Some say it’s the most beautiful bookstore in the world. That I can’t say, but it is definitely in the world’s top 5 and the most beautiful bookstore of the Netherlands. The Dominicanen Bookstore that is housed in an old church is something not to miss when visiting the southern Dutch city Maastricht. For me, a bookstore is in itself already a heavenly place. I can literally spend hours in it, browsing books and magazines. The Dominicanen Bookstore is no exception in that respect with over 50.000 different books, countless international magazines and even a department of old vinyl music records. But this bookstore is also an architectural masterpiece, so even if you’re not a bookworm it is a beautiful place to wander around. Over 700.000 visitors a year step inside the bookstore to be amazed by the setting and their extensive collection of new and second-hand books, including books in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian.
The Dominicanen Bookstore is situated in the center of Maastricht. It is a is a Gothic monastery church dating back to the 13th century. In 1796 the church’s ecclesiastical function ended but it wasn’t until 2005 that restorations started. It took a year to transform the church into a contemporary bookstore while integrating and mixing it with the authentic elements. The architect and interior designer saved all of the frescos, stained glass windows, vaults, sacral elements and the incidence of light. A steel, two storey book tower was built to maintain the sense of height in the church. When you look up you’ll see exposed fresco’s of saints, dating from 1619, in the peak of the roof. On the northern wall , on the left when entering the bookstore, you can see the oldest known wall painting depicting the life of St. Thomas Aquinas (Dominican and philosopher) from 1337.
In the chancel of the Dominicanen church there’s now a coffee shop Coffee Lovers, run by 130 years old coffee maker family Blanche Dael. You can sit down and have breakfast, lunch or the best coffee in town. The large reading table is, no coincidence, in the form of a cross. It is also the perfect spot to take in the immensity of the store as you have an elevated view all the way to the entrance of the church with rows of books on both sides.
tel.: 003143 4100 010