Odysseys' Hidden Gems: Amsterdam's Rooftop Cafe

Odysseys' Hidden Gems: Amsterdam's Rooftop Cafe

Posted June 15, 2017

Canals, windmills, winding alleys, vibrant museums, and numerous bicyclists. When discussing the Netherlands’ capital of Amsterdam, these are just a few of the many images conjured up. With its eminently walkable neighborhoods composed of some 90 islands (and linked by more than 1,200 bridges), Amsterdam offers an abundance of riches for the intrepid traveler.

But for all its beauty, Amsterdam lacks the typical profusion of skyscrapers prevalent in other world capitals. It is a city focused inwards, a web of canals and causeways snaking through low-slung townhouses, all keeping the pedestrian’s gaze fixed on what treasure lies around the next corner. The difficulty lies in getting a high enough vantage point to really appreciate the breadth and beauty of Amsterdam.

That is, until you enter the central branch of the Amsterdam Public Library.

The Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA), Amsterdam’s citywide library network, claims as its home base this modern, concrete-and-glass structure just steps from the city’s central train station, Amsterdam Centraal. With over 300,000 square feet of books, periodicals, and newspapers; 1,200 seats; 600 computers; two museums; an exhibition room; and a staff of 200, the Centrale Bibliotheek provides diversions aplenty for bibliophiles and knowledge seekers.

But for those looking to expand their horizons outward, and perhaps enjoy a bite to eat in the meantime, we suggest a trip to the seventh floor.

High above one of Amsterdam’s ubiquitous canals sits one of the city’s hidden gems: the central library café. With an open floor plan, outdoor terrace overlooking the city, and paneling along the railing showcasing some of the interesting features of the skyline, this may truly be the best panorama in Amsterdam.

The café sells hot and cold food for breakfast and lunch, and also serves beer and wine. It’s the perfect place to unwind with a midafternoon snack, and the wraparound view of Amsterdam spreading away to the south is sure to rekindle that desire to explore. Both the library and café are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and you can find more information at the library’s website.

Guests on our European Tapestry tour will have ample time to visit the library, head to the seventh floor, and admire the sweeping vista, as we have two free afternoons in Amsterdam on Days 3 and 4 of the trip. 


All images via Flickr: 1 2 3 4