The 5 most beautiful libraries in Holland

In stunning post offices, in magnificent churches, under heavenly vaults… Holland has a real fervour for books, and you can see it at a glance at its most beautiful libraries. Check out all our private tours of Holland here!

You go to Holland to stroll along the canals, smell the tulips, ride a bike and see the paintings of the masters …… But the surprising thing is that it turns out that one of Holland’s greatest national treasures, which few people abroad know about, is its libraries. Here are five of its most beautiful places, with additional tips for a spectacular bookshop.

Cuypers Library (Amsterdam)

Cuypers, the oldest and largest art history library in the Netherlands. It can be visited in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. During a standard visit you can admire its magnificence from the balcony of room 2.16, but anyone can enter and see its books and objects: there are 450,000 of them, but some of them are safely stored in underground tunnels! You can see a lot of books here.

A curious fact? The large skylight above the library’s reading room was a very modern innovation for its time: the library opened in 1885. This, combined with the luminous painting of the upper part of the building, meant that daytime visitors did not need candles or gas lamps to read.

 “Book Mountain (spijkenisse)

The impressive Book Mountain is the work of the MRDV office in Spijkenisse. Through its glass façade we can see how the shelves fit into its pyramidal structure, which resembles a small literary mountain.

The 9,300 square metre building has book platforms connected by wide staircases that link to form a path around the mountain to the top: here there is a café with a panoramic view of the Spijkenisse market square.

In addition, shelving made from recycled flower pots and a complex heating and cooling system make the library a benchmark for sustainable design.

The “neude” library (Utrecht).

First it was a monastery, then a post office and now a library. The path this space has taken to become one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands is far from predictable, and so is its architecture.

The architect who designed the office, J. Crouwel Jr., was inspired by the work of Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (father of the famous architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the impressive Helsinki Central Station).

The jewel in the building’s crown is its impressive foyer, with its beautiful parabolic arches of yellow glazed brick. The architectural ensemble is completed by several sculptures, one for each continent.

Now, in addition to the magnificent library, there are several shops, an auditorium and, of course, a 1,000 square metre bicycle parking area.

DePetrus Library (Vught)

DePetrus, the name of a spectacular church, has been transformed into a cultural complex with library, museum, bar, restaurant and shops. The building dates from 1884 and was renovated in 2018 by Molenaar & Bol & Van Dillen Architecten to accommodate its current functions.

The space is so extraordinary that it is used several times a year for large events, as the architects have managed to make the use of the main building more flexible. In terms of appearance, it has been left virtually unchanged to give a greater feeling when entering.

The Central Library (Rotterdam)

Designed in 1983 by the Van den Broek studio, the Rotterdam Central Library is currently being renovated and, because of its special character, this building attracts the attention of passers-by. Its post-modern style is reminiscent of the famous Pompidou in Paris, especially the yellow tubes that circulate the air inside.

Inside are more than 500,000 books, films, comics, records, newspapers, magazines and e-books ……. In fact, the library also has a chess table and a canteen and receives around 2.5 million visitors a year.

Posted in Europe, The Netherlands.