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.

Our bookshop receives approximately 700.000 visitors a year. Our collection contains new and second-hand books, including books in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. On the first floor you find our music department with CD’s, DVD’s, and Vinyl (LP’s).

Besides selling books, music and non-books, we also organise over 150 events a year (exhibitions, debates, interviews, readings, music, workshops etc.).

History of the Dominican church

The Dominican church is a Gothic monastery church situated in the city centre of Maastricht. The church is built in the 13th century of marl stone on a foundation of millstone-grit, consecrated in 1294. In 1796 the church’s ecclesiastical function ended, its later uses being a.o. stables, a bike shed, exhibition space and a party hall.

Dominicanenkerk Vroeger

In 2005 a large renovation and restoration started. The church (865 m2) has been restored in its full glory.

Take a look at this during your visit

The responsible architect for the restauration is mr. Rob Brouwers from Satijnplus Architects, www.satijnplus.nl

The interior design is by Merkx+Girod, www.merkx-girod.nl. 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.

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 erected (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.

The choir, on which you can today a good cup of coffee from Coffeelovers, has a good view of the whole interior. Maastricht coffeeburner (already 130 years) Blanche Dael runs Coffeelovers. You will find the best coffee in town and you can enjoy breakfast, and have a light Italian lunch or lovely cakes.

The Guardian selected us 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.

On December 8th of 2016 we celebrated our 10-year anniversary!

Fresco (1)

pro-mbookslibr2 : libris