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Comic book store, art gallery
IndustryComic books, art
FoundedNovember 8, 1968; 50 years ago (1968-11-08)
FounderKees Kousemaker
Key people
Kees Kousemaker, Boris Kousemaker
ProductsComic books

Galerie Lambiek is a Dutch comic book store and art gallery in Amsterdam, founded on November 8, 1968[1] by Kees Kousemaker [nl]. From 1968 to 2015 it was located in the Kerkstraat, but in November 2015 the store moved to the Koningsstraat 27;[2] as of 2018, Lambiek is the oldest comics store in Europe[3] and the oldest worldwide still in existence.[4][5]

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,[6] as well as a news page with articles of interest to comics fans[7] and online art exhibitions. The flagship of the site is the Comiclopedia, an illustrated compendium of over 13,700 international comic artists;[8][9] the site also features a history of Dutch comics, mostly researched and written by Kees Kousemaker.[10][11]

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;[12] the logo of the shop is an image from the Suske en Wiske album Prinses Zagemeel (Princess Sawdust).[12]

The store has held art exhibitions and book signings by comic creators, including Gilbert Shelton, Will Eisner[13][14], Tanino Liberatore, Joost Swarte, Peter Pontiac[15][16] Don Lawrence[14][17], André Franquin, Robert Crumb[14], Lorenzo Mattotti[14][17], Charles Burns[17], Daniel Clowes[17], Jim Woodring[17], Chris Ware[17], Judith Vanistendael [nl][18], Marc Bell[18], Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki[16], David Collier[16], Glen Baxter[16], Jaromír Švejdík[16], Scott McCloud[16], Dave Cooper[19], Turtel Onli[19] and Derf Backderf[16][19]. 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.[20]


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.[21][22][23] 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[24] (itself a continuation of the Viking Bookshop he had already opened on another location in the spring of 1966[25]), 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 the closure of Arlington's store in 2002,[26] Lambiek therefore has become the oldest comic book store still in existence as of 2017.[23]

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.[13] 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.[15]Kousemaker also published books about Dutch comic culture, such as Strip voor Strip (1970)[23] and Stripleksikon der Lage Landen (1979),[27] 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.[13]

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.[28] On 11 May 2006 he was knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau.[18]

Kousemaker died April 27, 2010.[29][18][16]

Lambiek website[edit]


Although is the store's main domain name, Lambiek started a website in 1994[21] 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.[30]


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.[9] 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;[9] as of 2018 more than 13.700 names have a page.[9]

History of comics sections[edit]

The history section also includes an in-depth examination of Bulgarian comics, researched and written by Vladimir Nedialkov, with additions by Stiliana Thepileva ;[31][32] the site also features a historical overview of the comics magazines Spirou, Tintin, Pif gadget, Pilote, and Wimmen's Comix.[33]

Lambiek also features separate articles about the Comics Code,[34] Frederic Wertham,[35] Disney comics artists around the world,[36] Rolf Kauka artists,[37] erotic comics,[38] newspaper strips,[39] underground comics[40] and webcomics.[41] There is also a column for thus unidentified comics where the site's owners ask visitors for help with identification of the anonymous artists or with providing more biographical info and/or illustrations about them.[42]


  • In 2006 Kousemaker was the recipient of the Order of Orange-Nassau medal from the Netherlands for his special dedication to the history of comic books.[43][18]
  • Kousemaker also received the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award in 1997.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dutch Comics 1968 -1979".
  2. ^ "Comicshop Lambiek moves from Kerkstraat 132 to Koningsstraat 27". Lambiek Comic Shop.
  3. ^ MacNamee, Oliver (11 October 2018). "Happy 50th To Europe's Oldest Comic Shop, Lambiek, In Amsterdam".
  4. ^ "Lambiek -The World's Oldest Comics Shop – Valise et Parapluie".
  5. ^ "Memories Are Made of These". 8 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Comic books for sale in Lambiek's webshop - Lambiek Comic Shop".
  7. ^ "News overview".
  8. ^ "Comiclopedia - Illustrated artist compendium - Lambiek Comiclopedia".
  9. ^ a b c d "The History of Lambiek - Lambiek at (1999-2004)".
  10. ^ "Lambiek Comic Shop".
  11. ^ "Introduction".
  12. ^ a b "Willy Vandersteen". 1 January 1970.
  13. ^ a b c "The History of Lambiek (1980-1985)".
  14. ^ a b c d "The History of Lambiek (1990-1995)".
  15. ^ a b "The History of Lambiek (1986-1989)".
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "The History of Lambiek (2010-2015)".
  17. ^ a b c d e f "The History of Lambiek (1996-2003)".
  18. ^ a b c d e "The History of Lambiek (2005-2010)".
  19. ^ a b c "The History of Lambiek (2015-present)".
  20. ^ "Virtual exhibition Willem Vleeschouwer". Lambiek Comic Shop.
  21. ^ a b "About the store - Lambiek Comic Shop".
  22. ^ "Comics History: Underground comix and the underground press".
  23. ^ a b c "The History of Lambiek (1968-1975)".
  24. ^ VanderPloeg, Scott (14 September 2011). "Canada's 1st Comic Shop?".
  25. ^ Bradburn, Jamie (2 September 2015). "Vintage Toronto Ads: Memory Lane – The story of "Captain George" Henderson, Toronto's first retailer to specialize in comic books".
  26. ^ Dorn, Lori (6 February 2014). "Gary Arlington (1938-2014), Owner of the First Comic Book Store in the United States".
  27. ^ "The History of Lambiek (1975-1980)".
  28. ^ "The History of Lambiek (2003-2005)".
  29. ^ "Kees Kousemaker". 1 January 1970.
  30. ^ "Lambiek's revamped website kicks off!". Lambiek Comic Shop.
  31. ^ "Lambiek Comic Shop".
  32. ^ "History of Bulgarian Comics".
  33. ^ "Comic Magazines".
  34. ^ "The Comics Code".
  35. ^ "Dr. Fredric Wertham".
  36. ^ "Disney comic artists in the Comiclopedia".
  37. ^ "Kauka artists in the Comiclopedia".
  38. ^ "Erotic Comics".
  39. ^ "Early US Newspaper Comics".
  40. ^ "Underground comix and the underground press".
  41. ^ "Webcomics".
  42. ^ "The Comiclopedia needs your help!".
  43. ^ Koninginnedag 2006: Opnieuw zijn striphelden koninklijk onderscheiden Archived 2007-11-10 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ Awards Archived 2007-09-11 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Media related to Lambiek (Stripwinkel) at Wikimedia Commons