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Places Around Maastricht: Selexyz Dominican Bookstore

Type of Place: Bookstore

Location: Dominikanerkerkstraat 1; 6211 CZ Maastricht

Website

The Selexyz Dominican bookstore is located in a beautiful refurbished cathedral and features a nice Coffeelovers cafe and a moderately large collection of books for sale. The English collection is small, so you may have to dig if that’s what you’re looking for. Watch the video to learn more.

As promised in the video here are a couple pictures of the bookstore’s interior:

selexyz bookstore

Photo by Bert K. & used via Creative Commons

Photo by FaceMePLS & licensed via Creative Common

This video needs a transcript. If you’d like to help, please drop me an email.

Places Around Maastricht: Comics Hunting

One of the (admittedly few) things Maastricht is really missing for me is a good comic book store (I’d like to have a Jo-Ann Fabrics too, but at least there is the Wednesday market for that). When I lived in Boston we had a nice one within walking distance, and the city as a whole has a respectable number, plus a zine library for the underground set. Here? Nothing. I’ve learned that there use to be one, but it was closed due to the economic downturn a few years back.

So what’s a comics enthusiast to do?

This store is actually located in Amsterdam.

Brussels is packed with comic book shops, but honestly it’s too far away for us to do regular trips. Instead we only have a few options if we want to visit a physical store.

De Slegte

As I’ve mentioned before, De Slegte here in Maastricht is sort of our local replacement for a comic book shop. The availability is fairly eclectic, a good thing for me. And a bit old, which can be good or bad. Although they don’t have the “feel” of a comic shop, the mix of European and American titles is pretty good and we don’t mind getting the discount books occasionally.

Atomik Comics

Located in Sittard, which is mercifully not far by train, Atomik is a comic shop proper with a large selection of old and new material, plus board games, role-playing games, and even a computer gaming room. We’ve only been over once or twice, but its a nice space with lots of material to browse. They have a handful of recent American comics in addition to the regular Dutch ones and even a small selection of indie comics/zines. Unfortunately they are only open a few days a week during the summer.

Comics 2000

A recent Google search also turned up Comics 2000, which is apparently a shop in Valkenburg. They’re website indicates that you may have to “register?” to shop with them, but with a proportated large collection of comics, models, and other collectibles it might be worth a look. If anyone with better Dutch could clarify if that’s register for the online rather than the physical store, I’d love to know.

Do you know of any comic or hobby shops I’ve missed in the area?

Places Around Maastricht: De Slegte

Type of Place: Bookstore
Location: Grote Staat 53; 6211 CV Maastricht
Website

An unassuming entrance

Books can be more expensive here in Europe than they are in the US and, at least here in Maastricht, comics can be hard to come by. That’s where the three packed floors of De Slegte on the main shopping drag comes in.

De Slegte is a large used and discount bookstore chain. The location here in Maastricht carries a substantial mix of used fiction and nonfiction books, including a small selection of used English-language texts. Fiction books are organized by genre, with a section for English titles seperate from the Dutch ones. The Dutch titles are all over the place, but the English titles are mostly mystery and romance. Nonfiction books are, naturally, arranged by subject and the languages are all mixed in. While the prices are not rock bottom, you can frequently pick up a (comparative) deal on all sorts of things if you look hard enough.

They also have a small selection of antique quality books which, naturally, are quite expensive.

De Slegte recently reorganized so it looks nice & clean.

For the expat population, De Slegte is also a good stop for your Dutch learning textbooks and language dictionaries. Since there are always people going in and out of the classes, you can sometimes grab what you need for significantly less that it would cost at a regular bookstore.

For comic nerds like me, De Slegte is also the only place in Maastricht with a decent selection of European and American graphic novels and folios. Mostly in Dutch and English, De Slegte has a good representation of comics, although they do not stock American-style floppies or current releases. We use it to check out European titles we’ve never heard of before.

De Slegte is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am – 6 pm (opening late on Mondays and closing at 9 pm on Thursdays) and is well worth the occasional stop in to see what’s new.

Places Around Maastricht: Blanche Dael

Type of Place: Coffee (tea and chocolate) Store
Location: Wolfstraat 28; 6211 GN Maastricht
Website

One of the oldest coffee grinders in the Maastricht region, Blanche Dael is a charming shop filled with a wide variety of coffee, tea, and packaged treats that make unique gifts for visitors and a delicious cup of coffee for locals as well.¬† From the outside, the old-fashions wood trim, huge roaster, and scent of fresh coffee beans will pull¬† you inside. Once there, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a variety of interesting treats and gifts. They sell a special Maastricht coffee blend, that is very good, as well as the famous(?) “Druim vaan Mestreech” tea, which tastes like drinking a bouquet of flowers. The chocolate sold by the shop is tasty as well, although I don’t know if they make it themselves.

Blanche Dael coffee and tea is the premier “gift coffee” for Maastricht and you can also find it at the VVV and other specialty tourist shops; mostly the nice ones that don’t sell tacky “dutch-girl” wigs. If you want a taste of it, you can also visit Coffeelovers; Maastricht’s answer to Starbucks. I don’t personally like Coffeelovers much (they brew their coffee stronger than I like), but many people swear by them and it’s one of perhaps two places you can get an American size cup of coffee. I prefer my Blanche Dael brewed at home where I can control how strong my beverage is.

Places Around Maastricht: Wereldwinkel

Type of Place: Fair Trade store
Location: Brusselsestraat 7
Website

Today’s Places Around Maastricht shares with you my favorite place to buy coffee: Wereldwinkel. This small gift shop is just a few blocks from me near the Vrijthof and carries a variety of products produced in the developing world. In keeping with the tenets of Fair Trade, the producers receive fair compensation, allowing them to make a respectable living. The shop is filled with a variety of reasonably priced textiles, dishes, statues, and all sorts of other handmade odds and ends. If I had a place to hang the blue hammock in the window, I would seriously consider buying it.

Wereldwinkel is run significantly on volunteers; mostly older women who are friendly and tolerant of my crummy Dutch (a side perk is I actually feel comfortable trying out a few Dutch words there).

Wereldwinkel sells a small but varied selection of Fair Trade foodstuffs in the back of the shop, including the single-origins ground coffee that I like so well. Supporting Fair Trade in my coffee is so easy, that there is really not excuse not to and the brand sold here is much tastier than the Fair Trade or organic brands sold at Albert Heijns. The price is nearly the same too. In addition, I’m just a sucker for single-origins products. The earth the plants grow in has a significant effect on the flavor of the coffee.

Wereldwinkel is open Mondays through Friday from 1 pm to 5:30 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm. They are never open on Sundays.

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