One of our facourite travel planning apps is Atlas Obscura, whenever we plan a roadtrip we check out the site to see if there are any unusual,quirky places along the way. On our trip home from a weekend away in Ghent/Belgium, we found a real gem on Atlas Obscura -The Book Mountain in Spijkenisse. If you are in the area and like books and architecture this award-winning public library is not going to disappoint. While Spijkenissen itself is not really a city that we felt was worth a visit, it is a pretty plain suburban town close to Rotterdam, it was great to climb the book mountain (De Boekenberg in Dutch).
The library was opened in 2012 and seems to be a very popular meeting place for the local community.
Go inside to really experience the book mountain, the outside facade only comes to live in the dark
Through the glass facade the books are visible from outside, and when looking towards the library from the old market square the library looks like a mountain of books, hence the name.
The book mountain has 5 floors (connected by a lift) of bookshelves. These are connected by more than 480 meters of stairs, pathways and indoor terraces. All is stacked upon another to spiral up to form a pyramid.
The inner core of the pyrmid houses the offices, meeting rooms and study rooms.
When we visited on a rainy Monday afternoon, the place was packed with senior citizens meeting up for coffee at the cafe, plenty of students sat in the alcoves/study areas working away on their computers and families enjoying the kids corner, which has a cabinet full of costumes and some child-friendly toys.
HIDDEN FUNCTITONAL DETAILS
The book mountain has no less than 1006 windows, allowing the community to look in and giving the visitors a great view of the city.
Higher book shelves which are out of reach are actually the libraries archive and the easy to reach lower areas are the bookshelves are the books ready to be borrowed.
The entire building is very eco-friendly and sustainability overall is high on the agenda in the day -to-day operations, as well as the design. For example the bookshelves are all made out of recycled flowerpots and the architects worked with a lot of wooden details as a hommage to Spijkenisse’s agricultural past.
The Library has a little cafe, which serves great coffee! If you want to eat lunch we recommend The Brownies & Downies Cafe, which is about 5 minutes walking from the library. It is a cafe run by people with a handicap and/or Down syndrom. It has a lovely little playarea with books, toys and games to entertain their little guests.
The Library is open 6 days a week and there is a car park adjacent to the library ( Karel Doormansraat 3). The official website of the Book mountain is available in English and has further information about events, opening times and architectural details.
Spijkenisse is very easy to reach from Rotterdam. Also read our blog post about Rotterdam: A vibrant and diverse city.Want to read more of our travel stories, visit our ‘where we have been’ page to see all of the travel adventures we blogged about.