Recently I read Vienna in Short stories, a short story collection published in 2018. And it made me wonder what I love about the city I live in. And the answer came to me quite instantly; De Boekenberg (The Book Mountain). The library.
Rossitza describes in her foreword of the short story collection that she wanted her first collection to be focused on Vienna, a city she has lived and worked in for fifteen years. And this collection is exactly that; a love note to the city.
In today’s post I’ll try to write my own love note to Spijkenisse. In a miniature version haha
I was born and raised in Spijkenisse and since I’ve always been reader I used to visit our old library quite a lot. For years the city used to have a temporary library and I have so many good memories from that place.
From borrowing Mathilda by Roald Dahl about 5 times within the year; to satisfying my childhood curiosity for all things history; to attending a reading by my favorite Dutch writer Herman Koch with my late grandmother. A library is more than just books, it’s a community and there’s so many memories involved.
The Book Mountain
“On only a twenty-minute drive from Rotterdam, you’ll find the Boekenberg, the mountain worth the climb.”
In April, 2012 the new library was opened. The library is an outstanding piece of architecture. The designer is Winy Maas, for the library he wanted to “tempt the residents of Spijkenisse to read more, gain and share knowledge.” During his first presentation of the concept of the building he quoted Alice in Wonderland. This new library was supposed to become an illusion, a dream, a mad fairytale. And I personally think he definitely accomplished that goal.
By 2012 I hadn’t visited the library in a while, but along with many others in the city, I was immediately drawn to this building. This huge triangle building in the middle of our city center. I couldn’t get to the entrance soon enough!
Upon entrance you are amazed by this beautiful building; made of red brick, wood and glass all around you. There’s nooks and crannies all over, filled with busts of famous writers. And that’s not all you will see; there are books all around you. Steps leading you to new levels and more books wherever you look. You can walk circles around the main structure and look out over the city when you’re on top of the mountain. Honestly, you could almost write a book about this view only.
I’ve since then renewed my library subscription every year and I hope to do the same in 2019. ‘Hiking’ the book mountain is a treat I wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Support your libraries!
Let’s just take a step back and think about the concept of libraries. Because they are quite brilliant. Not everyone can afford to fill their bookcase or pay to go study at a fancy university to gain knowledge. But that’s what a library is for. It’s accessible for everyone.
I know it’s great to own your own books, but don’t forget your library. So many books waiting to be discovered and read. Go get them!
A library is for people who are looking for new adventures, for our retired folk to read their daily paper along a cup of coffee, for hobby gardeners looking for information about a newly discovered plant.
And for little girls like me, who look to Matilda to be their hero.