A bit of a nerd alert here ... the following post deals with a place many of us haven't visited since grade school - so feel free to fast-forward if you are not a fan of the literary arts. The rest of us will geek out at places like Bibliotheek Amsterdam - an architectural and bibliotheq-lical wonder located about five minutes walk from Amstedam's Centraal Station.
It's part of what might be called the "new" Amsterdam. "Old" Amsterdam buildings are the homes, bridges, and cobblestone streets from the past several centuries - beautiful, quaint, happily cramped, and the stuff that most of us see on postcards. What is less often seen is the really cool and modern interior/exterior design that also permeates the city.
Overlooking the water and the entire city to the south, the main central library cost 80 million Euros to build and is easily the coolest library you've ever seen, seemingly intended as much for the tourist as for the student.
The lighting and layout - seven floors in total - evokes an Apple store-ish feel, with several hundred Mac displays and hundreds of quiet corners to read or study.
Occasionally, you'll be able to catch a concert here, with a piano player or singer belting out tunes on a given afternoon, in addition to cultural events like art openings. If you're handy with it, you can simply sit down at the piano on the main floor and tickle the ivories.
Any time of day, you can head to the affordable chicness of Vapiano attached to the front of the building, or head to La Place on the 7th floor for all meals (tip: get the Thai stir-fry for lunch) or a dessert and a coffee, with sweet views and photo ops of the entire city.
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