You know you are in for some real bookish serendipity in Amsterdam when the first thing that greets you upon disembarking from the plane, while making your way to collect your luggage, is this stylish yet very functional Airport Library at Schiphol.

The library offers translated Dutch fiction in thirty languages, photo books, photo shows and videos that reflect Dutch culture. One can also listen to the music of Dutch musicians if one is in the mood for it.

Coming across this unique little library so unexpectedly right at the start of the trip was indeed a most welcomed and refreshing sight, especially after a 12 hour long haul flight.

After safely checking into our B&B, it was time to stroll the streets of Amsterdam and savour the pleasing sights of endless canals, bridges, boathouses and bicycles in the city.

Having had the day started at the Airport Library in the morning, it was not unbefitting to decide to end it at the largest public library in Amsterdam (and Europe, for that matter), the Centrale Bibliotheek which is conveniently located just about 5 minutes walk from the Central Station.

The children’s section.
The graphic novels section.
This was one of those moments when I wished I could read Dutch.

All in all, not bad for a first day, wouldn’t you say? πŸ˜‰


15 thoughts on “Off to a good start in Amsterdam….

  1. Your pictures are so awesome. Every time I see library shots from Europe, I want to hop on a plane and never look back. It must be nice to travel in a culture that reads. : )


    1. Thanks, Cassie. Yes, it is really very nice indeed to be found in a culture that reads and loves books. You feel such a sense of familiarity, and it does help to make one feel quite at home, quite easily. πŸ™‚


  2. I tried finding the library when I was at Schiphol but didn’t see it…
    But I’m not sure if we really have a reading culture anymore…I think young people these days don’t feel up to reading all that much anymore.
    Only in summer or Christmas holidays…


    1. The library was just beside the Rijksmuseum Shop. You might try it looking again the next time you take off from Schiphol. πŸ™‚
      Too bad for the young people then, especially when you are blessed with so many great bookstores over there.


    1. Thanks, Paulita! I’ve never heard of it too, prior to this. Yes, a great idea no doubt. Wouldn’t it be great if the idea catches on and we get to have it in every airport? πŸ™‚
      Thanks for the links to your book! Will check it out.


    1. I have always wanted to visit the libraries in foreign countries but with time always being a big constraint, I rarely get to do so. This was really quite a treat, I would say. πŸ™‚


        1. I think Michelle means what other airport libraries have you come across. I can tell that in 2011 two more airport libraries opened at international airports in Taiwan, Taoyuan and Songshan. And in airports in the US (Fort Lauderdale), Finland (Helsinki) and Turkey (Istanbul) there are library-like amenities since 2011/2012.


  3. It’s very inspiring to read the compliments on Airport Library in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, that is in fact a branch of the Dutch public libraries. Thank you all for that.
    I can’t help ask your attention for Europe’s first public library for train commuters in the monumental train station of the city of Haarlem, 20km west of Amsterdam. This very beautiful library – outside as well as inside – is also an initiative by Dutch library organization ProBiblio.
    If you’re interested, check the photos at or the video at at (click “Over ons”; English subtitles).


    1. Why didn’t anyone tell me about the Haarlem station library earlier?! I was on a train that did stop at the Haarlem train station. If only I knew about the library earlier, I would have jumped off to take a peek! Sigh….. can only hope to have the chance to visit again sometime in the future.


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