Today I am absolutely thrilled to welcome one of my favourite people, Kimi, to the blog ❤ I hope you guys enjoy the first installment of the Amsterdam Bookshop Hop!
Hallo! And welcome to my guest post on Fi’s blog! As you may already know, I used to work with Fi as a Bookseller, and we podcast about books over at A Tale of Two Booksellers, so I won’t bore you with introductions, and will dive right in to the exciting business of exploring Amsterdam’s bookish places!
Anyone who has known me for more than about 0.5 seconds knows how much I love Amsterdam. I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about my un-dying, all-consuming love affair with that city, and I visit as often as I can (a feat made much easier since my best gal Kayleigh moved out there last year!). My ultimate goal in life is to own a floating bookshop out there…
During my last visit, in mid-March, I decided I was going to dive head-first into Amsterdam’s many boekhandels. On previous visits, I had always made time to visit the Amsterdam branch of the bookshop chain I work for, as well as once taking myself on a cycling tour of the places featured in The Fault in Our Stars, but had never really devoted time to exploring bookshops. I know… shame on me.
Some of the boekhandels I explored alone, some with my partner Ash, and a lot of them with Kayleigh. But over the next three blogs (part two will be over on Lois’ blog, and part three over on Sarah’s blog, as well as a Dutch Book Haul and general waffle about some of my observations whilst exploring over on Katie’s blog) I’ll be showing you some of the places that we visited – from small indie bookshops, to huge libraries, to boekenmarkt’s hidden down shadowy passageways – and chatting a little bit about them.
Originally, I had been very ambitious, and planned out all of the bookshops I was going to visit, along with routes and… well. The best laid plans of mice and men, eh? To be honest, I was having the time of my life just being in Amsterdam, and often found myself happily side-tracked by some new canal street I wanted to explore or shop I wanted to dive into. In total, I managed to visit 10 places (and visited 3 that were, unfortunately, closed).
Now, to the good stuff – the Book Fun!
Bibliotheek – OBA Oosterdok.
The Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (‘Amsterdam Public Library’) is an organisation of local libraries in and around Amsterdam, and it’s Central branch on Oosterdok is quite something to behold. 10 floors (yes, 10!), several cafes and restaurants, hosts not one but two radio stations, exhibition spaces… and so much more (including an excellent view).
This was our first stop of the exploration, and we spent a good couple of hours in there and didn’t even manage to explore half of it! Of course, Kayleigh and I being who we are, our main focus was the Children’s, YA, and Fiction sections, and we had an absolute whale of a time finding our favourite books! Please enjoy these photos, including my personal favourite – Kayleigh proudly holding a Laini Taylor book aloft after she found them!
Boekhandel de Dolfijn – Haarlemmerdijk 92
I wanted to visit Boekhandel de Dolfijn because I had read several blogs online that had said that it was a Children’s Bookshop. As a Children’s Bookseller (and with Fi also having been a children’s specialist), I really wanted to check it out and chat about it on this blog. Unfortunately, upon arrival it became clear that de Dolfijn is no longer a Children’s Bookshop, but a small and cosy indie bookshop, with a good selection of both Dutch and English (but mostly Dutch) books. It does have a children’s section, but it is quite small (the bookseller that I spoke to joked that it could well be the smallest children’s section in the city!). I was glad to have visited, and have a wander around and see what books they had, however I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed about the mix-up!
Scheltema – Rokin 9
I was pointed in the direction of Scheltema by my colleague in the Amsterdam Waterstones, as she thought I would find it interesting – it is basically the Dutch version of Waterstones! Opened in 1853, it is very similar to larger W stores. In a beautiful, historic exterior is a modern and airy bookshop, with several floors and a HUGE selection! A mixture of Dutch and English books, and even a used book section, as well as a cafe or two, Kayleigh and I had a wonderful time exploring it’s floors – especially the YA and Children’s sections, of course! (Just a note – I noticed that a lot of Dutch bookshops keep their YA away from the children’s sections, and treat it less a part of the kids section than British bookshops do, but I’ll expand on that in my post on Katie’s blog!)
Of course, we loved the Book Boat (which we nicknamed HNLMS Boekenworm), and finding our favourite books. And I was also thrilled to see Laura Steven’s The Exact Opposite of Okay seems HUGE out there right now! (Which is because it’s a bloody fantastic book, duh.)
So there we have it – part one of my Amsterdam Bookshop Hop! I hope you enjoyed my wanderings, and don’t forget to keep on the look out for part’s two and three – as well as the haul – soon! Huge thanks to Fiona for being wonderful and hosting my mad idea for a blog post!
When not waffling on other people’s blogs, I can be found podcasting about books with Fi over at A Tale of Two Booksellers. I can be found on Instagram at @coffeeeyesandblankstares (where I pretty much post exclusively about books and cats), and twitter at @kimiallover. You can also follow our podcast on social media: @ataleoftwobooksellers on Instagram, and @TwoBooksellers on Twitter.