One thing I love about Holland is the plethora of independent bookstores. In our town, Utrecht, there are loads, each one with its own specialty. In our neighbourhood alone, there is a travel bookstore, a children’s bookstore, a used bookstore, a comic “book” store, and – immediately across the street from us – a gay book store.
As a book lover myself, I’m tickled pink. In the US, the book market is so dominated by chain “big box” stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders (well, at least until they go bankrupt) that bookstores have no character or charm anymore. London has many more indepenent booksellers (Charing Cross road is famous for its specialty and second-hand bookshops), but the ones in Holland tend to be smaller and more charming. Even the Dutch word, boekwinkel, sounds cute!