About us


February 24 russia has started full-scale invasion of the independent country - Ukraine. Please support Ukraine, which is fighting for freedom for the whole Europe, by donating to Ukrainian Army: Come Back Alive Foundation


Mayak is a small indie bookshop with a mission. Mayak have been working with books in Russian, Ukrainian and Belarus languages, but after Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine 24.02.22 we stopped working with Russia/Belarus, focusing on the Ukrainian language - to help temporarily displaced Ukrainians in Netherlands feel better by providing books in Ukrainian, and to show the world that Ukraine is an independent country with its own language and its own strong culture.

Now we understand that we have to say sorry for blurring the borders by mixing these three languages on one shelf. Yet we have a collection of books in these languages in the OBA Library.

The most important thing for Mayak is identity. Everyone who is moving to another country, no matter what the reason is, questioning their identity. We look around and discover new and at the same time understand who we are. Language and books are the ways to remember and even rediscover yourself.

In the case of Russia it is more complicated. In fact, there are more than 190 unique ethnic minorities, each with their own language and culture, on and around the territory which is now called Russia. These peoples do not have the opportunity to speak for themselves, their cultures and languages are dying. Russia is doing everything to these little nations to make them forget the history, and erasing the memory.
There are very few books in native languages. Almost all books are published in Moscow and St. Petersburg and are in Russian language.

We consider it a mistake to try to spread information about this part of the world through the Russian language, because as we see, the language does not go by itself, the contexts and narratives of Russia go together with the language. And they do not recognise territorial boundaries, “everything where the Russian language is - is ours”, they say.

During the time when Ukraine was occupied by Russian Empire and Soviet Union Ukrainian language was repeatedly banned (Valuev Circular and Ems Ukaz to name a few), the printing of books in Ukrainian was banned and Ukrainian grammar has been changed to be similar to Russian. And hundreds of Ukrainian intellectuals were killed (Executed Renaissance is one example).

That is why you can still meet Ukrainians who speak Russian. One of the narratives that Russians use to justify the invasion - protection of the Russian-speaking population. That is why Ukraine is now protecting not only its border area, but also its culture and language. Good example is Belarus: there are very few Belarusians who use their language, and we see what has happened to their country - in fact, it became a part of Russia. We did collect a few books in Belarusian in the hope of a revival.

Perhaps we will be able to find books in the languages of the ethnic minorities: Tatar, Chechen, Bashkir, Ingush, Chuvash, Balkar, Erzya, Yakut, Komi and many more. Then we will add them to the collection in Library.

Now we are focused on Ukrainian books. We want not only to provide books for Ukrainians, but we want to show you that Ukraine is an independent country, with its own history, its own culture. Country which was invisible to many in Europe, although it is located in the centre of Europe. We are working on a collection of Ukrainian authors and books about Ukraine in English and Dutch so you can discover them and understand.

Here you can find books about Ukraine or written by Ukrainian authors:


Please, support Ukraine and Ukrainian army, they pay with their lives not only for their own freedom, but also for the freedom of the whole Europe.

Thank you.
Olena from Mayak.