The most recommended books about Amsterdam

Who picked these books? Meet our 51 experts.

51 authors created a book list connected to Amsterdam, and here are their favorite Amsterdam books.
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Book cover of Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital

David Z. Hirsch Author Of Didn't Get Frazzled

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Physician Novelist Humorist

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

David Z. Hirsch Why did David love this book?

This book is the source material for New Amsterdam, the popular NBC series streaming on Netflix and Peacock. While the TV show struck me as a frenetic jumble of heavy-handed melodrama, the book takes a steadier, more realistic approach.

In each of the twelve stories, Manheimer, along with other dedicated physicians, strives to help each challenging patient battle disease while managing multiple complicating factors including socioeconomic distress, immigration policy, and the criminal justice system. I found the resolutions genuine if not always satisfying.

By Eric Manheimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twelve Patients as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using the plights of twelve very different patients-from dignitaries at the nearby UN, to supermax prisoners at Riker's Island, to illegal immigrants, and Wall Street tycoons-Dr. Eric Manheimer "offers far more than remarkable medical dramas: he blends each patient's personal experiences with their social implications" (Publishers Weekly).

Manheimer was not only the medical director of the country's oldest public hospital for over 13 years but he was also a patient.

As the book unfolds, the narrator is diagnosed with cancer and he is forced to wrestle with the end of his own life even as he struggles to save the…


Book cover of Merry Measure

Casey Cox Author Of Got Me Merry

From my list on festive Christmas MM romances to get you merry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a MM romance author who loves Christmas. Except, living in Australia means my Christmas Day us spent lazing about in a pool in the middle of a summer heatwave. That’s why I love reading all the romance books about holidays where there’s snow, wintry nights, hot cocoa, and of course, all the love and feels we’ve come to expect at this magical time of year. There are too many MM holiday romances to mention, but I hope this list gives you a taste of what you can expect!

Casey's book list on festive Christmas MM romances to get you merry

Casey Cox Why did Casey love this book?

Lilly Morton is such an exceptional writer, she’s able to transport readers smack-bang to Christmas in Amsterdam. I loved that. I also loved the two characters, Arlo and Jack. So different in so many ways, and yet utterly perfect together. Expect plenty of laughs, great conversations, and of course, a happily ever after!

By Lily Morton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Merry Measure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arlo Wright’s introduction to his sexuality came when he saw his older brother’s best friend, Jack Cooper, in his sweaty football kit. Unfortunately, he didn’t have long to enjoy the revelation because he promptly knocked himself out on a table.

Relations between them have never really moved on from that auspicious beginning. Arlo is still clumsy, and Jack is still as handsome and unobtainable as ever.

However, things look like they’re starting to change when Arlo finds himself sharing a room with Jack while on holiday in Amsterdam at Christmas. Will the festive spirit finally move them towards each other,…


Book cover of The Paris Connection

Alana Oxford Author Of Scotsman in the Stacks

From my list on romances with G to PG rated love scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to tell people that I found my passion in life and it's books. I write them, read them, review them and I’ve been a librarian for 17 years. (I’ve worked in libraries for longer than that. Over 25 years!) It’s been dark times recently and romance has become my happy place. I’m a sucker for romances with pretty covers, quirky characters, and not so much of the on-page spice. If there’s some travel involved, even better!

Alana's book list on romances with G to PG rated love scenes

Alana Oxford Why did Alana love this book?

I fell in love with this book so hard that I read it all in one sitting. (Yes, that means I spent one, entire, luxurious day reading it! That day was an absolute gift.) I loved the writing style, the chance to armchair travel to Paris on the back of Leo’s moped alongside Hannah. It had just enough intrigue but was quiet and charming overall. Reading this book was like taking my mind to a spa to be pampered and rejuvenated. 

By Lorraine Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Paris Connection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Launch Pad Writing Competition 2022
 
In this witty and heartfelt debut love story for fans of Josie Silver's One Day in December, a woman stranded in Paris for the day discovers that the wrong road can sometimes lead us in the right direction.

When Hannah and her boyfriend, Simon, set out to Amsterdam, they’re confident that they’ll make it to his sister’s wedding in time. However, unbeknownst to them, their train is scheduled to divide in the middle of the night. And when it does, half of it continues the route to Amsterdam. And the other half—the…


Book cover of New Amsterdam

Gerry Ironspear Author Of Lakhoni

From my list on fantasy set in a familiar but strange old America.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was younger, I turned to fantastical stories of determined, flawed heroes to bring me a world I could understand and control – unlike the scary reality I lived in. Most of the fantasy stories I read as I grew up were, of course, set in a medieval England-type world. But as I got older, I found myself fascinated by the history and mythology of the New World and got the feeling there was a lot of untapped potential there. So, I started studying Mesoamerican and Native American peoples, as well as picking up alternate history fantasies set in America. So of course, I had to write my own. 

Gerry's book list on fantasy set in a familiar but strange old America

Gerry Ironspear Why did Gerry love this book?

New Amsterdam is a collection of noir detective fantasy set in an alternate New World with sorcery, magical creatures, and terrifying evil.

The main character is a fallen figure, Abigail Garrett, who self-medicates with booze while trying to fulfill her duties as a forensic sorceress. She investigates heinous crimes with a voice and motivation that I absolutely loved. Add to this character and world a scenario similar to Murder on the Orient Express and I had to pick this one up.

Abigail is not Hercule Poirot – she’s much more interesting. Her motivations and resigned duty resonated with me and I loved the textured world she inhabited. Fun alternate history with very interesting magic and setting.

By Elizabeth Bear,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked New Amsterdam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abigail Irene Garrett drinks too much. She makes scandalous liaisons with inappropriate men, and if in her youth she was a famous beauty, now she is both formidable--and notorious. She is a forensic sorceress, and a dedicated officer of a Crown that does not deserve her loyalty. She has nothing, but obligations. Sebastien de Ulloa is the oldest creature she has ever known. He was no longer young at the Christian millennium, and that was nine hundred years ago. He has forgotten his birth-name, his birth-place, and even the year in which he was born, if he ever knew it.…


Book cover of Francis Johnson and the English Separatist Influence: The Bishop of Brownism's Life, Writings, and Controversies

Derek Wilson Author Of The Mayflower Pilgrims: Sifting Fact from Fable

From my list on the background of the Pilgrim fathers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I developed my passion for the Reformation while studying History and Theology at Cambridge. Now, several years and a dozen books on 16th -17th-century history later, my obsession has not waned for what was the most formative period in the development, not only of our religious and political life, but also of our culture. I like to think that, through my books, journal articles, and lectures (and the occasional historical novel) I have made a useful contribution to our understanding of that culture.

Derek's book list on the background of the Pilgrim fathers

Derek Wilson Why did Derek love this book?

This is the biography of one of the most disruptive figures in the separatist movement. It brings to life the turbulence of the life of the Netherlands settlers more vividly than generalisations about conditions in Amsterdam, and Leiden can do. Johnson was the most extreme and dogmatic of the English separatists. He led a congregation in London in the 1590s, was exiled, made an abortive attempt to set up his own colony in Nova Scotia, then joined the separatist community in Amsterdam. There he fell out with the established leadership and created a split in the English community. The vivid (perhaps 'lurid' would be a better word) story of a maverick so domineering that he could excommunicate his own father and brother reveal the destructive depths to which religious certainty could descend.

By Scott Culpepper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Francis Johnson and the English Separatist Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Francis Johnson and the English Separatist Influence is the first thorough treatment of Francis Johnson as the central focus of an academic work. Johnson (1562-1618) was the pastor of the English Separatist Ancient Church in London and Amsterdam from 1592-1618. Once referred to as the "Bishop of Brownism" by one of his contemporaries, Johnson's theological and practical influence on Christian traditions as diverse as the Baptists, Congregationalists, and English Independents demonstrated the wide breadth of English Separatism's formative influence.

Francis Johnson's quest to create a perfectly ordered, scriptural, Christian congregation led him to fiery debates with the most influential leaders…


Book cover of One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore

Tim Voors Author Of The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail

From my list on adventure, hiking, and survival.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tim Voors has walked across countries and continents on adventures taking him into the unknown: across America on the Pacific Crest Trail (2678 miles), across New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail (1881 miles), around Shikoku Japan on the ancient ’88 Temples Trail’ (815 miles) and through Spain to Santiago de Compostela on the famous Camino the Santiago. He lives near Amsterdam and works as a speaker and creative director, giving keynote speeches for global companies and conferences, and inspiring audiences with tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In 2021 Tim’s second book Not Alone will be published about his hike through New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail.

Tim's book list on adventure, hiking, and survival

Tim Voors Why did Tim love this book?

I love it when words and photos enhance each other in a book. Martijn Doolaard wrote and photographed his epic solo journey on his bike from Amsterdam, through Europe, through the middle east, and into the far east. It is one of the rare coffee table books that I actually read and love revisiting frequently to look at the beautiful photos.

By Gestalten, Martijn Doolaard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Year on a Bike as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title says it all: one man, one bike, one long ride, the adventure, the pleasure, and the pain. It is simultaneouslya travelogue and visual journey. Martijn Doolaard traded the convenience of a car and the distractions of daily life for a cross-continental cycling journey: a biped adventure that would take him from Amsterdam to Singapore. Leaving behind repetitive routines, One Year on a Bike indulges in slow travel, the subtlety of a gradually changing landscape, and the lessons learned through traveling. Venturing through Eastern European fields of yellow rapeseed to the intimate hosting culture and community in Iran, One…


Book cover of Urban Jungle: The History and Future of Nature in the City

Sian Moxon

From Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Academic Architect Educator Sustainable designer Urban wild gardener

Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Sian's 10-year-old's favorite books.

Sian Moxon Why did Sian love this book?

I applaud this book’s ambitious but highly plausible vision of our future cities being filled with urban nature. I found the narrative flowing and convincing and enjoyed the many examples of what has already been achieved to integrate more green space and wildlife into cities around the world, from Berlin to Singapore.

I think it’s a great primer to reimagining how we can, and must, one day live in perfect harmony with nature, especially in the city. It filled me with hope, which is a real challenge for any writing on the subject of biodiversity.

By Ben Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Urban Jungle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eye-opening and urgent re-examination of nature in our cities, from the Sunday Times bestselling author.


'Awe-inspiring... full of wonder, warning and hope'
ISABELLA TREE, author of Wilding

Our modern-day cities might seem to represent our separation from the vitality of the natural world. Yet, as Ben Wilson reveals in this invigorating re-examination of urban landscapes across the globe, nature has always been at the heart of the city.

Moving from Los Angeles and Delhi to Singapore and Amsterdam, Wilson explores how the bond between humans and nature has oscillated throughout history, and shows that - in a time of…


Book cover of Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed

Susan Fries Author Of The Pope and the Prostitute

From my list on what to read when the world goes wrong.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe there is a supernatural spirit that guides the universe, and I am passionate about the God who created it. From the many experiences in my life, I have learned that there is a bigger picture. That picture is God. You can believe in his power to change lives or not. You can believe in him and his son or not, but that does not mean they don't exist. I may not believe in life in other galaxies, but that does not mean they are not out there somewhere.

Susan's book list on what to read when the world goes wrong

Susan Fries Why did Susan love this book?

This is undoubtedly the most captivating biography I’ve had the pleasure to read.

This woman, in the prime of her very ‘alive’, but somewhat distorted sexually active life is confused by her childhood, accosted by the Germans during the war, yet brings inspiration and love to those in the Nazi camp she finds herself living as wars escalate. She is hope.

By Patrick Woodhouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Etty Hillesum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 8 March 1941, a 27-year-old Jewish Dutch student living in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam made the first entry in a diary that was to become one of the most remarkable documents to emerge from the Nazi Holocaust. Over the course of the next two and a half years, an insecure, chaotic and troubled young woman was transformed into someone who inspired those with whom she shared the suffering of the transit camp at Westerbork and with whom she eventually perished at Auschwitz. Through her diary and letters, she continues to inspire those whose lives she has touched since. She was an…


Book cover of Girl Reading

Lisa Stromme Author Of The Strawberry Girl

From my list on historical creativity and the arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British writer but I have lived in Norway for over twenty years. My yearning for history goes back as long as I can remember and I often feel trapped in the wrong time. Writing historical fiction is my way of delving into the past and bringing it back to life. I’ve always been creative and enjoyed arts and crafts and, as well as being a writer, I am also a creativity coach and have my own podcast, The Creatively You Show, which helps writers and artists deal with the emotional challenges of the creative process. My book choices reflect these interests and the broader themes of history and art.  

Lisa's book list on historical creativity and the arts

Lisa Stromme Why did Lisa love this book?

Girl Reading is a highly creative and imaginative book. Superbly written, it takes the reader on a journey through time, and the vehicle for that journey is art. There are seven scenes from seven different time periods, each depicting an artist and a portrait of a girl or woman reading. It is such an original concept and it’s thoroughly absorbing. Given my fascination with history and art, I absolutely devoured it. Girl Reading went on to play an important role in my own writing life. I was so impressed with it that when it came to sending my own book out to agents, I sent my manuscript to Katie Ward’s agent, who is now my own.   

By Katie Ward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girl Reading as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An orphan poses nervously for a Renaissance maestro in medieval Siena, and an artist's servant girl in seventeenth-century Amsterdam snatches a moment away from her work to lose herself in tales of knights and battles. A woman reading in a Shoreditch bar catches the eye of a young man who takes her picture, and a Victorian medium holds a book that she barely acknowledges while she waits for the exposure.


Book cover of The Dutch and Their Delta: Living Below Sea Level

Ben Coates Author Of The Rhine

From my list on rivers and the people who leave alongside them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Anglo-Dutch writer living in the Netherlands, and the author of two books. Growing up in England I never thought much about rivers, but in the Netherlands they’re hard to avoid, and I’ve become fascinated by them. These days, when we all work remotely and (when rules allow) usually travel by car, train, or plane rather than boat, it’s easy to think of rivers as just scenic backdrops, rather than anything more important. But the truth is many of our cities wouldn’t exist without the waters which flow through them, and waterways like the Rhine, Thames, and Seine have had a huge influence on the history and culture of the people living alongside them. If you want to understand why somewhere like Rotterdam, London or Paris is the way it is, you could spend the day in a library or museum – but you’d be better off going for a boat ride or swim, poking around under some bridges and talking to the fishermen, boatmen, and kayakers down at the waterline.

Ben's book list on rivers and the people who leave alongside them

Ben Coates Why did Ben love this book?

This book tells the story of how the people of the Netherlands – the country where I’ve lived for more than a decade, and which I wrote my first book about – have not just managed to survive below sea level, in a land riddled with rivers and canals, but managed to turn their boggy environment to their advantage, becoming grandmasters at building dikes, draining land and constructing water-pumping windmills. The book isn’t a heavy read – the emphasis is on photos, maps, and interesting factoids – but it’s full of insights into everything from how Amsterdam was built to why the Dutch aren’t too worried about climate change. Perfect reading when I’m sitting in my garden in the Dutch countryside, with water on both sides.

By Jacob Vossestein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dutch and Their Delta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All over the world, people learn in school that the Netherlands is a country that lies below sea-level. Dikes, polders, windmills and wooden shoes are well-known icons of this unusual nation, while its sturdy dams and storm surge barriers also enjoy world fame. But how does it all work? How can a country exist under such circumstances and even be prosperous? One would expect the Dutch to panic about climate change but they don’t seem to be; how come? This book will tell you all about it, both in words and photos, striking a balance between developments in the past,…