Book stores are disappearing throughout Amsterdam, and magazine publishers are shutting down by the drones. In the age of e-readers, it’s a joy that a traditional book store such as Athenaeum – housed in one of the prettiest buildings right in the centre of Amsterdam – is still around. I love the feeling of leafing through freshly printed paper. The smell as well!
The great thing about Athenaeum is that they have a lot of choice without being totally overwhelming or overly commercial. The people that work there really know their way around and they can find you pretty much anything you need – from philosophy to poetry to recent fiction. They have a really decent English department, too.
Next door to the main book store there’s a separate section that focuses solely on magazines. It’s here that I mostly end up, as they sell almost every magazine under the sun, even independent ones like the awesome cinema mag Little White Lies or the awesome McSweeney’s Lucky Peach, which are hard to get by elsewhere in the city.
Athenaeum works because it’s not trying too hard to be cutting edge – it sticks to what it’s been doing for ages, and does it well.