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OBA - Amsterdam's Central Public Library


The OBA (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam) is Amsterdam's main public library located near Central Station.

At 28,000 square metres spread over 10 levels, the OBA is one of the largest public library in Europe and an excellent spot to spend a couple of hours.

The building opened in 2007 and was designed by noted Dutch architect Jo Coenen. It currently attracts some 1.8 million visitors per year.

The OBA is located on the Oosterdokseiland, a new development just to the east of Central Station. The whole docklands area contains fine examples of modern Dutch architecture.

oba central library amsterdam

The library is easy to reach on foot - from Amsterdam central station head east following signs to Oosterdok. Walk past the DoubleTree Hilton hotel and you will soon reach the OBA, just opposite the Sea Garden floating Chinese restaurant and with the green ship-like Nemo Science Museum a little further on.

oba library amsterdam

Inside the library there is a large selection of Dutch and international newspapers/magazines on mezzanine level 0.5 and this includes a small La Place Panini 'Reading Cafe'.

There are about 1,000 seats spread all over the building, including some 490 computer terminals with internet. WiFi is also available though do note, the OBA recently started charging non-members for internet access (€1 for 30 minutes). Note that OBA no longer accepts payment by cash.

You need to be an Amsterdam resident to join the library. There are various membership options - an OBA PC membership is €12 per year (computer/internet use only); the OBA Totaal (computer/internet/unrestricted borrowings) costs €42 per year.

OBA Library layout

Level -1 is an area reserved for children.

oba amsterdam library

The upper levels contain the collection of books, CDs, DVDs as follows:

Level 2 - Literature / Comics
Level 3 - Travel / History
Level 4 - Art / Music
Level 5 - Health / Nature / Study Centre
Level 6 - Business / Philosophy / Theatres
Level 7 - La Place restaurant with the "Jo Coenen" Panorama Terrace, theatre

Toilets can be found on the ground floor and 7th floor.

At the entrance of the library is the Vapiano Pizza and Pasta Restaurant with outside terrace.

Guided tours (90 minutes) are available for groups - reservations can be made by emailing some weeks in advance.

The OBA is open 7 days a week from 1000 to 2200. If you need to read, study, research, check your email or just escape the rain, the OBA is a welcome place to hang-out.

OBA Library, Oosterdokskade 143, Amsterdam
T:+31(0)20 523 0900