The Spui art and book markets
Find cultural treasures and unique gifts
Located next to the busy Kalverstraat shopping street, the Spui square is home to a wholly different kind of commerce: the weekly art market, held on Sundays between March and the end of December, and the book market, every Friday, come rain or shine, turn the square into an artistic and literary centre. Buy beautiful artworks directly from their creators at the art market – also known as Artplein – or enjoy a leisurely browse through the literary treasures on offer at the book market.
Buy art in Amsterdam, directly from the source
At the Artplein art market you’ll find paintings, watercolours, prints, sculptures, ceramics and jewellery by around 60 different artists from around Holland and abroad. Because you buy directly from the artists, you can ask them all sorts of questions about their work or just have a chat – and knowing who created the new painting on your wall will make it a souvenir that’s so much more memorable. Good to know: the market operates a rotating seller system, so there is always something new to see each week. The market is open during the months March to December, every Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.
Amsterdam’s book market
The triangular Spui public square sits right in the centre of Amsterdam and has a bit of a reputation as an artsy and literary place. The weekly Friday book market, held in all weathers and seasons, is a meeting point for collectors, writers and, of course, regular readers. It is watched over by three popular bookshops: the American Book Center, the academic Atheneum (and its magazine specialist offshoot) and, a little further up, a branch of Waterstones. The square is also home to a publishing house and Spui25, a venue for literary and poetry events, while the surrounding traditional cafés and pubs have for decades been haunts for writers fond of a tipple.
In the neighbourhood
The Spui is right in the centre of Amsterdam, so there is plenty to do nearby: continue shopping (but this time for fashion) on Kalverstraat, check out Madame Tussaud’s famous waxworks or visit the Royal Palace on Dam Square. Delve into the history of Amsterdam at the Amsterdam Museum, just around the corner. Or explore the canals – the UNESCO-listed Canal Ring begins right behind the Spui and holds such treasures as the Houseboat Museum and the Canal House Museum.
Take a break from Amsterdam’s busiest public spots by checking out the historic courtyard of the Begijnhof, hidden out of sight behind the Spui. A wander around this tranquil garden will certainly help you catch your breath and recharge before your next bout of sightseeing in the city centre.