The Dutch Biking
Bookshop Tour

The best way of getting to know a new country is to start with their literature. There are numerous specialist and independent bookshops in the Netherlands, but they are definitely hard to find. This blog is devoted to those bookshops; where to go to if you want to get to know the Dutch culture better.

Just grab a bike and start in Rotterdam. The city has a history of being bombed
in World War II but is now an exciting area for modern architecture. It is a combination of old and new and has a vibrant culture of artists and other
creative companies.

DE KLEINE KAPITEIN

The first stop of this Dutch biking bookshop tour is a children’s shop in Rotterdam called: De Kleine Kapitein (The Small Captain).

dekleinekapitein_outside_web

They recently moved to a large space (340m2) in a new tall building in the city center. They sell books and more books and more books and some toys. It is packed with colorful crazy fantasy animals, and it is an oasis of happiness. Strolling through the store will give you a little insight into the Dutch collective childhood, and you will meet famous characters like Pluk van de Petteflet and Nijntje. Also: if you have the weird desire to learn Dutch, this is the right place to start. The charming ladies working there will recommend you some easy reads.

kapitein_inside_web
NAi BOOKSELLER

After this sea of colors, we drive our bikes to Het Nieuwe Instituut. This is a space for architecture, design, and e-culture. It is placed in the Museumpark where you will find the finest museums and art spaces in Rotterdam.

naibookstore_outside_web

Inside the building is a bookshop of NAi010 publishers. These are two publishers combined and have a huge collection of books on architecture, design, and art—mostly in two languages. Besides, it is an excellent place to get your books about the country, the cities, biking tours, and architectural guides.

naibookseller_books_web
PRINTROOM

A few blocks from this bookseller, there is a hidden space for the writers/designers/artists among us: we go to the PrintRoom. They dedicate themselves to artists’ publications, small press and self-publishing projects.

printroom_outside_web

Inside this tiny shop, you will find an amazing range of weird grungy publications, and it will make you very greedy. Everybody interested in self-publishing has to visit the Printroom or follow them online.

printroom_books_web
INTERNATIONAL BOOKSHOP HET FORT VAN SJAKOO

It is time we take the train to Amsterdam. To a shop located 10 minutes from the Central Station. Amsterdam in the late 70s was a city of ideals. The city was in decay; many houses were rotten and empty and had been squatted by left-wing activists. It is hard to imagine in the rich touristic paradise Amsterdam is now, but there are traces of this time of creativity and freedom still visible. One of the best examples is Het Fort van Sjakoo (Sjakoo’s fortress). The left-activist bookshop opened his doors in 1977 for all the people who were ‘against the system’. Nowadays, they still sell books/ magazine and publications fighting against the establishment, but mostly it is a great place of seeing a piece of Amsterdam in the 70s. (Don’t visit on Sundays, as I did, they are closed on the day of God.)

fortvansjakoo_outside_web
LAMBIEK

And our last treasure, which has been around for quite a while too is Lambiek: The best comic shop in the Netherlands but probably the whole world. Situated in the centre of Amsterdam since 1968, it is more than worth a visit.

lambiek_outside_web

It is not only a party to be there for the real comic geeks, but as well for the ignorant to have a look at the huge collection of books.

lambiek_inside_web
This is only a glimpse of the variety of independent bookshops in the Netherlands but so much the more a good reason for a visit: Go and buy a book, settle down in a warm café and drink a nice cup of tea with a stroopwafel (by far the best cookie in the world).

 

Addresses:
DE KLEINE KAPITEIN
Botersloot 173, 3011 HE Rotterdam
T: +31 10 4124750
Open: Mon 12-18 Tue – Wed – Thurs – 9-18 Fri – 9-21 Sat – 9-17
http://www.kleinekapitein.nl

NAi BOOKSELLER
Museumpark 25, 3015 CB Rotterdam
T: +31 10 4401203
Open: Tue-Sat 10-17 Sun 11-17
http://www.nai010.com

PRINTROOM
Schietbaanstraat 17, NL3014 ZV Rotterdam
T: +31 6 18012478
Open: Thur- Sat 12-18
http://www.printroom.org/

INTERNATIONAL BOOKSHOP HET FORT VAN SJAKOO
Jodenbreestraat 24, 1011 NK Amsterdam
T: +31 20 625 8979
Open: Mon – Fri 11-18, Sat 11-17
http://www.sjakoo.nl/

LAMBIEK
Kerkstraat 132, 1017 GP Amsterdam
T: +31 (0) 20 626 7543
Open: Mon – Fri 11- 18, Sat 11 – 17, Sun 13 – 17
http://www.lambiek.net

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