Occupying a staggering 28,000 m2 – Amsterdam boasts Europe’s largest public library, the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam Public Library).
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA)
Opened in July 2007, the Amsterdam Public Library today stands as a modern architectural gem on the Oosterdokseiland, just a five-minute walk east of Central Station.
Open 7 days a week, some 2.5 million users and visitors annually make it the largest of all the public libraries in Amsterdam, known collectively as OBA, as well as across the Netherlands.
The library was conceived by Jo Coenen, the former state architect of the Netherlands, and is spread over seven floors in a cutting-edge ecological design. In 2008, it was awarded the accolade of ‘Most Sustainable Public Building in Amsterdam'.
In addition to unique collections, the library also consists of a theatre, a radio station, conference rooms, exhibition space, a music department, study pods, a readers’ café and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking the city. The unique selection of seating throughout the library offers south-facing panoramic views and gives the feel of a modern art museum.
For information on Europe and the EU, there is the Europe Direction Information Point in the library, one of 13 partners in the Netherlands that form a wider network created by the European Commission. From books and reports to databases on laws and statistics, you can consult material free of charge.
Join the Club
Facilities include 600 Internet-connected computers, 50 multimedia workplaces, 110 catalogue reference terminals and 11 print and copy stations.
A vast range of international newspapers and magazines are also free to the public. For the use of CDs and DVDs, a small fee is charged for weekly rental.
OBA members, however, enjoy greater access to the library and the use of its resources, plus discounted tickets to cultural events, OBA-selected events, and discounts at various bookshops across the city. To join, you will need a form of ID and proof of address. Membership is free for under 19s.
Good to know
Opening hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Improved access for wheelchair users
Quick reference counter with expert help
Underground storage area for 2,000 bikes and 1,200 parking places for cars
Visit the English-language website of the Amsterdam Public Library at OBA