The book should have been back on the shelf on 5 March 1981.

Librarians in the Dutch city of Groesbeek thought a man was joking when he said he wanted to return a book that he borrowed nearly 40 years ago.

The book Terug naar Oegstgeest by Jan Wolkers was discovered in the man's attic after 39 years, thirteen weeks and five days. It should have been returned on 5 March 1981.

In theory, the library would have to charge the man €1,530.75, but due to the book's age it's not registered in the system. "Of course he doesn't have to pay," said an employee. "We'd usually charge €5 per late book."

The library is now searching for the individual who returned the book. Not to pay the fine, but to find out what took him so long. The story quickly became viral and was shared throughout the Netherlands by national media.