10 February 2016
Getting lost in cramped, packed and rare second-hand bookshops has always had its charms for me. Perhaps it is a matter of being surrounded, quite literally, by brilliant ideas and stories. Although these little gems are rare, what I find even more uncommon is unveiling that same charm in a magazine and news shop. Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum does that.
The first time I walked in (and not past) Athenaeum was in the summer of 2014. I was balancing two huge boxes of Foam Magazine on my bike from the museum, trying to distribute my concentration between passersby and my trajectory. Athenaeum was to set up a window display for our Talent issue, so I was delivering the first batch of magazines. I passed on the boxes, signed the consignment form, and walked back into the shop. My eyes immediately latched on to dozens of bold and colourful magazine covers. Without meaning to, my hands reached out to look inside magazines on design, on food, on art, on everything under the sun.
The Nieuwscentrum opened in 1969 as a new section of the already existing Athenaeum Bookshop, which itself was opened in 1966.The bookstore itself manages two libraries in the city, the Amsterdam Museum library and the Rijksmuseum library which are definitely sights for sore eyes. It is at the heart of the city, and is a safeguard of classical languages, linguistics, literary studies, politics, news, philosophy, history, law and the social sciences.
What I love most about the Nieuwscentrum is how it encourages young, emerging magazine makers to display their work.They have a section of zines (small, self-published works) which boasts an array of talent and passion for various topics. My most recent favourite is Put A Egg On It, a “digest-sized art and literary magazine printed on green paper out of New York City,” which revolves around cooking and the comforts of dining and wining.
So if you want to get lost somewhere other than the canals whilst you’re in Amsterdam, get lost in this news/bookstore. It will be worth your while, I promise.
Amsterdam 1012 XA