Het ivoren aapje
Begijnhofplein 4, Brussel, Belgium
Tel: +32 2219 4686
Posted: 22nd March, 2017
It would be a shame if the shop Het ivoren aapje is not on your book-buying map when you visit Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. This urban legend is well known among Belgian book lovers. The owner Frederik, historian and poet, is a real bookish kind of genius. He has the capacity to tell you in a few words what a book is all about.
When I saw the call for guest writers for this bookshop blog, I judged it as my duty to write something about this shop. I often wonder why this shop is not more known.
It is located in Brussels, near the Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage (French: Saint-Jean-Baptiste au Béguinage, dutch Sint-Jan-de-Doper op het Begijnhof). This church is an illustration of the Italian influenced Flemish Baroque style of the 17th century. Every time I visit the shop I have a feeling to be in the heart of Florence.
This secondhand bookshop's name is inspired by a long forgotten novel by Flemish author Herman Teirlinck (1879-1967). Frederik has a thing with using bookish names, a long time ago he had a bookshop in Antwerp called K, after Franz Kafka's novel, The trial. Frederik always has different copies of the book Het ivoren aapje in the back of his shop. That is where you find him, behind his desk. In the middle of his shop you can even find the bookshop dog called Menendez named after… for you to find out?
Don’t judge this bookshop by its cover. It looks like a small shop on the outside, but you would be amazed about the quantity of books there are inside this store. Visiting the shop is like entering a real bookstream of consciousness. In fact, I have known Frederik for some years and I would be surprised to find a book in his shop that he does not like. I always have the idea that he gives books a last chance to shine.
There is also a good chance that you find in the shop complete works of a writer. Bibliomaniacs are warned!
Thank you very much to Eric for writing about Het ivoren aapje. He's promised to write about another bookshop in the future, and I look forward to sharing it with you all.