Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

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Amsterdam Public Library
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam
Stone and glass façade of the central library
The central library in 2007
TypePublic library
Established8 February 1919 (1919-02-08)[1]
LocationAmsterdam, Diemen, Ouder-Amstel
Size1.3 million objects[1]
Access and use
Circulationc. 3 million objects[1]
Other information
DirectorMartin Berendse (since 2014)[2]
Staff354 employees (2015)[3]

The Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA; Dutch pronunciation: [oːpənˈbaːrə biblioːˈteːk ɑmstərˈdɑm]; English: Amsterdam Public Library) is an organisation of public libraries in Amsterdam, Diemen and Ouder-Amstel in the Netherlands. The first library opened in 1919 at the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. As of 2018, the OBA had 26 branch libraries, 177,000 members, and 1.3 million objects in its collection.


The first public reading room and library of Amsterdam was opened at the Keizersgracht on 8 February 1919. The Central Library was opened at the Prinsengracht in 1977 and moved to the Oosterdokseiland in 2007.[4]

The video podcast This Week in Libraries (2010–2014) was recorded in the Central Library.[5]

The OBA was selected as the best library of the Netherlands in 2012.[6]


As of 2018, the OBA has a general collection of 1.3 million books, CDs, and DVDs.[1] The library also has a number of special collections with books about the history of Amsterdam, children's books from the 17th–21st century, and books from the Dutch authors Gerard Reve, Hella Haasse, and Boudewijn Büch.[7]


The OBA has 26 branches in Amsterdam, Diemen, Duivendrecht, and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.[1] The largest branch is the Central Library or OBA Oosterdok at the Oosterdokseiland, just east of Amsterdam Centraal station.

Central Library[edit]

The interior of the Central Library

The Central Library or OBA Oosterdok has a floor surface of 28,500 m2, spread out over 10 floors, 1200 seats, of which 600 with Internet-connected computers and a staff of 200. Also included are an auditorium, an exhibition room, the Library Museum, the Gerard Reve Museum and 2000 parking spaces for bicycles. On the seventh floor is a V&D La Place self-service restaurant with a south-facing terrace.

The cost of the project was 80 million. The building was designed by Jo Coenen, the former state architect (Rijksbouwmeester) of the Netherlands, who also designed the nearby KNSM Island, as well as the Central Library of Maastricht, and renovated the distinctive Glaspaleis in Heerlen, which houses its Central Library. Arup were selected to create the lighting design to create "a landscape with different zones" and a system for distributing fresh air which cools the building through drawing in the cold air outside.[8]

Children's book section of the Central Library

The Central Library is open 7 days per week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the lending and returning of books is fully automated. Not only does the OBA provide a large range of printing and copying facilities, but some other unusual features can be found in the library, such as two radio stations. AmsterdamFM is located on the first floor and OBA Live is on the fourth floor. Both radio stations have live broadcasts where the public is welcome to watch.

The Muizenhuis made by Karina Schaapman is located in the youth department. It's a doll house for mice, made almost entirely by hand. This Muizenhuis, or Mouse House, is the decor for the adventures of two curious mice called Sam and Julia.

The library has an exposition area which features rotating expositions related to design, art and/or books. All the expositions are open to the public for free.

Neighborhood branches[edit]

OBA Roelof Hartplein in Het Nieuwe Huis

Besides the Central Library or OBA Oosterdok, there are 25 branches in various neighborhoods of Amsterdam and in the villages of Diemen, Duivendrecht, and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel:[9]

  • OBA Banne
  • OBA Bijlmerplein
  • OBA Buitenveldert
  • OBA Bos en Lommer
  • OBA Cinétol
  • OBA Diemen
  • OBA Duivendrecht
  • OBA Geuzenveld
  • OBA De Hallen
  • OBA IJburg
  • OBA Javaplein
  • OBA Linnaeus
  • OBA Mercatorplein
  • OBA Molenwijk
  • OBA Olympisch Kwartier
  • OBA Osdorp
  • OBA Ouderkerk
  • OBA Van der Pek
  • OBA Reigersbos
  • OBA Roelof Hartplein
  • OBA Slotermeer
  • OBA Slotervaart
  • OBA Spaarndammerbuurt
  • OBA Staatsliedenbuurt
  • OBA Waterlandplein

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Over de OBA". (in Dutch). Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Martin Berendse nieuwe directeur/ bestuurder OBA". Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Bestuursverslag 2015" (PDF). Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  4. ^ Freriks, Kester (7 September 2018). "De bieb moest met haar tijd mee". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  5. ^ Scott, Jason (21 August 2014). "This Week in Libraries". Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Beste bibliotheek van Nederland 2012 staat in Amsterdam". Bibliotheekblad (in Dutch). Uitgeverij IP. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Speciale collecties". (in Dutch). Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Amsterdam Public Library". ARUP. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Openingstijden". Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam. Retrieved 4 November 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°22′33″N 4°54′26″E / 52.37583°N 4.90722°E / 52.37583; 4.90722