You might be religious or not, but this Old Church in Maastricht will bring all the enlightenment you might be seeking since it was converted into a bookshop a couple of years ago.
It became one of the best examples of adaptive reuse architecture.
Nowadays, the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore is infused with a rich mixture of different eras’ architecture and bookshelves covered with information and culture.
Built in 1294, this Dominican church worked as planned until Napoleon invaded Maastricht in 1794 and expelled the Dominicans from the country. The same thing happened to the hotel where we spent the night, Kruisherenhotel Maastricht.
Before it became the Selexyz Dominicanen, this church was used briefly as a parish; then it became a warehouse, then an archive. Before it became a bookstore, it was a huge parking lot for bicycles which is one of our favorite uses of a church.
It was only in 2007 that the architecture firm Merkx + Girod started a project called Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht.
A Beautiful Bookshop in Maastricht that used to be a Church
The reuse project was led by architecture firm Merkx + Girod, and the project highlights the stone walls with a towering black steel bookshelf that leads almost to the ceiling of this old church. From up there, you can see the church nave, and it’s something special and unique.
At the back of the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore, there is a café where you have the best views from the beautifully renovated ceiling frescoes. Also, there is a beautiful circular chandelier where the choir used to stand that seems to work as a halo, and it completes this former church stylishly.
We can only imagine how difficult it might be to repurpose a church like this one. Just the sheer scale of it would make the maintenance of it pretty expensive.
But, the way architecture firm Merkx + Girod maximized the interior space of Selexyz Dominicanen, there is a secure future for this historical building that became a must-see for book lovers and architecture lovers alike.
Even the Guardian named this bookstore one of the World’s Best Bookshops in the world in 2008.
We visited Maastricht in December 2017 and stayed at the amazing Kruisherenhotel Maastricht; you should stay there too.
Selexyz Dominicanen Bookshop in Maastricht
Dominicanerplein 1, 6211 CP