at Jan 10, 2017 02:55 PM