Writer in residence program 2014

Philipp Blom as WiR in Amsterdam

11 Aug-18 September 2014

The German writer Philipp Blom, who lives in Vienna, will live and work in Amsterdam as a writer-in-residence from August 11th until September 18th at the invitation of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

Philipp Blom (1970) is an historian, novelist, journalist and translator. He studied in Vienna and Oxford and wrote several historical books: To Have and to Hold (2002) and Encyclopédie (2004). Blom writes for many British and German newspapers and magazines. Dutch translations of The Vertigo Years (2009) and A Wicked Company (2010) were published by De Bezige Bij; both books sold more than 10.000 copies. In 2012 Blom delivered the prestiguous Van der Leeuw-lecture in Groningen.

Alleen de wolken (Breaking Point), a panoramic history of Europe during the interbellum, will be published by De Bezige Bij on August 21st. The book-presentation will take place in the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam on September 3rd. Blom will also open the cultural-academic season of SPUI25 delivering the 8th Spui25-lecture, and will lecture in Leiden and Antwerp as well.

After the success of The Vertigo Years (Der taumelnde Kontinent), in which Blom describes the first fourteen years of the 20th century, he now focusses on the interbellum. The First World War completely changed the world. Due to the shock of the unprecedented destruction of that war, the population seemed to have lost all certainties, beliefs and orientation. This trauma gave rise to ideologies such as communism and fascism.

Blom functions as a contemporary in his book, he describes the 21 years of the interbellum the way that they were experienced in all their complexity and contradiction. He focusses on a particular year and then uses a specific event as the base of his story. Just like he did in The Vertigo Years, Blom incorporates literature and art and brings the past to life in an extraordinary way.

Lectures by Philipp Blom during his residency:

  • Book presentation of Alleen de wolken – Wednesday September 3rd at 20.00 o clock at the Goethe Instituut, Herengracht 470 in Amsterdam. Maarten Asscher will interview Philipp Blom. Please make your reservation via the website of the Goethe Institute. The interview will be conducted in Dutch!
  • Thursday September 4th: lecture at the Studium Generale at the University of Leiden, after a showing of The Vertigo Years.
  • Sunday September 14th: performance during the Eilandfestival in Antwerp.
  • Friday September 26th: 8th Spui25-lecture, Aula Oude Lutherse kerk, Singel 411 in Amsterdam at 20.00 o’clock. Blom will lecture about the failing of Enlightment thinking in Western civilization and how to leave this ‘nightmare of reason’ behind us. Afterwards he will be interviewed by Pieter van den Blink. The evening will be Dutch spoken. Admission is free, but please make your reservation through the website of Spui25.

Phillipp Blom (in English) on his book At Breaking Point @ the Dutch website Whyilovethisbook – “It was a fascinating time for experiments, terrible political experiments, wonderful cultural experiments. And I tried to capture them.”

Website of Philipp Blom:

Orli Austen


Orli Austen

Residency program

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