Second-hand English-language bookstore opens in Tallinn Old Town

Rüütel & Matilda founders Ruta Nõmmela and Madis Mikkor.
Rüütel & Matilda founders Ruta Nõmmela and Madis Mikkor. Source: Riina Varol

A new English-Language second-hand bookstore has opened in Tallinn's Old Town.

The store, called Rüütel & Matilda, is the brainchild of two book lovers, Ruta Nõmmela and Madis Mikkor (pictured), and opened its doors last week.

"We wanted to start an independent secondhand bookshop with a really
good selection of both fiction and non-fiction books, as you would find in
Helsinki, Brussels or Berlin," Nõmmela and Mikkor said of the project.

"We looked long for a suitable space, and finally found it, in the heart of Tallinn's Old Town, on Rüütli street 4," they added.

While not the first second-hand bookstore to have opened in the heart of Tallinn's UNESCO-listed Old Town in recent years, Rüütel & Matilda is currently the only one of its kind in business.

The founders say it is run as an NGO, with the express aim of encouraging the art of reading, in the traditional way.

"We think that printed books and the art of reading are worth preserving, and that digitalization should not be heralded as a universal recipe for happiness," Nõmmela and Mikkor added.

The store's main collection includes offerings from fiction writers like Michel
Houellebecq, Richard Brautigan, Miranda July, Nancy Huston, Nicole Krauss
and David Szalay, while the non-fiction shelves have books by Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek ja Byung-Chul Han and others, while there is also a special shelf set aside for Estonian authors translated into English, plus a selection of brand new titles too.

The store also sells stationary and gifts, and overlooks the Niguliste Kirik (St. Nicholas Church).

Situated on Rüütli 4 in Tallinn, Rüütel & Matilda is open Wednesdays to Fridays (12 p.m to 6 p.m.), Saturdays (12 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sundays (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.).

Rüütel – in the genitive form Rüütli – is the Estonian word for a knight, incidentally.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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