Originally built over 700 years ago, the ancient church that now houses the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore has been attracting visitors with its gothic beauty for centuries, but with its godly duties at an end, it now draws people in as a massive bookstore.
Sitting in the middle of the historic town of Maastricht in the Netherlands, the church has been a place for both pilgrimage and storage down the centuries. When it was active as a Catholic church the ornate naves and intricate stonework must have served as a glorious backdrop to masses. Unfortunately during Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion in 1794 he saw the tall arched ceiling and grand, open chapel as a terrific storage solution. The leader used the church to house equipment and personnel during his campaign and simply abandoned the space when he was finished.
After the diminutive dictator’s deconsecration of the space it went on to act as a warehouse, an archival space, and more contemporarily, a place to keep bikes. It was not until 2005 that a team of modern architects renovated the space, adding a massive three-story central shelving island among other commercial enhancements, transforming the cavernous space into the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore that stands today.
The store continues to operate today despite the biblical friction concerning commerce in churches, holding a large selection of books on its black steel shelves and incorporating elements of the historic church such as a large cross-shaped table.