Amsterdam Sights


cultural books square

The Spui, originally a body of water, is the 'cultural books square of the Netherlands', with a high-quality weekly book market and a wide variety of book stores on or near the square, including 2 shops dedicated to English-language literature (American Book Center and Waterstones ).

Picturesque Spui Square with the inconspicuous entrance door to the Begijnhof

The Spui provides entry to the Begijnhof, an enclosed courtyard dating from the early 14th century.


Another famous shop at the Spui is the Athenaeum Boekhandel (book store) that is specialised in books on Amsterdam history. You can also find here a lot of cultural travel guides, dissertations on Amsterdam and restaurant guides.
Nextdoor is the Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum (news centre) offering foreign and local newspapers and magazines from all over the world in current affairs, design, art, fashion, cooking, interior design.

AthenaeumAthenaeum book store and news centre on Spui square

Amsterdam Book Market at the Spui

The book market is held every Friday, the whole year around. Old, rare, second hand and out-of-print books: all kind of books are brought to the Spui Book market by some 25 booksellers from all over the Netherlands. There is also a weekly art market on the Spui, every Sunday.

Statue 'Het Lieverdje'

A small statue for a street urchin, 'Het Lieverdje' ('The Little Darling'), stands on the square. The statue represents the youth of Amsterdam, always playing pranks, but with a heart of gold. The bronze statuette was unveiled in 1960.

Notable buildings at the Spui

  • Maagdenhuis (the administrative centre of the University of Amsterdam dating back to 1780)
  • Arti et Amicitiae (1841), an artists' society and art gallery at the corner of Rokin and Spui
  • Gebouw Helios (1895-96) at Spui 15-19, in Art Nouveau style, that nowadays houses a fish and seafood restaurant.
  • Oude Lutherse Kerk (1632-1633), Old Lutheran Church, across the Singel canal. On Sundays the church is still used for services by the Evangelical Lutheran Community in Amsterdam; on other days it is used as an aula by the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

esprit maagdenhuis oude luth kerk helios

Spui square is located very centrally. You can easily go here on foot from Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein or Dam Square. Also many tram lines stop at or near Spui.

How to get there?

tram1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 14, 16, 24, 25 - stop Spui
parkingParkKing Kalverstraat

 click on image to enlarge map

 click on image to enlarge map


nearby Attractions

Allard Pierson Museum   archaeological museum
Amsterdam Museum   700 years of history of amsterdam
Art Market   Artplein 't Spui
Begijnhof  enclosed courtyard from the 14th century
Bijbels Museum   biblical museum
Rederij Kooij  canal cruise
Flower Market   daily market with floating shops
Kalverstraat  shopping street

nearby Hotels

Hoksbergen **
Hotel Estheréa ****
Ambassade Hotel ****

more hotels near dam square

nearby Breakfast cafés

Het Paleis   €
Luxembourg   €€
OCCO   The Dylan   €€

more breakfast places

nearby Lunch spots

Caffe Esprit   €
Kantjil To Go   Indonesian   €
The Seafood Bar   Fish   €€

more lunch spots

nearby Restaurants

De Bierfabriek   €
Libertine   Italian   €€
Vinkeles   The Dylan   €€€

more restaurants in centrum

more neighborhoods