Gay bookstore Vrolijk has closed down, possibly permanently. We were on a tour around gay and lesbian stores on a Saturday when we heard the news. When walked by the store, a simple note said ‘closed’. The website states in Dutch that it is ‘closed due to reorganization’. With both sale channels closed down, no money is coming in any more.
Other shop owners shocked but not surprised
We spoke to several other shop owners of gay and lesbian stores in Amsterdam, who were all shocked by the news. Some of them had tried to contact the store in the past weeks, but nobody picked up the phone at Vrolijk. Others had tried to work together with Vrolijk, but somehow the booksellers were not interested. Recently there were reports, that the central book exchange didn’t supply books any more due to arrears in payments.
Past troubles of Vrolijk
So people are not surprised the store has finally closed down. Vrolijk had already sprung back from bankruptcy a few years ago. But within the gay and lesbian (business) community in Amsterdam, it was well known that Vrolijk was not doing well. The competition of online booksellers is stiff for mortar and brick stores. Vrolijk on the other hand, despite its’ prime location in the city centre, seemed not be able to attract a loyal clientele big enough to keep the business going.
We regret that this seems to be the end of this institution in the local LGBTQ community. Hopefully that somehow can make another comeback.