Das Mag Festival – 4 book temples to visit
Book lovers unite! Saturday 12 December, Das Mag Festival takes over Antwerp with 16 book clubs about 16 books at 13 beautiful locations. In every (sold-out) book club, 25 avid readers can discuss the novel and ask the author her/himself about their motives, favourite characters, and much more. At 11 PM you are welcome at the free after-party at De Studio.
Das Magazin started in 2011 in Amsterdam as an innovative literary magazine that was adapted to the digital age. In 2015 they opened a crowdfunded publishing house that is focused on quality rather than on number. Das Mag Festival has already had 4 editions, of which one in Ghent.
It’s no surprise that Das Magazin chose Antwerp for the second Belgian edition of the festival. Antwerp’s title of book metropolis goes way back to the 16th century when the famous publisher Christopher Plantin lived here. His house is now an elegant museum about typography.
The venues of Das Mag Festival are just like the Museum Plantin-Moretus very much worth the visit, whether you are a bibliophile or not. Here are 4 of our favourites.
't Stad Leest
‘t Stad Leest is a trendy book store in a big, light town house. The front part of the store is dedicated to literature, yet the real show pieces are in the centre of the room. Beautiful note books, funny lists, inspiring coffee table books, etc. all make the best gifts. No wonder the shop assistants have a golden touch when it comes to gift-wrapping.
Wouter Cajot, the shop owner, is thrilled to participate in the Das Mag Festival. ‘t Stad Leest will welcome the festival’s headliner Arnon Grunberg. Wouter has the honour of leading the debate with the best-selling author since he is a book expert in the Dutch talk show De Wereld Draait Door.
Wouter describes Das Magazin as an organisation that ‘dusts off books’ and exposes that literature should not be dull. ‘t Stad Leest obviously reaches this goal as well with its fun atmosphere.
t Stad Leest, Steenhouwersvest 16, 2000 Antwerp
De Groene Waterman
This book store makes you happy to be a reader – or makes you want to become one. The secret must be the aesthetically pleasant book covers. Even the non-fiction works about politics, history and sociology all look like they should be on top of your reading list.
Just like ‘t Stad Leest, the shop’s atmosphere is clean, yet this smaller book store is much more tranquil. De Groene Waterman opened more than 40 years ago as an alternative book store with a Leftist agenda. This political inspiration is still reflected in the non-fiction collection and the debate nights in the basement.
During the Das Mag Festival, De Groene Waterman receives the promising female writer Inge Schilperoord. The team is enchanted by the unique concept of the festival and praises the organisation: ‘Das Magazin brings together a reliable quality with youthful vigour’.
Even if you do not have a ticket for the book club, you ought to visit De Groene Waterman this Saturday. 12 December is the Day of the Independent Book Store which allows you to get discounts and a free book by Annelies Verbeke!
De Groene Waterman, Wolstraat 7, 2000 Antwerp
Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
The Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience conserves the Flemish book heritage. The building dates back to the 17th century and was turned into the city library in the 19th century.
At the reading hall you can look into books from centuries ago, but the Nottebohm hall is where you really want to go. Every third Saturday of the month you can visit this amazing space which looks like a library in a castle.
Erfgoedbibliotheek, Hendrik Conscienceplein 4 – Reading hall: Korte Nieuwstraat, 2000 Antwerp
De Studio is one of Antwerp’s finest cultural centres and also one of three Antwerp locations for Das Mag book clubs. Here, the after-party will bring together readers and authors. And you are welcome too!
De Studio’s biggest literary event is Leave Us at Dawn, a party concept which combines arts, poetry and music. Especially the thematic nights on Valentine’s Day and Halloween will leave you excited, happy and a bit shaken.
De Studio, Maarschalk Gérardstraat 4, 2000 Antwerp
Das Mag Festival: practical
The book clubs are sold out. The after-party is free and starts at 11 PM at De Studio.