At 10a.m. every Friday, Spui, right next to the Esprit Café, is transformed into a book enthusiast’s haven. Rows upon rows of books, in English, Dutch, German, French and more, await the word-hungry reader to be mesmerized by what lies beneath their covers. The Boekenmarkt op het Spui undoubtedly holds something for everyone’s intellectual sweet-tooth.
Bringing over 25 booksellers from across the Netherlands together for more than 20 years, these second-hand collectors have acquired a diverse collection of rare and out of print books. Rain or shine, these booksellers continue the historical tradition in the Netherlands of the freedom of the press, books containing ideas and opinions on almost every subject can be found. Fiction, children’s stories, photography, social science, philosophy, nature, technology, transcripts, and maps are all on display, and for reasonable prices.
Each bookseller is also a member of the “Spui Book Market Association,” which outlines specific professional and product quality principles and also acts as the legal representative of each bookseller. The association also organizes the annual “Boekennacht,” an evening of celebration specially for the printed medium in and around Spui.
If that one book you’re collection is missing happens to be out of your price range, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the seller and negotiate a new price. And if you can’t be in Amsterdam on a Friday, check out the book market in Oudemanhuispoort every day except Sunday for more second-hand books, prints and sheet music.
After perusing the narrow aisles of books, curl up in one of the many cafes situated in the core of Amsterdam, with the café’s cat at your feet, and begin reading your newfound gem.