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Grants (2)

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Illustrated Children's Books

In the case of high quality illustrated children’s books, foreign publishers can apply for financial assistance to cover a proportion of the production costs. The amount granted is based on the direct production costs. The maximum sum that may be awarded is € 2,800. If the translator has been…

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Translation grants

A foreign publisher can apply for financial support for the publication in translation of a Dutch work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, a graphic novel or children’s book. Translation grants may also be made available to literary magazines and for exclusively digital publications. This kind of…

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Programma's (4)

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Visitors' Programme

The Foundation for Dutch Literature annually invites a number of ‘guest editors’ to come to Amsterdam, in order to meet with publishers, authors and translators, and to get acquainted with Dutch literary life in general. Over the last few years some fifty foreign editors and publishers have…

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Translations Database

Our translations database provides information on more than 21,000 translated Dutch works, including both subsidized and non-subsidized literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s and YA). The database offers access to the large collection of foreign translations which form the core of…

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Finding, selecting and supporting translators from Dutch

The Dutch Foundation for Literature extends subsidies to foreign publishers for translations of Dutch literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books), provided the translator is on the Foundation’s List of Approved Translators.

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Residency for Writers in Amsterdam

In 2006 the Amsterdam Writer’s Residency opened its doors. The project was initiated by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. The foundation provides foreign writers with a residency in the historic and literary heart of Amsterdam, and in its academic centre, with access to the University of…

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News (92)

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Children's book donation to Paris

As part of a special cultural cooperation between Amsterdam and Paris, the Dutch Foundation for Literature makes a donation of children's and youth literature books to the Médiathèque Françoise Sagan in Paris. Thanks to fifteen publishers, a gift of no fewer than 92 books has been compiled, of…

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Chinese children's book prize for <em>The Mystery of Life</em>

Once a year, during a large-scale literary festival in Shenzhen, China, the ten best children's books of the year are chosen. Last Saturday it was announced that The Mystery of Life. How Nothing Became Everything (Shanghai 99) by Jan Paul Schutten and Floor Rieder is one of the lucky winners of the…

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Fellowship children's and youth literature

Ten English language publishers of children's and youth literature from five different countries (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand & Canada) will visit Amsterdam, upon invitation by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. From 21 to 23 January they will be introduced to the Dutch field of children's…

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A Picture Book Life

From 21-23 January the Dutch Foundation for Literature hosted a group of publishers and editors of children's literature from five different Anglophone countries to come and meet their Dutch colleagues and familiarise themselves with Dutch children's literature. Anna McFarlane (Allen & Unwin…

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German Prize for 'Gips'

Dutch children's author Anna Woltz and translator Andrea Kluitmann have been awarded the Katholischen Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis for Gips oder Wie ich an einem einzigen Tag die Welt reparierte (Plaster Cast or How I Fixed the World Within A Day). The prize of 5,000 euro goes to both author and…

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Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis

The youth novel Ich bin Vincent und ich habe keine Angst by Dutch author Enne Koens, German translator Andrea Kluitmann and illustrator Maartje Kuiper is nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis 2020. The jury selected this title and the other nominations out of 647 new German children's…

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Dumon Tak wins Theo Thijssen Prize

The prestigious, triennial Theo Thijssen Prize for children's and youth literature goes to Bibi Dumon Tak, the board of the P.C. Hooft Prize for Literature announced. She is the first author of literary non-fiction to be awarded this prize. She regularly received scholarships from the Dutch…

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Bette Westera wins Golden Poetry Medal

Bette Westera is the winner of the Golden Poetry Medal 2018, the biennial award for the best children's poetry collection written in Dutch. The prize was awarded to her for her collection Was de aarde vroeger plat? (Gottmer, 2017). Westera won the Golden Poetry Medal for the second time in a row…

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Children's Books from Holland

As you know, all the book fairs of spring 2020 have sadly had to be cancelled, which means we aren’t able to present our selection of the best Dutch children’s books from 2019 in person.
So we’ve thought of another way to tell you about these wonderful titles...

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Golden Slate Pencil goes to Bette Westera

The Golden Slate Pencil (Gouden Griffel) has been awarded to Bette Westera at the opening ceremony of the Dutch Children's Book Week. It is the first time since 20 years that this prestigious prize for children's literature goes to a poetry book. For Dead Simple (Doodgewoon, Gottmer Publishers)…

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Events (75)

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Fellowship children's and youth literature

Ten English language publishers of children's and youth literature from five different countries (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand & Canada) will visit Amsterdam, upon invitation by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. From 21 to 23 January they will be introduced to the Dutch field of children's…

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Shanghai International Children's Book Fair

The Dutch Foundation for Literature (Agnes Vogt) will attend the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair (CCBF), the only book fair in the Asia-pacific region dedicated to children’s book publishing only.

During the Book Fair works of Dutch illustrator Fiep Westendorp will be exhibited.…

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Tosca Menten to Shanghai

To promote the Chinese translation of her Dummie de Mummie (Dummy the Mummy)-series children's book author Tosca Menten will visit the International Children's Book Fair in Shanghai from November 14 until November 26. The book series will be publsihed by Shanghai Gaotan Culture.

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Evelien van Dort in Bonaire

Children's book writer Evelien van Dort will make a promotional trip to Bonaire from 2 to 12 November. During the Children's Book Week of the Caribbean Islands she will visit several schools, hold lectures for parents and teachers on the importance of reading, give a workshop to promote reading…

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Guus Kuijer in Italy

Between 4 and 10 October, the thirteenth edition of the Festival Tuttestorie will take place in Cagliari, on the Italian island Sardinia. The festival is one of the most important events of the year in Italy in the field of children's and youth literature and offers a wide international programme.…

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Evelien van Dort on Saint Eustatius

From the 28 of October onto the 12th of November 2016, Dutch children's books writer Evelien van Dort will be promoting the Papiamento and English translation of her picture book Fiona, the foal (Christofoor; 3+) on St. Eustatius.

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Beijing International Book Fair

At the Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) the Dutch Foundation for Literature will be represented by non-fiction specialist Mireille Berman and managing director Tiziano Perez. They will talk to thirty Chinese publishers. For this occasion the Chinese brochure New Titles from the Netherlands

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Imagine Children's Festival

The Imagine Children’s Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the UK. This year, several Dutch writers are part of the programme.

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Sjoerd Kuyper in Italy

Sjoerd Kuyper will be in Italy from 19 to 25 October where he will visit several cities in a promotional tour as part of #ioleggoperché, a large national initiative to promote reading among Italian children. At primary schools, in libraries and book stores, Kuyper will talk with children about his…

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Bologna Children’s Book Fair

From 1 to 4 April, the Italian city of Bologna is the center of children's and youth literature, during the 56th edition of the 'Fiera del libro per ragazzi', one of the largest and most prominent children's book fairs in the world. The Dutch Foundation for Literature will be present with a stand…

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Publications (23)

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2009)

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2011)

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2012)

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Dutch Classics

Dutch Classics is a large overview of modern classics in four genres: fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and poetry. The different sections of the brochure can be downloaded as a whole (see below) or separately:

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2008)

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2007)

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10 Children’s Classics from Holland

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2005)

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2006)

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12 Children’s Classics from Holland

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Kuijer & Co

Kuijer & Co is a publication of the Dutch Foundation for Literature in honour of Guus Kuijer, the winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2012, and new generations of children’s book authors that are indebted to his work. The titles listed in this brochure are a selection of the…

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2013)

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2018)

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New Titles from The Netherlands

荷兰⽂文学新作 ⼩小说、⾮非⼩小说和少年年⼉儿童⽂文学

2018 年年

Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Children’s Books

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2019)

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Reading for empathy

29 children’s books to build understanding

‘Every person is a story that is nothing like the story of anyone else. By reading, you get to find out what other people think and feel.’ Sjoerd Kuyper wrote these words in his latest novel for young people, Bizar (2019). And he is absolutely right.…

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2017)

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The Best Children's Books from Holland

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Children’s Books from Holland (Spring 2014)

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The Little Pharmacy of Children's Books

The little pharmacy of children’s books presents high quality children’s books in which themes as abuse, bullying, death and divorce play a role. The books have all been highly acclaimed for the beautiful, implicit way they touch on these difficult issues.

Text: Mirjam Noorduijn
Editors: Dick…

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Writers (113)

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Bette Westera

Bette Westera (b. 1958) is a versatile writer who creates modern fairytales, poems, picture books and realistic stories for children up to the age of around ten. After a short period as a primary-school teacher, she studied psychology. Bette now teaches people how to write stories for picture…

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Eveline Crone

Eveline Crone is professor of developmental and educational psychology at Leiden University’s Institute of Psychology. In 2005 she set up the Brain and Development Laboratory, which has a strong focus on the fundamental changes in brain function that underlie our ability to anticipate, produce…

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Felix Thijssen

Felix Thijssen (b. 1933) studied journalism in France and worked as a journalist in The Netherlands for fifteen years. In 1970 he moved to the country and decided to spend all his time writing. He has written children’s books, science fiction, and scenarios for movies and television series. In…

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Peter de Zwaan

Peter de Zwaan (b. 1944) started out as a journalist and a children’s author, writing the Bob Evers series. In 1992, he produced his first thriller. In his recent novel, De voeder (The Fodder, 2006), his new - but equally spineless–hero Meeks lives and works in America. In 2000, Peter de Zwaan…

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Jowi Schmitz

Jowi Schmitz (b. 1972) works as a journalist for de Volkskrant, has contributed to a number of short-story collections and had already written two books for adults before making her debut as a children’s writer with Ik heet Olivia en daar kan ik ook niks aan doen. The book was immediately very…

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Enne Koens

Enne Koens (b. 1974) made her debut in 2007 with the adult novel Tot alles gezegd is (Until Everything Is Said). In 2011, she wrote the YA novel Vogel (Bird). With her award-winning Sammie en opa (Sammy and Grandpa), she focused on younger readers for the first time. In her psychological novels for…

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Ineke Holtwijk

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Ineke Holtwijk was Latin America correspondent for over fifteen years for, among others, de Volkskrant and national television news. In 1995 she published Cannibals in Rio about life in Brazil, which won her the Golden Dog-Ear (a prize for the best-selling literary debut of…

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Erna Sassen

Erna Sassen (b. 1961) was an actor by profession, but she left the stage behind in 2005. Since then, she has written for children and young adults. She received a lot of praise for Dit is geen dagboek (This Is Not a Diary, 2010), the tragicomic account of a grieving teenager whose mother has…

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Harm de Jonge

Harm de Jonge (b. 1940) is an author who occupies a special place in Dutch children’s literature. He grew up during WWII and the post-war reconstruction as the son of a barge captain who transported coal. He went on to work as a Dutch teacher and taught and wrote about other writers for years.…

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Auke Hulst

Author and musician Auke Hulst (b. 1975) made his literary breakthrough in 2012 with his third, strongly autobiographical novel, Kinderen van het ruige land (Children of the Savage Land). He won the Harland Award two years in a row, for Slaap zacht, Johnny Idaho (Sleep Tight, Johnny Idaho, 2015)…

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Jan Terlouw

Jan Terlouw (b. 1931) made his debut as an author of children’s books in 1970. He was for many years the leader of D66, the left-wing liberal party. His social conscience can be seen in his books, in which he often considers current issues in his exciting, vivid writing style. Terlouw’s work…

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Aletta Jacobs

Aletta Jacobs (1854–1929) was born in Sappemeer in Groningen in 1854, the eighth of eleven children. Her mother was a housewife and her father a doctor. In 1878 she graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Amsterdam, after which she set up her own GP practice. She married Carel Victor…

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Lydia Rood

Lydia Rood (b. 1957) studied journalism and Spanish and began her career as a journalist and editor at de Volkskrant. She wrote her first children’s book while she was studying, but did not devote herself entirely to writing until 1991. She is best known as an author for young adults, but she…

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Stefan Buijsman

Stefan Buijsman (b. 1995) graduated with a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Leiden at 18 years of age, after which he left for Sweden to pursue a Ph.D. He completed the four-year doctorate program within a year and a half, making him one of the youngest Ph.D.s ever. At…

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Pieter Toussaint

Pieter Toussaint (b. 1965) debuted in 2005 with De brief (The Letter), a highly promising novel in which a Dutch couple go on a caravan vacation in Poland, in the company of their two children and a slightly loony uncle. The account is both humorous and penetrating. Toussaint deals with solidarity…

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Dieter Schubert

Ingrid Schubert and Dieter Schubert are married and work together. In 1977 they attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where the well-known Dutch illustrator Piet Klaasse inspired them to start illustrating children’s books. Their first title, There’s a Crocodile Under My Bed!, was…

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Marjet Huiberts

Marjet Huiberts (b. 1960) wrote for the theatre and children’s television for years before entering the literary world with her light-hearted rhyming picture books. One title from her popular Aadje Piraatje-series about a little pirate has been translated into Chinese, and her book Mijn zusje

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Ingrid Schubert

Ingrid Schubert and Dieter Schubert are married and work together. In 1977 they attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where the well-known Dutch illustrator Piet Klaasse inspired them to start illustrating children’s books. Their first title, There’s a Crocodile Under My Bed!, was…

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Bart Moeyaert

Bart Moeyaert (b. 1964) enjoys great renown as an author of children’s novels and as a poet. In 2006 and 2007 he was the city poet of Antwerp, where he currently lives. All his novels, Duet met valse noten (Duet with False Notes), 1983, Kus me (Kiss Me), 1991, Blote handen (Bare Hands), 1995…

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Henry Lloyd

Flin, or the Lost Love of a Unicorn is the most intriguing book of 2019, not only because of the content, but because of its creators, Henry Lloyd and Laurens Rawie. Fans of children’s books soon began to speculate that one well-known Dutch writer/illustrator was behind both pseudonyms. The…

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Marloes Morshuis

Marloes Morshuis (b. 1970) initially self-published her fairy-tale debut, Koken voor de keizer (Cooking for the Emperor), but it was spotted by Lemniscaat, one of the best-known children’s publishers in the Netherlands, and she joined their list of authors. Her second adventure story, Borealis

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Annejet van der Zijl

Annejet van Zijl (b. 1962) is one of the best known and most read literary non-fiction writers of the Netherlands. She is the author of the widely praised biography of popular Dutch children’s writer Annie M.G. Schmidt Anna (2002) which has sold over 100,000 copies. 2004 saw the publication of…

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Jan Cleijne

Jan Cleijne began his career in 2001 by illustrating children’s books and designing scenarios for Donald Duck magazine. He has since worked for a wide range of publish­ers, theatrical productions, media and museums. He is currently dividing his time between a cartoon-strip book about a man…

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Kees Beekmans

Kees Beekmans teaches Dutch at a black school in Amsterdam for children with special educational needs. He studied Dutch language and literature at the University of Amsterdam and worked as a journalist before taking up a career in teaching. One Hand Can't Claps is his first book. Beekmans' stories…

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Menno Lievers

Menno Lievers (1959) is a doctor and philosopher. He gained a PhD at Oxford for his thesis, Knowledge of Meaning. In 2003, Lievers published a philosophy book for children. He currently teaches philosophy at the University of Utrecht. In addition, Lievers is the editor of De Revisor literary…

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Books (275)

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The Towers of February

In 2004, Tonke Dragt won an award for the best children’s book of the previous five decades: De brief voor de koning (The Letter for the King, 1962). However, she received most fan mail for De torens van februari (The Towers of February, 1973), the incomparable sciencefiction story that according…

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Moshe and Reizele

Mosje en Reizele is made up of three parts. The first section is contemporary and is set in Tel Aviv in 1995. Moshe Schuster, the retired main character, has been asked to speak on the radio about the experiences he had fifty-five years earlier in the Warsaw orphanage run by the famous physician…

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100% Chemistry

Despite the astonishing success of the novel The Second Man, Doeschka Meijsing has resisted the temptation to repeat herself. This time she has written a small-scale chronicle of four generations of women in her family: 100% Chemistry, following the trail back from herself to her mother Ilna…

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Paravion

Hafid Bouazza’s Paravion is like an Arab fairy tale in its composition, poetic and exotic, but its theme is rooted in the current social reality of the emigrant. ‘Baba Balook and his wife had kept his upcoming journey secret from everyone, lest backbiting and catastrophe – the evil eye –…

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That Day in August

With a great eye for detail, children’s author Rindert Kromhout and illustrator Annemarie van Haeringen use words and pictures to tell a small but multi-faceted story about a devastating event in an Italian village. However, Die dag in augustus (That Day in August) is not just about how painfully…

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Miss Unicorn

They have previously worked together on a series of comic-book poems, a picture book about dinosaurs and the accessible ‘Sofie’ series. Now Edward van de Vendel and Floor de Goede have added to that list a book in the ‘Tijgerlezen’ series for beginning readers: Miss Unicorn.…

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Marijn and the Smugglers

This historical youth novel is out on its own where its approach to Dutch colonial history is concerned. The central theme is slave trading in the Caribbean. The three children of a Dutch dignitary lose both their parents in a hurricane in Curaçao, in 1681. Sixteen-year-old Marijn goes to work as…

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My Father

Toon Tellegen’s animal stories were originally published under Querido’s children’s book fund, but have now been compiled for an adult audience. An unusual, but quite understandable development. Tellegen is a self-willed writer who is difficult to place into any of the accepted literary…

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And His Name Is

Marjolijn van Heemstra has a conversation with her partner about what to name their child. She’s pregnant and, as the chapter title explains, still has 27 weeks to go. Her partner tells her that a name always fits in the end, like a leather shoe that takes on the shape of the foot. Marjolijn…

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Laura H.

In the summer of 2016, near to IS’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq, a young Dutch woman was found running through the desert, two small children in her arms. Her name was Laura, she was twenty years old and had escaped after a year’s captivity. She was crying. She wanted to go home.

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Odysseus, Teller of Tales

Odysseus and his adventures have been a source of inspiration for Dros many times. They feature in her children’s novel De reizen van de slimme man in which a twelve-year-old boy is investigating the mystery behind the old stories which he was once told; in the much-praised metric translation of…

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The Last Freedom

Arion’s 1973 first novel, Dubbelspel (Double Play), was a great success in the Netherlands and is still seen as a significant contribution to Dutch-language literature. Now, after sixteen years of literary silence, Arion has finally published a new novel. ‘I’m not interested in just writing a…

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The Gas and Electricity Man

Nicolette Smabers once said in an interview, that ‘story telling is an act of love’. This statement characterizes the way she writes. Withholding important information from children, thus denying them the right to the truth, and resulting in a lopsided view of reality, plays a role in all of…

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Black Snow

The mid-nineteenth century was peak time for the coal mines of Limburg in the southern Netherlands. Child labour was normal, compulsory education non-existent and the population was under the thumb of the Roman Catholic church, the large landowners, and industrial bosses. Against this bleak…

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No Ordinary Necklace

Janna’s mother is in hospital. Daddy goes to visit her twice daily but Janna isn’t allowed to go with him. Mummy looks very sick and sometimes she can’t stop crying and she doesn’t want to confront her little girl with these things. Janna feels shut out and decides to change the situation…

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Departure Time

A girl is stumbling across a vast expanse of sand in the pouring rain. She does not know who she is, what her name is or where she is going. Then she arrives at a hotel, run by a grey fox and a white rat, who are the same size as her. She decides to stay there and to find out who she is. But all…

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Maria’s Men

The protagonist of this novel, Maria van Aelst, really existed. We don’t know much about her, other than that she was married to Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the former Dutch East Indies between 1637 and 1645, that their marriage remained childless and that she died an extremely rich…

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When Faas Didn’t Come Home

Eleven-year-old Faas, a rich imagination, is a typical Martha Heesen figure. Exactly what goes on inside his head is unclear; the reader observes him through the eyes of his older brother Peet, who finds him a mystery too. This makes Faas all the more intriguing, and Heesen’s low-key narrative…

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Heir and Successor

‘I was born in Posen on 13 April 1944,’ writes Dutch journalist Alexander Münninghoff in Heir and Successor, his family’s story. This fact conceals a horrifying reality.

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Cheese

Ida de Ridder published her memoirs of her father Alfons de Ridder, the man who gained fame as a writer under the pseudonym Willem Elsschot (1882-1960). Oddly enough, it wasn’t until Ida went to secondary school that she found out that her father and the extraordinary Flemish writer were one and…

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Bigger than the Sky, Worse than the Sun

In this story, told through the voice of twelve-year-old Elmer Noorland, Daan Remmerts de Vries presents an incredibly strong psychological portrait of a troubled young man. Rarely has such a realistic, intriguing and unforgettable character as this Elmer appeared in a children’s book. Remmerts…

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Jim

Judith Eiselin, along with authors like Astrid Lindgren and Guus Kuijer, is one of that rare group of children’s writers who are capable of fully immersing themselves in the heads of their young characters. In Jim, a dynamic holiday adventure with an ingenious plot and a dash of mystery, that…

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We Are Our Brains

For many years the prevailing belief in the developed world has been that upbringing determines what a child will become. Everything that can go wrong in later life is therefore the fault of the parents and, more broadly, society. The same train of thought suggests that many illnesses can be blamed…

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Paths through Slavery

In Paths through Slavery, Karwan Fatah-Black definitively reorients our under­standing of slavery and emancipation in Suriname by drawing our attention to the edges of the bustling port city of Para­maribo during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The Confession

Marianne Philips was once a celebrated writer after whom an annual literary prize was named. Her recently republished work, The Confession, is a virtuoso naturalist novel about an ambitious woman with a fallible moral sense. After uprooting herself from her poor, religious family, she climbs her…

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Paradise Lost

In an interview last year Nelleke Noordervliet said that she had always felt an outsider since childhood. It is no accident that the tension between withdrawal and commitment has been a major constant in the work of this prominent Dutch novelist. In Uit het paradijs too the narrator struggles with…

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The Boy Who Found Happiness

De gelukvinder is a spectacular book for adolescent readers, in which Edward van de Vendel relates the eventful life of Afghan refugee Hamayun, a seventeen-year-old whose character is based on that of co-author Anoush Elman. Together with his family, Anoush fled from the Taliban, ending up in the…

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Patatje oorlog

The title of this book needs a little explanation. ‘Patatje oorlog’ is a typical Dutch dish, literally translated as ‘chip war’: chips with two or three sauces and chopped onions. Sounds innocent enough, but the two fourteen-year-old protagonists of this book actually tend to visit the…

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Time On Our Side

The clock was originally meant to help us organize work, transport and trade. ‘By far the most artificial of all our inventions,’ W.G. Sebald called it. Nowadays it rules our entire lives and this book is a fervent plea to free ourselves from the dictatorship of the clock and find a new…

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Winter Animals

Very few writers can do what Bibi Dumon Tak does: write outstanding literary non-fiction for children. Anyone who is at all sceptical should read Winterdieren, a book that will whisk you away to the most remote areas of our world: the North and South Poles, ‘the mother and father of the earth’.…

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The Mystery of Life

Jan Paul Schutten’s energetic account of the amazing story of evolution and the ­origins of life, with his precise yet light-hearted tone, is truly unique and a most admirable achievement. Het raadsel van alles wat leeft (The Mystery of Life) is the ultimate non-fiction book for children:…

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My Very Own Slave

In the days of slavery it could happen: you’re the daughter of a plantation owner and when you’re twelve you get your own slave. Slaaf Kindje Slaaf by Dolf Verroen begins with Maria’s birthday party. Little Koko is brought in on a silver plate and Maria’s aunt gives her a whip to go with…

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Dead Simple

Unique, unorthodox and unflinching: this describes children’s writer Bette Westera and illustrator Sylvia Weve’s approach to death in all its aspects. These poems, rhymes and songs range from poignant to light-hearted in tone and invite the reader to recite them out loud. Weve’s outstanding…

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Letters to Anyone and Everyone

Tellegen’s bizarre, moving and unfailingly poetic mental constructions generated a body of enthusiastic readers of all ages and won all major prizes for children’s literature. According to the index in Toon Tellegen’s collected animal stories Misschien wisten zij alles (Perhaps They Knew…

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The Happy Class

‘Don’t let anyone tell you being a schoolmaster isn’t an adventurous job…’ The speaker is Staal, a teacher at an Amsterdam school for poor children in the early twentieth century. There is little prestige attached to the post and his wife thinks he should look for a better job, but Staal…

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Sheep and Goat

No one led more a boring life than Sheep and Goat. Imagine: just the two of them in a field where nothing happens, the high point of their day being a bunch of hay or a dandelion. Who’d write a book about that? Marleen Westera, the most welcome Dutch newcomer of 2004! In her debut Schaap en Geit

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The Homecoming

With The Homecoming, a historical novel, Anna Enquist has changed course. Elizabeth Batts, the main character, is married to James Cook, the eighteenth-century explorer who during his voyages charted large parts of the world. During his third venture to Hawaii, he was murdered by the local populace…

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Longing

Longing, Alfred van Cleef’s first novel, tells the story of investigative journalist Albert Ossedrijver and his exciting search into the past of his family, who were killed in World War II. His quest leads him to another family, his girlfriend Esther’s family, members of whom had been in the…

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Leave a Message in the Sand

In the year when Bibi Dumon Tak’s non-fiction oeuvre won the Netherlands’ top prize for children’s literature, she also made her debut as a poet. That step is not as big as it might seem. The portraits of unusual animals in her non-fiction were practically poetry already, as a result of her…

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Vera

Through eighty tightly-orchestrated scenes, we follow the life of a woman who, at the end of the book – when we have arrived in the present – is about forty-five and sits alone outside a café overlooking the beach near The Hague. Vera Melchers-Dornseiffer is a former Dutch teacher, a wife and…

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The Noble Autist

Romana Vrede created a much-acclaimed theatre show about her son Charlie, who has autism and a learning disability: Who’s Afraid of Charlie Stevens? He is also the focal point of her debut novel, The Noble Autist.

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Cinderella: A Song About Trust

The Grimm Brothers’ story of Cinderella is cursory. Mother dies and Father takes a new wife. The story doesn’t tell us what life was like before Mother died. How Father can come under the spell of a woman who is so cruel to his daughter, why Father takes no notice of the humiliations Cinderella…

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How I Accidentally Wrote a Book

When 13-year-old Katinka tells people that her mum’s been dead for ten years, they get tears in their eyes, or put their arms around her. “What I don’t get is that other people don’t get that I’m completely used to it,” she says. But is that really true?

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Deesje

In Deesje by Joke van Leeuwen you roll along with the main character from one adventure into the next. And not only as far as the story is concerned; reading the words and looking at the pictures is one big surprise. In the work of the doubly talented Van Leeuwen, text and illustrations complement…

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Fatal Flaws

The belligerent motto of this novel is taken from Virginia Woolf: ‘This is an insignificant book, because it’s about the feelings of women in the living room.’ Agnes Stam is the protagonist of this enjoyable book, which begins with a suggestive chapter on the experiences and thoughts of a…

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Deep in the Forest of Nergena

It really doesn’t get much more cold-hearted than this: one Sunday evening in September, Uncle Pep comes to town on his motorbike to borrow one of his nieces. And who better than Frieda the pest? She has to go with him to the family’s remote house to entertain her lonely and maladjusted cousin…

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Margot and the Angels

What’s the use of parental good advice once the children have stopped listening? The advice says more about those who give it than those it’s meant for. Kristien Hemmerechts’s new novel Margot en de engelen starts five weeks after Margot, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Dave and Sofie, has…

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What a Circus!

The best chapter in Wat een circus! is the one about the naughty elephants, Caudy, Patra and Boni. Recently, Boni has been hoovering the knees of the audience with her trunk during performances, and this time she almost stole a camera. Now, the new elephant trainer gives them a strict talking-to.…

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My Name Is Olivia and I Can’t Do Anything About That

Some writers think that to make a captivating story you have to come up with an ingenious plot in an exotic setting. But sometimes an original girl in an unusual situation can be even better. Olivia is that kind of girl. Her sad and humorous diary Ik heet Olivia en daar kan ik ook niks aan doen

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The Gardens of Dorr

This book can be seen as the magnum opus in Biegel’s sizeable oeuvre. He presents a theme relevant to all times and all cultures – love conquers death – , convincing and often touching characters and an extraordinarily ingenious composition, plus an abundant wealth of language, humour and…

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Children on the Oregon trail

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Children on the Oregon trail

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Saving the children

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Star children

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Essays (5)

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God's Fingerprint

'If you're lucky, you sometimes come across an intellectual who knows where The Netherlands are when you're abroad,' wrote Gerrit Komrij in the late eighties of the previous century. 'Roughly, at least. Somewhere near Denmark. It's incredibly difficult to explain to such a person that The…

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Crime literature in the Low Countries - This is what we fear

Over the past two decades, crime literature in the Low Countries has come of age. Established crime authors are attracting a large readership with their often down-to-earth, realistic crime stories. Renowned literary authors are no longer averse to suspense and are delivering exciting novels that…

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There Is No Such Thing as Dutch Literature

When it comes to thematic art exhibitions, consistency of content is more important than the quality of the pictures and objects displayed. The same applies to a national literature when it is taken as the theme of a festival, a series of readings, or the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Why should I be…

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A Quilt of Many Colours

The children's book landscape of the Low Countries is particularly rich in variety. It resembles a patchwork quilt of tiny meadows and broad pastures, of busy sprawling cities and peaceful sleepy villages, of hilly regions and vast plains, of weed-covered ditches and turbulent streams. Upon closer…

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Soapbox

Hardly anyone could have failed to notice this book in recent months. An anthology in Arabic for child refugees. A lot of people smile when they see the book. Because it opens the other way around. And I think letters are funny too when you can’t read them. Jip and Janneke and Frog in Arabic…

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