Cuypers Library – Amsterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Cuypers Library

This gorgeous reading room houses the oldest and largest art history library in the Netherlands. 

Thousands of books crowd the shelves of the largest art history library in the Netherlands, creating what resembles a wallpaper peppered with colorful bindings. Beams of sunlight spill through the windows, bathing the books in a soft glow. A spiral staircase curls in the corner like a metal ribbon, letting bibliophiles and art history buffs wind their way throughout the different levels.

The Cuypers Library is a research library in Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum. It is the oldest and largest of its kind in the country and aesthetically astounding. However, despite the streams of tourists that flow through the museum, far too few seem to trickle into its remarkable reading room.

The 19th-century library, which has recently been restored, has been collecting content since 1885. Its shelves are stocked with manuscripts bound to entice any art history lover. While browsing its extensive collection, you’ll come across books, journals, and periodicals, as well as catalogues about art auctions, exhibitions, trades, and collections.

Following its renovations, the museum opened the library’s reading room to visitors. Tourists, students, and art historians alike are welcome to delve into its rich collection. Tables on the ground floor allow people to hunker down with their research materials, surrounded by the library’s aesthetically astounding walls of books.