The most beautiful bookstore in the world
Stepping into Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Occupying a Dominican church dating from 1294, the shop well deserves its reputation as the most beautiful bookstore in the world.
The medieval church lacked a congregation and was actually being used for public bike storage before undergoing refurbishment for the Selexyz book chain by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod in 2006. Update April 2015: Selexyz closed their branch and the Boekhandel Dominicanen is being proposed for crowdfunding.
Climbing to the upper racks affords shoppers a closer look at faded ceiling frescoes while a coffee stand in the former choir area features a modern reading table shaped like a cross. The café hosts art shows and weekly events.
Maastricht, Netherlands, is a vibrant university town famed for its Roman past and Carnival celebrations. TEFAF Maastricht, the world’s leading fine art and antiques fair, takes place here every March. From Amsterdam, Maastricht is about two and a half hours by car or train. It’s also easily accessible from other European cities like Paris, Brussels, Dusseldorf and Cologne. For more on this relaxing yet sophisticated Dutch city, see Maastricht Tourism.
Also see Holland.com, official website of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions.