From some posts you will have noticed that my husband and I took a trip to Maastricht last week. Of course I couldn’t visit a city without visiting a book store. And this one is a bit special.
Maastricht is the capital city of the province Limburg in the south of the Netherlands. The city has a lot of churches. Some of these haven’t been in use for years. Because of this reason some of the churches are being turned into stores. One of these is the Boekhandel Dominicanenkerk. A book store set in a church.
The Dominicanen church is over 700 years old. But it had not been used as a church for a good few years. A few of the confessional chairs you can see in the St. Servaas Basilica nearby. Over the years the church has had Christmas fairs and has been a storage for bycicles, a post office and a carnaval location. In 2005 and 2006 the church was restored and became a book store.
While some find the lighting in the church too dark I think it adds to the rustic atmosphere of the store. In the midst of the store there are two large iron scaffolds adding two floors and creating various book shelves. In the back there are more shelves on the right side of the store. On the left side there is a cafe. It creates a comfortable buzz throughout the store. The ceilings still look amazing.
On the ground floor you will find most of the books, including a lot of new releases in various genre’s. As this is a store in the Netherlands most of the books are in Dutch but you can find some English sections throughout the store. I personally really liked the English fantasy section. On the right side of the bottom floor you’ll mainly find book shelves while on the left side you’ll mostly see tables with various books displayed. It creates a very open space towards the cafe that is in the back.
The first floor has a collection of CD and DVD’s. Not something I am personally interested in so I didn’t look too much at this floor. But it is something you see added to various large book stores these days. The second floor has some second-hand books and antique books. It was interesting to see the antique books stalled out behind the glass.
Overal this book store definitely deserves a visit. Even if you don’t love books it is great to walk around and see how they incorperated the store into the church. If you are a book lover not only the setting of the store is an experience, but the selection of books are also great. I saw some special editions of books I had not seen in other stores in the Netherlands. There was this lovely white Alice in Wonderland edition stalled out, and the Lord of the Rings book I bought is another example.
Some of the information in this post came from here (Dutch), some things I heard during a tour of St. Servaas Basilica. All the pictures are my own.