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Faces behind the Front Door: De Haagse Boekerij
This time I went to “De Haagse Boekerij”, the bookstore on Frederikstraat, to meet the owners, Inge Ebbinge and Herman Boswijk.
The building is in the possession of the Foundation Diodato Pro Libris (Friends of De Haagse Boekerij) which was established in the year 2000 to support De Haagse Boekerij, a bookshop that specializes in Anthroposophy. A small and independent high-quality bookshop sometimes needs a little support. The Foundation can count on a considerable number of friends, but is always looking for new friends who are willing to make a donation or grant a loan.
Inge and Herman call their shop a true “local” shop. “Many clients like a small shop with personal service and that is what we offer. At the request of the client we search for secondhand books or books that are hard to come by. Besides we try to distinguish ourselves by our specific assortment. We have in stock books in any category, but our specialization is Anthroposophy and spirituality. We are proud to say that we have the complete works of Rudolf Steiner (the inaugurator of Anthroposophy) available from stock. In The Netherlands are only two other anthroposophical bookshops: in Zeist and in Amsterdam.
“We also offer a large selection of postcards, children’s books and the largest collection of poetry in The Hague. You will find many books in the German language on our shelves.”
40 years ago Inge learned the book trade at Boucher on Noordeinde. When that shop closed in 1982 she and her husband opened a bookshop on Molenstraat. “We had that shop for about 11 years,” says Inge. “In 1977 I came to De Haagse Boekerij and I have been happy working here ever since. After two years the then owner, Anneke Verhagen, passed away and that was a tense moment. I was glad when the Foundation was called into being, because that meant that we were able to continue the shop.”
In 2008 Herman came to swell the ranks. Until then he had worked for 20 years in the library of the Anthroposophical Society on Riouwstraat. “I am more a service provider than a commercial man,” says Herman. “The commercial side of the business I leave to Inge. Together we are a good match. With my anthroposophical background I like to give information and pass on knowledge. Even though young people read less (books) and people in general read less because they are too ‘busy’, Anthroposophy is still very popular.”
Are you interested in Anthroposophy, a beautiful postcard or good books for children? Pop in and browse at De Haagse Boekerij, Frederikstraat 24.
5 October 2015, Josephine de Vijlder (MM)