Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chavelier, 2001
Chevalier’s acclaimed historical novel is set in Vermeer’s house and traces the artist’s (fictitious) relationship with his young maid and muse. A vivid and well-researched portrait of 17th-century Holland. A film version, starring Scarlett Johansson, was released in 2003.
The Discovery of Heaven, Harry Mulisch, 1997
A chance meeting between a politician and an astronomer sets in motion a chain of events that will bring into question fate, religion, science and friendship in this ambitious and thought-provoking work by the Dutch writer Harry Mulisch.
Blue Mondays, Arnon Grunberg, 1994
A best seller in the Netherlands, this (presumably) autobiographical debut effort follows its protagonist through the bleak streets of the red-light district, finding beauty and humor in the darkest corners of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, Ian McEwan, 1999
McEwan’s macabre Booker Prize–winning novel examines the uncertain friendship between Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday, brought together by the death of their common lover. Ethics, ego and morality are explored in McEwan’s familiar self-referential style.
The Upstairs Room, Johanna Reiss, 1972
Ten-year old Annie and her sister are forced into hiding when German tanks invade their hometown in Holland. Inspired by her own experience, Reiss presents a personal account of WWII.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Read the world over, Anne Frank’s account of her time hiding in an Amsterdam attic has become one of the most famous tales of life during World War II.
The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, Simon Schama, 1997
From their obsession with cleanliness to their pursuit of wealth and love of family, the Dutch in the Golden Age are the subject of Schama’s brilliant work.
Rembrandt’s Eyes, Simon Schama, 1999
Seventeenth-century Holland is brought to life through Schama’s detailed biography of the notoriously difficult artist.
Amsterdam: A Traveler’s Literary Companion
Twenty stories by Amsterdam writers such as Harry Mulisch, Cees Nooteboom, Marga Minco and Bas Heijne are arranged for the traveler by city district. Many appear here in English for the first time.
Amsterdam: The Brief Life of the City, Geert Mak, 1999
A delightful journey through time and through the streets of one of the greatest cultural capitals in Europe.
The Fault in our Stars, Josh Boone, 2014
The film version of John Green’s popular young adult novel of the same name, The Fault in our Stars features Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as two teenage cancer patients who fall in love and take a trip to Amsterdam together. The bench where they share a touching moment can be seen in Amsterdam’s canal belt, near the intersection of Herengracht and Leidsegracht.
Ocean’s Twelve, Steven Soderbergh, 2004
The sequel to Ocean’s Eleven follows George Clooney, Brad Pitt and their band of criminal misfits as they attempt another heist, this time in Europe. Many scenes take place in Amsterdam.
Layer Cake, Matthew Vaughn, 2005
This British crime flick stars Daniel Craig as a criminal planning to retire from the drug business. The film includes scenes in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.