Gemeente Toerisme Damme

Passion for literature

Every second Sunday of the month, Damme hosts a themed book market. Like his colleagues, Willy Tibergien of the second-hand bookstore Maerlant likes to browse in the stalls of the private sellers. “You can pick up real bargains here.”

Bug for literature

After 35 years as founder and director of the Poetry Centre in Ghent, there’s no stopping Willy after his retirement. “I bought my first book 'Wittand de Wolfshond' by Jack London at the age of 12 for barely twelve Belgian francs. Since then, I’ve been passionate about literature.” Willy is still active as a poetry curator for the Watou Arts Festival. “My first love is still poetry, but I also like books about history and art.”

Rare books

Each customer is free to ask specific questions. In the shop, there are literally hundreds of books on all kinds of topics. Willy is part of a wide network which he can consult to find that one rare book. “A common misunderstanding is that old books are worth a lot of money. Books always have some emotional value for the reader. A book goes through an entire cycle. When I buy books in bulk from people at home, the books show their interests and life history.”

Literary activity

Collaboration between the seven bookshops in Damme is good, says Willy. “We help each other where we can. Damme rightly bears the title of book village, but I hope secretly for more art and literary activities in future.”

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Visit Damme

Jacob van Maerlantstraat 3 8340 Damme Phone+32 (0)50 28 86 10
open 9.30-12.30 h. and 13.00-17.00 h.

For professionals