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dominikanerkerkstraat 1, Maastricht, Netherlands - (043) 321 08 25

Sylexyz Maastricht Reviews

Sweetski Sweetski
52 reviews
Selexyz Dominicanen, sacred pages Apr 17, 2008
In The Netherlands, Selexyz is a chain of 40 bookstores. Normally, the word ‘chain’ means average service, mainstream stock only and uninteresting ‘ten a penny’ stores. None of this is true for Selexyz. Although…, the thought of bookstore chains also brings scenes from the movie ‘You’ve got mail’ to mind, where the lovely local ‘around the corner bookshop’ (run by Meg Ryan), is forced out off business by the Big Chain Bookstore, run by Tom Hanks. When it comes to Selexyz, in all honesty, one or two comparisons can justifiably be made. Most importantly, most Selexyz stores have an integrated coffee shop. And yes, the stack high top ten bestsellers do have a prominent position in the store. Here however, ends the similarity. Because, on the contrary to the bookstore in the film, many Selexyz shops are situated in the most beautiful buildings on the best locations of gorgeous cities. For example, there are one or more in The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leiden and 's Hertogenbosch. Besides being housed in beautiful old buildings, Selexyz also has many campus stores near high schools and universities.

Situated in an old (former) Dominican church, you’ll find the most beautiful of all Selexyz': Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht. The church oozes an ambiance of devotion and contemplation, which perfectly complements the books. To give the books some room to breath, a modern structure has been erected to create two extra floors. The contrast between the old church and the high-tech structure is enormous, yet they go together so well. They each enhance the other’s beauty. Perhaps the best thing about the structure is that it leaves the church in tact. Besides a feast to the eyes, the added floors also provide a splendid opportunity to ‘study’ the church’s architecture. If you are not a clergy or a priest, chances are you’ve never seen the arches and windows this close. Carved in the centuries old sandstone building blocks, there is a rich history. Names, dates, declarations of love, it is all there. One of the more moving carvings I came across dated 1944, from an asylum seeker during World War II.

The former apse combined with the ambulatory is the bookshop’s coffee corner. Although, being a semi circle, one can hardly call it a corner. The product range is trendy and international oriented, the prices are ridiculously expensive. Yet, this is no reason not to visit the bookstore. Coz even if you don’t read, or stronger: hate books, don’t drink coffee and you are an atheist, this place is definitely still worth a visit.
View of the nave with added floors
Detail of the modern structure
Ever been this high up in a church?
Detail of a window
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
marthak says:
This bookstore won the first prize in the (UK) Guardian World Best Bookstore Awards in 2008.Visited the store that gained second prize in that competition today: El Ateneo in Avenida Santa Fe, Buenos Aires. That is a fantastic store, but I will make the Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht my next visit! Trust the Dutch to be so original in both ideas and design.
Posted on: Feb 21, 2010
Miss_Drake says:
I like to visit all kind of churches and I cannot imagine myself living without books. This place is a wonderful combination of old and new.
Posted on: Apr 17, 2008
Sunflower300 says:
I love books, I love coffee and I love Pookying - I mean, poking around old churches, I'll be visiting this place one day for sure.
Posted on: Apr 17, 2008
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