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.

  • 17 maart 2017

10 Hidden Gems from Dutch Literature

10 Hidden Gems from Dutch Literature

The Dutch Foundation for Literature published a new edition of 10 Books from Holland. The foundation visited the London Book Fair with the spring edition of the brochure and presented ten titles from the Netherlands to foreign publishers. 

One of those titles is already published: the highly acclaimed The Evenings by Gerard Reve. The other selected books  are:

Herman Koch – The Ditch (De Greppel, 2016)

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer – Peachez. A Romance (Peachez, een romance, 2017)

David Pefko – There Come the Flies (Daar komen de vliegen, 2017)

Eva Meijer – The Bird Cottage (Het vogelhuis, 2016)

Christine Otten – We Had Love, We Had Weapons (We hadden liefde, we hadden wapens, 2016)

Hanna Bervoets – Ivanov (Ivanov, 2016)

Dola de Jong – The Tree and the Vine (De thuiswacht, 1954)

Aart Taminiau – Wool (Wol, 2016)

Frederik Baas – Diary From the River (Dagboek uit de rivier, 2017)

  • 28 februari 2017

Dick Bruna (1927-2017)

Dick Bruna (1927-2017)

On 16th February 2017 Dick Bruna died at the age of 89. He was the creator of 124 children’s books, his most famous creation being Nijntje, known as Miffy in English, the little white rabbit with the cross for a mouth, who continues to entertain young and old even 62 years after her creation. The Miffy books have been translated into 50 languages, including Latin. Read more about Bruna's work in this article from The Low Countries Yearbook.

  • 23 februari 2017

Beyoncé Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui at the Grammy Awards

Beyoncé Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui at the Grammy Awards

Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui played a role in creating the much applauded dance routine of American pop singer Beyoncé for the Grammy Awards on 12th February 2017. 

The two artists previously collaborated last year for a benefit concert on the streaming website Tidal. 

Beyoncé has previously taken inspiration from other European choreographers, leading to controversy over plagiarism for a video which was alleged to have used ideas from the work of Flemish choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is said to have been moved that she reached out to him to collaborate directly.

Read about Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in this article from The Low Countries Yearbook, watch Beyoncé's Grammy Performance here:


  • 1 februari 2017

Dutch Issue of Literary Magazine ‘Five Dials’

Dutch Issue of Literary Magazine ‘Five Dials’

February 1st sees the London launch of literary magazine Five Dials’ 41st issue, How Can This be Possible? A Survey of Dutch Writing, introducing English-language readers to authors not yet established in translation and showcasing the entertaining, moving and haunting voices of the finest young authors writing in Dutch today.

The Dutch issue, guest edited by author Philip Huff and designed by Visual Editions, includes work from Lynn Berger, Hanna Bervoets, Thijs de Boer, Thomas Heerma van Voss, Philip Huff, Dutch poet laureate Ester Naomi Perquin, Nina Polak, Mustafa Stitou, Maartje Wortel and Niña Weijers, with artwork from Iris Le Rütte and some graphic imaginings from Studio Joost Grootens. 

  • 3 januari 2017

The history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans

The history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans

The University Press of Mississippi recently published Jeroen Dewulf’s The Pinkster King and the King of Kongo: The Forgotten History of America’s Dutch-Owned Slaves.

The book recounts the history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans from seventeenth-century New Amsterdam to nineteenth-century New York and New Jersey, developing a new interpretation of the black folkloric tradition of Pinkster, adopted by the African slaves from their Dutch owners’ Pentecostal celebrations.

The Pinkster King won the Richard O. Collins Award in African Studies, the New Netherland Institute Hendricks Award, and the Clague and Carol Van Slyke Prize.

  • 21 december 2016

“If it had all been said before, then not by them” - Dutch Poet Menno Wigman translated

Can a contemporary poet be decadent and modern, urban at the same time? The Dutch poet Menno Wigman (1966) is. He is a poet “with the highest density of instant classics” and his poems seem indeed to have always existed when you read them for the first time, as translator David Colmer observes in his preface to the (bilingual) anthology he made of Wigman.

In this blogpost, you can read a poem by Wigman. You will also find an article from the yearbook about this dandy of disillusion's work.

  • 13 december 2016

The Transformation of the Surinamese Insects

In 1699, along with her daughter, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), travelled to Suriname to carry out research into the reproduction and development of insects. She brought back sixty magnificent illustrations showing exotic insects and plants.

She published an amazing book, showing these illustrations with descriptions, in 1705. This book, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (The Transformation of the Surinamese insects), is now regarded as the product of both a highly gifted artist and an exceptional empirical scientist, one of the first to demolish the prevailing notion of the spontaneous generation of insects from mud.

Lannoo publishers made an awesome facsimile of this book (54 x 36 cm). The reissue is the same size as the original and is enriched with an illustrated introduction about the life, work and significance of Merian.

  • 8 december 2016

A Conference on ‘European Angst’ in Brussels

In the past two days, the Goethe Institut in Brussels, together with the Czech Centre, Alliance française, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Polish Institute, organised European Angst, a conference on Populism, Extremism and Euroscepticism in contemporary European societies. Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere had attended this conference, initiated by BOZAR, and reports here.