Finding a New Purpose as a Bookstore: The Dominican Church in Maastricht


Though bookstores often take over old buildings, most shops don’t inhabit old churches. A bookstore in the Netherlands, however, is an exception to that rule. In 2007, Seleyx, a Dutch chain, hired architect firm Merkx+Girod to convert an old Dominican church in Maastricht, Netherlands into a bookshop. In order to maintain the architectural integrity of the space, Merkx+Girod kept the ceiling open and created multilevel bookshelves among which patrons could walk. Seleyx didn’t want to simply obliterate the 700 year old building but instead hoped to find a better use for the space.

It looks like they succeeded.

The result is a stunning place where people can wander rows of books, observe the art that still clings to the walls, and enjoy a drink from the coffee shop on the former church’s main level. If I ever make my way to the Netherlands, I’ll have to try and see it in person.





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Image Attributions: All images from Merkx+Girod,, Accessed 31 January 2017.

29 thoughts on “Finding a New Purpose as a Bookstore: The Dominican Church in Maastricht

  1. I’ve never been there (although I’ve been to Maastricht (with a t ;-)) but next time I plan a long weekend trip I hope to visit this bookstore. I love the idea although I also have to admit I really like those little cosy bookstores too with lots of nooks and isles where you really feel you can find some treasures if you do your best ;-).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for catching the spelling! I’ve fixed it, so now people don’t have to wonder about where this misspelled town is.

      If you ever make it over there, feel free to report back and tell us what you think of it. You may be right that it is hard to relax and really enjoy the books in such a vast space. (This may be one of those architecture over function buildings.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Transforming the church into a bookstore is so much better than tearing it down. My heart always fractures a bit when I hear that people have had to get rid of old buildings. There is so much history to them. And so much beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like such a beautiful space! I’m a fan of old structures as well, so I was relieved to discover that they didn’t simply destroy the building during the renovation. It seems to have retained its character.


  2. Hi! Thanks for blogging about our fabulous bookstore. Before the bookstore, the church served as an exhibition space for some of the coolest exhibitions, like snakes from all over the world. It wasn’t creepy at all (yes it was!) to walk in the semi-dark, on top of ancient graves and forgotten people, to look at those creatures in their glass habitats. It was very educational, though. And then the bookstore happened 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, when living in Maastricht we don’t always realize how unique or special some buildings are. We will cover it for our website and will notify you once its published! May take a little time though because we will visit the Regional Historical Center (also located in an old magnificent church!) Limburg in town that probably has a lot of ancient documents and possibly pictures and stories. So thank you for prompting this 😉!

        Liked by 1 person

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