Guest of Honor, the Netherlands

The literature of the Netherlands is vibrant, diverse and free of taboos. For many of you, our country, located somewhere in the north, might be an unknown region. We are, however, very close by.

Everyone knows the masterpieces of Rembrandt, van Gogh, or Vermeer. Erasmus and Spinoza lived in the Netherlands for much of their lives. The Diary of Anne Frank is world-famous. But which Dutch people exactly are well-known today?

As either professionals or avid readers, you will probably know the names of some of our contemporary authors: Cees Nooteboom, Anna Enquist, Rutger Bregman or Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. There are many other Dutch writers who know how to tell beautiful stories, who are up to date with the goings-on of the world, who have curious and open minds, who are witty and full of irony and who have a lot to tell the Swiss reader.

 

Dutch literature has not one face, but many. In Camus’ “The Fall”, one of the characters says “Holland is a dream”— and this dream is open to the world, now more than ever. In the works of the great post-war writers W.F. Hermans and Harry Mulisch, the shadow of war always loomed near. Hella S. Haasse, following in the footsteps of Multatuli, kept the spectre of colonialism ever-present in her novels, a theme that has also been present in works by several contemporary authors.

 

The Netherlands has great psychological novels written by authors such as Anna Enquist, great travel books written by writers such as Cees Nooteboom and Adriaan van Dis, and we also have writers of great American-style epic novels such as Peter Buwalda with his trilogy and the novels of Tommy Wieringa, a born storyteller. Then there is the young cosmopolitan generation of Niña Weijers, Hanna Bervoets, and Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, all interested in the contemporary world and who often explore the theme of identity and its many pitfalls. Our non-fiction literary authors (Jan Brokken, Frank Westerman, Eva Meijer) look beyond borders and time, as does the Flemish-speaking novelist and poet Stefan Hertmans.

 

The Nederlands letterenfonds (Dutch Foundation for Literature) is delighted to be able to present some of our writers at the festival Le livre sur les quais in Morges in September. They will be interviewed, participate in debates, and engage in conversations. They will talk and exchange ideas with the public on the lakeside and the beautiful boulevard in Morges.

 

Nederlands Letterenfonds Dutch Foundation for Literature

 

The Nederlands letterenfonds (Dutch Foundation for Literature) promotes the quality and diversity of literature through grants and subsidies to authors, translators, publishers, and festivals. It contributes to the dissemination and promotion of Dutch-language literature on both a national and an international level. The Nederlands letterenfonds therefore contributes to the creation of a rich and diverse climate in which important, high-quality literature can be created and then successfully circulated abroad.

 

The Nederlands letterenfonds (Dutch Foundation for Literature) organises many large-scale events abroad with major Dutch writers, in cooperation with foreign literary institutions, publishers, and literary festivals. In 2016, for example, the Netherlands and Flanders were invited to the Frankfurter Buchmesse under the theme “This is what we share - Dies ist, was wir teilen”. Since 2018, with its major campaign “Les phares du Nord”, the Nederlands letterenfonds has placed a particular focus on the French book market. More than 100 authors have participated in 20 different festivals throughout France. Since 2019, Dutch literature has also been more widely disseminated in the British market through the New Dutch Writing campaign.