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The Boekenfestijn Returneth

04-05-2011 om 12:00 by Amanda Potter

DSCN1617Once again the Book Festival is descending on Maastricht to please readers of all ages with titles at cut rate prices. We visited this free event at the MECC last year and enjoyed digging through the long tables of fiction, nonfiction, and comic books to find just the right ones to read. Discounts range from 60-90% off the cover prices, so if you want some Dutch and/or English reading material, you should make the time to check it out.

I’m sure the available books vary greatly, but I recall an event well organized by subject into a variety of sections. Bring a big shopping bag and maybe a cart with wheels; most people seem to walk out with 10 books or more!



The Boekenfestijn’s fiction collection is big, with lots of best sellers in both hard and soft cover. I found that science fiction and fantasy (my personal favorites) were well covered in both languages, as was classical fiction and children’s literature. The English & Dutch sections were on separate tables to speed your reading.


The non-fiction section is probably twice the size of fiction and arranged by well-posted subject. As is the usual practice in nonfiction, the languages were mixed on the tables, but there are enough English books to keep readers of that language browsing for a while. I consider this one of the prime opportunities for English-speakers to get their hands on non-fiction in Maastricht.


I don’t know for sure, but I hear that college level textbooks, including ones used by Maastricht University, are a steal at the Boekfestijn. I recall seeing a lot of science and medical texts, so students won’t want to miss this.

Graphic Novels & Comic Books

I couldn’t wrap this article up without a word about the comic books available. The year we attended there were no fewer than 3 tables of graphic novels. They are primarily European and in Dutch, but a few English language gems lay scattered around. Dutch-translate manga were also highly visible and the prices make it easy to pick up an entire series.

So what are you waiting for? The Boekfestijn in Maastricht runs from May 5th through the 8th, 10 am - 9 pm (except on Sunday which is 10 am to 6 pm). If you can’t make it, but still want to take a look, the organizers arrange these festivals all over the Netherlands and Belgium throughout the year. Enjoy!

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Amanda Potter moved to Maastricht from Boston, Massachusetts in April, 2009 with her husband Dan for his research position at the University of Maastricht. Between exploring their adopted country and learning about a new culture, Amanda blogs about her experience and the city at Amanda works as a freelance writer and web designer at and webmaster for the comic She has two globetrotting cats that keep her company in their second floor Maastricht flat.
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