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5 of the Best English Bookshops in Amsterdam

July 13, 2023

In honour of World Book Day on the 20th March, we sent Katie, from The Hostel Girl to investigate the best English Bookshops in Amsterdam. Read all about them below!

Het Fort van Sjakoo

Amsterdam is a hotbed for independent thinking, which is what makes Het Fort van Sjakoo such unique bookshop.

With just as large a selection of English language books as Dutch, the bookshop ‘unofficially’ opened in 1977 in a squatted building. Eleven years later the radical and libertarian store was officially legalised. However it’s still run by a dedicated collective of volunteers who are just as dedicated to the libertarian cause as the books they sell.

The perfect example of this came when I realised I had forgotten a shopping bag. The helpful Dutchman behing the counter handed me a Heineken bag, but insisted on turning it inside out because he dissaproves of the company and its monopolisation of Amsterdam’s beer market!

Het Fort van Sjakoo bookshop
Het Fort van Sjakoo

Address: Jodenbreestraat 24, 1011 NK Amsterdam
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 11.00 – 18.00; Saturday: 11.00 – 17.00; Closed Sundays

The Book Exchange

Self-described as “the best second-hand bookshop in Amsterdam”, The Book Exchange is a homely independent store located close to the Red Light District.

It might look small from the outside. But once you step into the warm atmosphere that only comes from the smell of second-hand books, you’ll soon find that one room soon leads to another, which then leads to the basement.

If you’re travelling on a budget and looking for all kinds of fiction, then this is the store to find it.

The Book Exchange independent store
The Book Exchange

Address: Kloveniersburgwal 58, 1012CX Amsterdam
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 10.00 – 18.00; Sunday, 11.30 – 16.00

Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum

If you can’t travel without picking up your favourite magazine, the Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum stocks all the best in international magazines and quarterlies.

Staffed by hip Amsterdammers, the store is a side section of the Athenaeum Boekhandel (that also has a section for English language books). So whether you’re looking for your favourite music weekly or fashion monthly, they’ll definitely help you find it.

Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum international magazines and quarterlies

Address: Spui 14, 1012 RM Amsterdam
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 09.00 – 20.00; Sunday: 12.00 – 18.00

The American Book Center

Known by the local Amsterdammers simply as ‘ABC’, the The American Book Center is more than just a bookshop.

Literary events are held regularly, in both Dutch and English, and if you can’t make an event you can always take part in the ABC Reading Bingo!

A big favourite is their ‘mystery book’ section. Wrapped in shiney wrapping paper, with only a small quote visible to hint at the book’s contents, the mystery books are a great way to try a new genre or author! Pick one up and head to one of the cosy local cafés to unwrap it!

The American Book Center (ABC) bookshop
The American Book Centre

Address: Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 10.00 – 20.00; Sunday 11.00 – 18.30

Spui Book Market

What the Spui Book Market lacks in new fiction it makes up for in a quirky and creative mix of lithography prints, non-fiction books, maps and photography.

Known as the De Boekenmart Op Het Spui in Dutch, many of the books for sale on subjects such as the maritime industry, fashion, music and history are written in English. It’s the perfect place to find coffee table books with stunning photography.

Impossible to miss, unless you go on the wrong day, the book market runs every Friday right in the very centre of the Spui square.

Outdoor stalls at Spui Book Market
Spui Book Market

Address: Spui, 1012 Amsterdam
Opening Hours: Friday only: 10.00 – 18.00

Planning your trip to Amsterdam? Find out more about ClinkNoord or visit our group accommodation page to find out more about our rates and best deals.

Katie aka The Hostel Girl, has a passion for travel & the hostel community. She loves the power that hostels hold to unite people of all backgrounds under the same roofs internationally.