Many literary magazines in the Netherlands are struggling but recent initiative Das Magazin is flourishing on innovative reader events and crowdfunding. Having organised a range of successful events in the Netherlands and Flanders, they are now bringing a festival to London on 22 November 2015.
The Low Countries
Deze Engelstalige blog, gelinkt aan het jaarboek The Low Countries, brengt nieuws over taal, cultuur en maatschappij in de Lage Landen voor een breed buitenlands publiek.
Francine Houben, director of Dutch architect firm Mecanoo, has been asked to lead the grand-scale renovation of New York Public Library (NYPL) on Fifth Avenue in a project set to cost 266 million euros. The classic building in the centre of Manhattan is visited annually by millions of tourists and urgently needs renovating, with talks under way for more than a decade.
Houben and her firm Mecanoo have been chosen because of their award-winning record around the world and accessible designs. The selection committee will certainly have been impressed by Houben’s Library of Birmingham, which she describes as a ‘people’s palace’. Visitor numbers have doubled since the opening in 2013.
Dutch curator, writer and collector Els Barents has won the Royal Photographic Society’s Colin Ford Award for curators. Barents is the former director of the photography museum Huis Marseille in Amsterdam.
She has paved the way for a flourishing photo culture in The Netherlands, acquiring and exhibiting contemporary photographs for a range of institutions.
Last summer, an intern from Princeton, Zoe Perot,, worked at Ons Erfdeel vzw, publisher of The Low Countries Yearbook. In this blog, she describes her two weeks with us. "This was followed by what I was to learn was a rather ‘Belgian’ lunch."
Flemish curator and painter Luc Tuymans is to put on an exhibition of Belgian art by various abstract artists at London’s Parasol Unit.
The exhibition entitled The Gap: Selected Abstract Art from Belgium brings together forty works from two generations of twentieth-century and contemporary Belgian artists, including painting, sculpture and installation.
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde focuses on projects with a socially responsible, eco-friendly dimension, art which is engaged although not necessarily utopian per se. An example is his smog-free park.
Every evening, as the clock strikes eight, the traffic around Ypres’ Menin Gate comes to a stillstand and buglers pay homage to all soldiers of the British Empire who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient in World War I. The very first Last Post was organised in 1928. The ceremony was suspended during the German occupation of Ypres from May 1940 to September 1944, but on Thursday 9 July it will be observed for the 30,000th time.
Today we remember Waterloo, “where Napoleon did surrender” to quote Abba.
In the 23rd issue of The Low Countries Yearbook you can read all about how the British have got away with expropriating Waterloo unpunished for 200 years and how small neutral countries like Belgium and the Netherlands simply do not have great and glorious histories.
Find that remarkable article here.
On 8 June 2015 Anglo-Dutch writer, academic and member of the TLC advisory committee Ian Buruma was awarded the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. He received the prize for Theater of Cruelty, an essay on World War II addressing the question of “what makes the human species behave atrociously”.
Read Buruma's essay on the Holocaust from the 2005 issue of The Low Countries Yearbook here.
A woman is standing in the emptiness of a landscape in the rain – rain that keeps changing in intensity.
That’s how Forbidden Territory. A Woman in No Man’s Land starts. It is a monologue, written by the Flemish author Erwin Mortier and translated by David Colmer.
The monologue is inspired by the writings of Mary Borden, Helena Zenna Smith, Irene Rathbone and many other women, witnesses of the Great War. They ended up as war volunteers or nurses and met with wounded bodies and torn limbs, the utter disintegration of humanity by war.