Hey guys, please tell us a little about yourselves.
We're Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum — located on the never-dull hub that is the Amsterdam Spui square - a square known for its fabulous offer of various bookshops and its historic character. For 47 years we've now been known as magazine specialists. Our team consists of various individuals with specific expertise — making up the content, as well as the individuality, of our store. What we do is in theory quite simple, we sell magazines. We search for, are on the lookout for, hear about and get offered the best new titles and promote them to the best of our ability. We often invite magazine editors and/or publishers to talk about their titles in informal Q&A's, or to host an event to launch their new issues. We are a platform for paper magazines, a centre for creatives who love print and who believe it's nowhere near dead. Yet historically, and presently, we're still as our name implies a centre for news (Nieuwscentrum literally translates as news scentre). We sell a wide range of newspapers, and we have been a place for people to meet up and discuss ongoing happenings with like minded people for almost five decades.
Tell us a little bit about your store.
The concept of the Nieuwscentrum is to display magazines, papers and journals as you would at a grocery store, therefore half of our stock is displayed outside. In concept, as well as design and feel, the street flows into our shop as if it's one. Outside, magazines are stacked in huge piles, displayed in racks on wheels, and newspapers are folded and stacked into a large cart. We open at 9am every morning and close at 8pm.
Why did you decide to open a store like this?
The store opened in 1969 initially as the newsstand for the independent bookstore Athenaeum, located next door. It was a centre for news, current affairs and activists. Pamphlets and small publications were sold — and made — at our register (some titles were so risqué that they were hidden beneath the till and only sold if asked for specifically). There was a telephone next to a typewriter for the journalists, it rang when there were news to be told. The news were written down and published 'on demand'. What is now our back office used to be a radio studio, and so the Nieuwscentrum has always been deeply rooted in the world of journalism and independent publishing. Over the last 10 years our magazine collection is being dominated more and more by independent magazines, around 50% of our stock consists of independent publications. What defines our selection is that it's very broad. We have everything from mainstream magazines like Vogue and the Economist to more niche publications like Benji Knewman, LAW or Another Escape.
What kind of magazines can people find at your store?
We offer a wide range of magazines in all sorts of genres: fashion, photography, art, independent, music, design, urban culture, current affairs, culinary, movies, travel and interiors. We sell a select number of commercial titles including fashion magazines and newspapers from various countries in addition to many historically and politically oriented weekly magazines. We also have an extensive collection of rare fashion mags, international interior design magazines, travel guides and local titles from Amsterdam. In addition to magazines we also sell design, interior and fashion books.
If we were to spend and afternoon together in the area, where would you have taken us?
That depends on what you would be in the mood for. Since we are located in the heart of the historical centre of Amsterdam, the options are many. Maybe one of our colleagues would take you on a shopping spree. You wold walk down the street with a cinnamon croissant and browse through the windows at Hay, then walk down into Nine Lanes where there are many boutiques and design stores. Lastly we would stop by the Overtoom for some vintage treasures at Ari's. Another colleague would perhaps make you hop on the ferry so that you can experience the best coffee in the country at Pussy Galore. You would then walk down towards our new ADAM tower for a spectacular view of the city and then a movie at the Eye Museum. Or maybe you could just stick around for one of our launches or Q&As. We host them quite frequently.