summer library of childhood

Seventh edition of the open-air library, with its collection on childhood: for the smallest children who are still in the midst of it and for the adults who are in search of it.

Architecture and concept

Inspired on the one hand by an existing semicircular wooden seating stand which Comp.Marius has already been using in the open air for ten years, and on the other by a great love of books and their readers, the company has now built an open-air library (see ‘about marius/mobile constructions’). Unlike a public library, this one holds a personal collection and the books are catalogued using a highly individual system. It is conceived as a ‘reading room’, where the books can only be read or consulted on the spot, on a comfortable curved seating stand that has back supports and table-tops with room for 60 readers

- 2013 new version -

Over the last three summers, Comp.Marius has exhibited the book collection of the imaginary Walter Verbeeck. Walter was the first visitor to Zomer van Antwerpen and an avid book collector who one day decided to go out into the big wide world. While he was away, Comp.Marius was allowed to open his extensive collection of books on art, nature and the summer to the public, then built an open-air library specially for the purpose, and catalogued the books according to the time you need to read them. After three years, Comp.Marius needed a new story and a new collection, and so after a long journey Walter returned home, longing to see his beloved books standing in the familiar surroundings of his home. But Comp.Marius was allowed to keep his children’s books.

These books formed the basis of a collection on childhood: for the smallest children who are still in the midst of it and for the adults who are in search of it. From sunrise to sunset, the visitor will find children’s and picture books to read there, and at certain times stories will also be read aloud. In addition to the books for children, there is also a ‘higher collection’: world literature in which writers consider the child, people in the bloom of their lives, sacred youth, à la recherché du temps perdu.


In summer 2016, the Summer Library was opened with a new travelling project: ‘The Letterbox of Childhood’. In this project, Comp. Marius sought people’s memories of children’s books which at one time had been important to them. Throughout the summer, three letterboxes were set up at different places in the city to collect the letters containing the stories and to speak to as many people as possible.



Concept: Comp. Marius
Collection in conjunction with Kirsten Roosendaal
Construction in conjunction with Koen Schetske
Coproduction: Zomer van Antwerpen 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018