|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, 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 Lambiek website is one of the longest-running resources about comics and cartoonists on the Internet. The website features a web shop for comic books, eComics, and original art, as well as a news page with articles of interest to comics fans and online art exhibitions. The flagship of the site is the Comiclopedia, an illustrated compendium of over 14,000 international comic artists and various articles of the comics history of certain nations, magazines and genres.
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). "Lambiek" is in fact the correct Dutch spelling of the Lambic beer that the character's name is based on.
The store has held art exhibitions and book signings by comic creators, including Gilbert Shelton, Will Eisner, Tanino Liberatore, Joost Swarte, Peter Pontiac Don Lawrence, André Franquin, Robert Crumb, Lorenzo Mattotti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware, Judith Vanistendael, Marc Bell, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, David Collier, Glen Baxter, Jaromír Švejdík, Scott McCloud, Dave Cooper, Turtel Onli and Derf Backderf. The shop and the informational website both have a strong focus on underground comics, graphic novels and autobiographical comics. The exhibitions can be profit or non-profit, depending on the subject of the exposition.
Kees Kousemaker (1942–2010) was a Dutch comics expert, born in Steenbergen, Netherlands. He first arose to prominence when he opened Lambiek in November 1968, the first specialized comic book store in Europe and the second oldest worldwide after Gary Arlington's San Francisco Comic Book Company which was established earlier that year in April, according to the Lambiek website. Actually, an even older comic book store is known to have opened its doors in May 1967, George Henderson's Canadian, Toronto-based Memory Lane Books (itself a continuation of the Viking Bookshop he had already opened on another location in the spring of 1966), making Lambiek the third oldest store. All three stores had a strong focus on underground comics in common. With Memory Lane Books no longer in existence since the 1980s, and with the closure of Arlington's store following suit in 2002, has therefore made Lambiek the oldest known comic book store still in existence as of 2020.
As a result of his exhibitions and attention to the early work of young cartoonists such as Peter Pontiac and Joost Swarte, he established collaborations and friendships with many Dutch and international artists, such as Will Eisner. In 1986 Lambiek established its famous gallery, where many comics artists could come and have heavily mediatized exhibitions of their work. The first expo revolved around the magazine RAW and was co-organized by Joost Swarte.Kousemaker also published books about Dutch comic culture, such as Strip voor Strip (1970) and Stripleksikon der Lage Landen (1979). He was also responsible for a special Yiddish edition of Will Eisner's A Contract with God (1984), which was presented to the press in the presence of Eisner himself.
Kees Kousemaker was also the instigator behind the Stripheldenbuurt in Almere, a district where all the street names were named after famous cartoonists and comics characters. On 11 May 2006 he was knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Since 2007 Kousemaker's son, Boris Kousemaker, is the current store owner, after a brief interlude between 2005-2006 when Bas van der Zee was in charge. 
Kousemaker died April 27, 2010. Another well known face in the store was Klaas Knol, who worked as an employee behind the counter from the mid 1980s until 2017. He died on 12 July 2019.
Although lambiek.net is the store's main domain name, Lambiek started a website www.lambiek.com in 1994 when Kees started to store historical comic book info online. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s the site kept its original blue design, until Kousemaker's death in 2010. From August 2012 on, Kees Kousemaker's son Boris ordered a complete remake of the site, converting all existing information into databases.
The Comiclopedia is an online encyclopedia which features biographical information and illustrations, comic strip images, album covers, frame grabs, and memorabilia about every individual comics artist whose name can be identified by signature. All artists are alphabetized and can both be looked up by name or by their nationality. The emphasis is mostly on comics artists, though cartoonists, caricaturists, animators, illustrators and/or celebrities who once drew comics themselves are also listed. Visitors can mail suggestions for new names, additions or corrections. As of 2020 more than 14.000 names have a page. In 1999-2005 Kousemaker, Margreet de Heer and Bas Schuddeboom did all the research and wrote the articles on the Comiclopedia.  In 2005 De Heer left, making Kousemaker and Schuddeboom the main researchers and writers until Kousemaker's death in 2010. Schuddeboom continued on his own for five years, until Kjell Knudde became his co-researcher and writer from 2015 on. 
The history section also includes an in-depth examination of Bulgarian comics, researched and written by Vladimir Nedialkov, with additions by Stiliana Thepileva . The site also features a historical overview of the comics magazines Spirou, Tintin, Pif gadget, Pilote, Raw and Wimmen's Comix.
Lambiek also features separate articles about the Comics Code, Frederic Wertham, Disney comics artists around the world, erotic comics  and underground comics