In the Beginning Was the Word

Unlike so many churches around the world that have ignominiously fallen to the wrecking ball, a group of booksellers in Maastricht, The Netherlands, chose a beautiful 13th century church as the site of a bookstore called Selexyz Dominicanen. This magnificent Gothic church, consecrated in 1294, had been in the hands of the Dominicans, who were later driven out by Napoleon in 1794. After a brief stint as a parish church, it was sadly turned into a warehouse and was used as nothing more than an interior bike pound until the end of 2007. The bookshop installations were created by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod, who among other projects, have remodelled several historic buildings in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. The dominant new element in the church is the high-rise bookshelf structure which reaches up to the stone vaults. Popular books are accessible on lower shelves, while academic, esoteric and theological works are kept closer to the heavens. There is a café offering cappuccino and red wine, the central element of which is a long table in the shape of a crucifix, which might have been seen as blasphemous in days of old, but nowadays only seems fitting enough. Here is one book chain concept that I would be all too happy to see grow on a global scale.

Photographed by Roos Aldershoff. This post inspired by an article on Pure Green Magazine. My text largely lifted from this article from The Guardian, UK.

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