History of Bookshop Dominicanen

From bike shed to bookchurch

Thousands of books in a heavenly ambiance

In 2006 the old Dominican church in Maastricht got a new destiny. A bookshop was established inside the church. Untill 2013 the bookshop was part of the bookshop chains Selexyz and Polare. After the bankcruptcy in 2014 the bookshop restarted as Bookshop Dominicanen and is now an independant bookshop called: Boekhandel Dominicanen. 

At Boekhandel Dominicanen you will find a wonderful assortment of books, from children's books to art, from literature to local books and from lawbooks to travel guides... In March 2015 a full music department was added on the first floor with an extensive range of CD's and Vinyl (LP's).

In the presbytery of the orginal church you'll find the famous Blanche Dael coffeelovers. The presbytery is also the cultural stage of the bookstore. Weekly activities take place here, such as book signings, debates, lectures, interviews and musical performances, of course always with a wink to what we love so much: The book.

History

The 13th-century Dominican Church in Maastricht, the first Gothic church in the Low Countries, is a special building. Not only because of it's special history (the building has had many functions), but also because of the ceiling and wall paintings which are of exceptionally great art-historical value.

In 1261 the Dominicans are getting permission to found a monastery in Maastricht. They are building a monastery and church on place where the Entre Deux shopping center is now located. The monastery and church will remain in Maastricht for almost five centuries. On November 4, 1794, the French army captured Maastircht and in 1795 it was annexed to the French Republic. This puts an end  to the history of this religious place in Maastricht. Later the church is used by the French cavalry as a stable for horses. 

In the two centuries that followed the buidling has many functions. The building served as a depot for the city, concert hall, slaugterhouse, snake house, boxing temple, bicycle shed and a place where children celebrated carnival. Many Maastricht residents remember the church as the place where they kissed for the first time. 

In 2006 the Dominican Church gets its new destination as a quality bookstore. After a long period of restoration.  The responsible architect for the restauration is mr. Rob Brouwers from Satijnplus Architects. The interior design is by Merkx+Girod, On December 8th 2006 the doors of the bookshop first opened. The church has been transformed into a contemporary bookshop with ca. 25.000 titles and ca. 50.000 books.

Take a look at this during your visit

The sacral elements such as the stained-glass windows, fresco’s, vaults and the incidence of light have been saved. To keep the view of the height of the church, a steel a-centric ‘book tower’ with two floors was created (400m2). From the second floor the exposed fresco’s of saints, dating from 1619, are visible in the peak of the roof.

On the northern wall you can see the oldest known wall painting (secco, not a fresco) depicting the life of St. Thomas Aquinas (Dominican and philosopher) from 1337. Under the supervision of the city’s architects, a cellar has been built, making room for technical installations, toilets and storage.

Fresco (1)

 

 

The presbytery, on which you can today take a good cup of coffee from Coffeelovers, has a good view of the whole interior. Maastrichts coffee-roasting factory (already for 130 years) Blanche Dael runs Coffeelovers. You will find the best coffee in town and you can enjoy breakfast or one of their lovely cakes.

The Guardian selected our bookstore as ‘The fairest bookshop of the world’ in january 2008 (A bookshop made in heaven); many others followed.
Our architect Merkx + Girod from Amsterdam won the Lensvelt Architectuur Prijs in Holland in 2007.

>> Click here for the dutch version

pro-mbooks3 : libris