Antwerp is a major city in Belgium. It’s no surprise then that there are many independent bookstores worth visiting. These bookstores will make your heart beat faster, whether you are looking for a coffee table book, a gift for your sister or contemporary fiction.
Not all bookstores are listed below.
Take a look at this embedded map to find my favorite independent bookstores in Antwerp.
If you have trouble with the embedded map, please visit this page: The 10 Best Independent Bookstores Antwerp
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Bookz&Booze, a concept bookstore in Antwerp, matches books with bottles based on the book’s cover, story, characters, or other similarity. How do a book on Peaky Blinders TV and a bottle Sadler’s Peaky Blinder spiced dried gin compare?
Bookz&Booze’s owners are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about their bottles and books. They are happy to share the reasons behind choosing a particular bottle for one their books.
The books and drinks can be purchased separately and make great gifts.
2. Stad Leest
Stad Leest is my favorite bookstore in Antwerp, where I find the latest book releases. You can spend hours in the store and not see everything. The natural light makes shopping even more enjoyable.
Stad Leest has a wide selection of art and lifestyle books as well as children’s and contemporary fiction. The bookstore also has a large selection of English fiction and nonfiction.
You’ll also find great bargains at the outlet store right around the corner.
International Magazine Store
International Magazine Store is not a bookstore, in the traditional sense. However, it is a store that sells magazines. Trust me, it’s much more interesting than you might think.
IMS offers a wide selection of newspapers, magazines, and coffee table books, including both international and domestic publications. This is, incidentally, one my favorite types of books.
You’ll likely find the magazine you want here, whether you’re looking to buy Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler or that vintage car magazine your friends keep talking about.
Panoply is a great second-hand bookstore in Antwerp.
Panoply is a common townhouse that has been transformed into a safe haven by record collectors and used book hunters. It can be found just five minutes from Hendrik Conscienceplein, which is the city’s most beautiful square.
It is a friendly, knowledgeable store. I challenge you not to leave empty-handed. (Spoiler alert: you’ll fail.)
5. De Groene Waterman
De Groene Waterman bookstore is unassuming on the outside, but it transports you to higher literary realms once you enter.
You’ll find the perfect book for you here with a diverse collection of English and Dutch books, both fiction and nonfiction. The prices are comparable to those of online retailers so why not shop locally if you’re visiting Antwerp?
This bookstore is unique because it has the best selection of books. You’ll find hidden bargains if you go to the back and turn left. Then, climb the stairs and you will see books and magazines in excellent condition. They are also sold at substantial discounts.
On a Saturday afternoon in November, I was completely unaware of what I could expect when I entered Demian. The bookstore was charming and well-stocked. It is filled with books on philosophy, second-hand art, rare prints, and manuscripts.
Rene Franken is a passionate lover of all things poetry and literature. When replenishing his stock, he tends to follow his own literary preferences. He’s also always open for stimulating conversations with his clients.
The extensive poetry collection on the mezzanine level of the bookstore deserves special mention. The upstairs room is also worth mentioning, as the owners host regular literary exhibitions. You’ll find valuable posters, photographs and invitations in the upstairs room.
I purchased a 1966 copy at Demian of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Rene also provided his comments on this edition.
Luddites, pronounced “luh-daits”, will soon be one of your favorite bookstores in Antwerp if you love wine and books. A beautiful building with high ceilings is home to this unique bookstore-slash-winery concept that saw the light of day in 2018.
Luddites, Jorien Caers’s solution to the world that keeps digitizing, boasts Antwerp’s largest collection of English fiction and nonfiction books. There’s also a hidden wine bar upstairs.
There is no WiFi available so choose your poisons: a book or a glass of wine at an affordable price and then unplug from the wine bar.
Copyright Bookshop is not where you go to grab the latest New York Times bestseller. You’re here to experience the rich cultural heritage of Belgian architecture and art.
Staff members are friendly and represent the Belgian past with precision, respect and genuine love for their job.
If you are interested in interior design or architecture, the books here will be your next favorite coffee table book.
9. De Markies
You’ll find De Markies in Antwerp’s central city. This independent bookstore sells gorgeous postcards and interesting English and Dutch books at an affordable rate.
The bookstore’s “blind date with books” is what is most popular. Pay EUR5 to get a book. But here’s the catch: The catch? You don’t even know what book you are buying. Your decision is based on a book’s silhouette wrapped in brown paper and a sticker with some keywords.
It’s great fun and eliminates the temptation to judge a book by its cover. Isn’t it worth promoting?
10. The Other Shop
Do you love reading and pop culture? Or do you know someone who is? The Other Shop is the place for you.
This bookstore not only sells the most unusual and quirky books, but also offers endless gift ideas for people who seem to have everything.
What about a Charles Dickens puzzle? Or a pencil that can be planted? A book that can open up to 360 degrees and a reading light?