Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (AMS Public Library) Amsterdam, Netherlands


Chantal deFelice
Graphite & Acryla-Gouache on salvaged plywood



I definitely did not have enough time to even glimpse a sliver of everything offered in addition to the books at the Central Public Library in Amsterdam. It is ten floors in height, employs some 200 people, contains an auditorium, exposition floor, two museums, and even broadcasts live from two radio stations.


We stumbled into the library while walking along the water on our way to an experimental, science driven art space called Mediamatic, but had I known about the expanse or features of the library ahead of time, I would have planned an entire day.


Coincidentally in keeping with our original theme, I did get to see the exposition area on the third floor, which had a sprawling exhibition dedicated to a community and artist-led science project studying the sustainability of local canals. This exhibit gave so much insight into the culture of innovation that is a possible in a city constructed around a network of waterways, along with a culture more cognizant than most about the importance of sustainable practices.


Back downstairs, I joined my cousin & our Finnish täti (aunt) as they sat and listened to a young girl in green tennis shoes who had stopped to play a gorgeous piece of classical music on a piano available to the public. I listened and looked down over the railing into the children’s section, with dangling lights like giant glowing jacks, moon-like curved bookcases, even a tower lookout with reading room tucked beneath.


It made me think about how much access to a magical place like this can shape a child. Then I thought about how much it’s shaping me as I stand there. Makes me well up again a little, even now, without the emotive music. I can’t wait to go back.

SKU: LD-05 Category: