|Type||Comic book store, art gallery|
|Industry||Comic books, art|
|Founded||November 8, 1968|
|Kees Kousemaker and Evelien Willems |
Bas Van der Zee
Galerie Lambiek is a Dutch comic book store and art gallery in Amsterdam, founded on November 8, 1968 by Kees Kousemaker (Steenbergen, January 25, 1942 – Bussum, April 27, 2010 (aged 68)), though since 2007, his son Boris Kousemaker is the current owner. From 1968 to 2015, it was located in the Kerkstraat, but in November 2015, the store moved to the Koningsstraat 27. As of 2018, Lambiek is the oldest comics store in Europe, and the oldest worldwide still in existence.
The name "Lambiek" originated as a misspelling of the name of the comics' character Lambik, from the popular Suske & Wiske comic book series created by Belgian artist Willy Vandersteen. The logo of the shop is an image from the Suske en Wiske album Prinses Zagemeel (Princess Sawdust).
Only two earlier comic bookstores are known to have opened their doors on the North-American continent (or anywhere else on the world for that matter) prior to the one founded by Kousemaker; George Henderson's Canadian, Toronto-based Memory Lane Books opened in May 1967, (itself a continuation of the Viking Bookshop he had already opened on another city location in the spring of 1966), followed by Gary Arlington's San Francisco Comic Book Company, which was established in April 1968 in the US namesake city, Making Lambiek the worldwide third-oldest comic book store in history. What the three stores had in common was that they all started out with a strong focus on underground comics. Memory Lane Books closed its doors in the 1980s, however, whereas Arlington's store went defunct in 2002, leaving Lambiek as of 2023 the worldwide oldest surviving comic book store.
Kees Kousemaker and his wife Evelien also published two encyclopedic books about comics, titled Strip voor Strip (1970) and Wordt Vervolgd (1979). He and Margreet de Heer also wrote the book De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis (2001) and De Wereld van de Nederlandse Strip (2005) about Dutch comics and their history. From 1986 on, the store gained fame by holding art exhibitions and book signings by numerous comic authors, including Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, André Franquin, Joost Swarte, Charles Burns, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, François Avril and Art Spiegelman.
In 2010, Lambiek's founder, Kees Kousemaker, died.
Since 1 November 1999, Lambiek also hosts the Comiclopedia, a digital encyclopaedia featuring biographies of more than 14.000 international comics authors.