Book City

I spent the afternoon wandering around the World Book Market (wereldboekenmarkt in Dutch) making fairly random purchases, some fiction, one book on art and a recipe book covered in a cotton tartan (Stewart I think) with Scottish recipes presented in English and Dutch.

The market was along about 4km of the city’s canals and was part of the Amsterdam World Book Capital Year.

Some books I didn’t buy – Casanova’s memoirs in six volumes.
The market was right around the Stadhuis (Town Hall) and Waterlooplein
… along St Antoniesbreestraat, where it was mainly publishers and where I picked up a “damaged” book for 2 euro. I haven’t yet found the damage, maybe there’s a vital page missing and I won’t know until I read it.
Outside the Pinto library was the library rat, or rather Geronimo Stilton – kids were getting their photo taken with him. were promoting themselves with simple big balloons and small giveaway balloons announcing that they also sell second hand books.
The prettiest part of the market was along the Gelderskade.

The city wasn’t crowded, and I did hear from one of the stall holders that it hadn’t been that well promoted – I haven’t seen much in the way of posters or ads so he might be right. Made it a pleasure for me though, I’m not good in big crowds. Now I’m off to read my books.


Welcome to the World Book Capital

Today Amsterdam becomes the World Book Capital for a year. There were some opening events around the city including something at the Westerkerk which had this display outside, it translates as “City full of Stories”.

I’m looking forward to the events, especially the book fair on May 18, when part of the historic centre will become a street book fair.

“Book Seeks Reader”

These billboards are up around town, promoting an exhibition of book advertisements since the seventeenth century. The exhibition runs until 1 June, 10-5 each day, at Oude Turftmarkt 129 (near Muntplein).

The ads – at least the ones in the poster – aren’t for a specific book, but rather promoting books and reading in general. The one with the cat encourages you to “give a book”, the one to the right says “holidays: time to read”

According to the official information (translation mine)

The trigger for ‘Book Seeks Reader’ is the fact that the collection of the Library and Booksellers Foundation became part of the Special Collections fifty years ago. This exhibition on the theme of propaganda and advertisements for books gives a historic overview of how the Dutch reader has been led to buy books for many years. ‘Book Seeks Reader’ is part of the year of Amsterdam as the World Capital of Books, and Book Week 2008[12-22 March].

It looks like a fun exhibition, it’s a shame it’s not featured on the world book site.

Two Months to Go

Amsterdam becomes the World Book Capital on 23 April 2008. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, I thought there’d be fun events, great speakers, book fairs. But there are just five events listed for the year.

I hope that’s not it.

New Library

Amsterdam’s new public library was officially opened today.

It’s in a brand new, purpose built building, on the old harbour area, 7 floors of books sounds a lot like my idea of heaven. The collection includes books in a myriad of languages, there is a big English language section, plus Spanish, Arabic, Persian and others. For 25 euro per year it’s probably the best value in town.

You should be able to see more images from the opening on their website from Sunday 08 July.

The whole building is flooded with natural light, and the feeling is spacious and airy. It’s a big contrast to the old library on Prinsengracht which was dark and cramped. The lowest floor is the children’s area, it is overlooked by other sections of the library – making it so much easier for families using the library. There are also event rooms/spaces on (I think!) every floor.
There are some delightful design elements, some foam “egg chairs” and these work cubicles, designed to let students have a little privacy while they work.
On the seventh floor is a terrace cafe which probably has the best view in the city, it overlooks the old harbour, the large building in the background to the left is the Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum).

Bookworms of Amsterdam

Amsterdam will be the world book capital in 2008. I know this was announced in June, but I’ve only just found out. I was looking at the public library website to find out whether they’re open tomorrow (they are).

It seems like an extra special Christmas gift for a bookworm in Amsterdam.