Open Bare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

I usually like to dash about taking in as much as I can to let my friends know what’s about to see. But on entering the Open Bare Bibliotheek I decided that Val wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t concentrate on this wonderful library. On the opposite bank of the canal directly in front of my hotel is moored a clutch of modern buildings to the east of the Centraal station. The only spoiler is the rather out of place floating Chinese restaurant the Sea Palace. Though it is a remarkable replica boasting a host of facts in itself including possibly a record breaking number of tiny lights. It just seems to sit like the out of place duckling among the architectural swans slightly disturbing the impressive modernist lines that lead the eye down to the impressive bibliotheek. The Sea Palace is a dearly loved place locally and serves fantastic food but it just doesn’t sit right in my eye. No offence meant.

Reading Room with a View

28500 square metres over 10 floors of public lending, 1200 seats, 600 internet connected studying zones, 2 museums, café and restaurant and enough parking spaces for 2000 bikes.

This is building full of people studying, reading, meeting, sharing, laughing and learning. Do not take the lifts. This action breaks the hearts of architects the world over. Escalators are designed to give you a visual tour. A moving, changing series of grand lines, morphing vistas and brand new layers of changing shapes, colours and light.

The stunning children’s library with reading hideouts


Float up through the neat floors of cleanly regimented bookshelves that are lit with LED strips. These clever lights reflect back their shine onto the spines of the books that then glitter and jostle for attention. “Pick me! Open me! Read me! Learn from me… invest in knowledge.” Every book sings with joy like rows of faceted diamonds as you walk around or drift along up and down the escalators. They look amazing.


Futuristic study pods where friends study and socialise together


Designed in 2007 by Jo Coenen at a cost €80 million. Just 1 of 28 public libraries in the city. With 43 lending points, 1.7 million books and a membership of 165,000

Chat me up people

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