Safe haven

As a tourist from a city with over a million inhabitants, Amsterdam seems like a comfortable place. A small town, cozy and friendly. How wrong you can be. Your national sport is to drive over tourists and manoeuvring through the streets seems like walking a minefield. So finding a nice, little bookshop to hide in seems just about perfect.

When it’s written down zwart op wit, well then it’s set in stone. You can’t argue with ink on paper, now can you? And the existence of this little bookstore is something that can’t be argued about either. Black on White belongs in the Utrechtsestraat, in the beating heart of Amsterdam. As I came through the door, I expected to find some magazines and a few English books. Not too much though. I’m not in an English country, and do not speak Dutch. My expectations were low, but the need for a new book was high.

How wrong I turned out to be… Walking into such a old-school, small bookstore is a treat. Filled with hidden treasures and staff-members that know their books and literature. That know what the reader wants, even before he/she knows it. A wall off English titles welcomed me as if to assure me that I would be safe. They would protect me from the craziness that are the Dutch streets. The ambiance of the books is complemented by the little shop, that seems to be stocked to the max. One more book or magazine and it would explode! Hiding in one of the corners, flipping through pages, safe from bikes, and having a friendly chat with one of the employees (who all speak terrific English) was a shimmer of hope and warmth for the weary traveler.

So if ever in the need of a book, because when will you not be?, and in Amsterdam: go to Zwart op Wit Bookstore.

– Connor Simpson, Calgary.