- In Europe - Prof. Zhang Ning in conversation with Geert Mak
Date: Wed 31 August Time: 03.30 pm Venue: BIBF
- Café Amsterdam II: Eberhard van der Laan in conversation with Geert Mak
Date: Fri 2 September Time: 7:00 pm Venue: le Café, UCCA
- Café Amsterdam III: ‘The photo book as successful medium’
Date: Sat 3 September Time: 4:00 pm Venue: la Suite, UCCA
- In Europe - A lecture by Geert Mak
Date: Sun 4 September Time: 07.00 pm Venue: Beijing Normal University
Life and work
Geert Mak (b. Vlaardingen) is one of the Netherlands’ most popular writers and all his books become huge bestsellers: De engel van Amsterdam (The Angel of Amsterdam, 1992), Een kleine geschiedenis van Amsterdam (Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City, 1994), Hoe God verdween uit Jorwerd (Jorwerd: The Death of the Village in Late Twentieth-Century Europe, 1996), De eeuw van mijn vader (My Father’s Century, 1999) and In Europa (2004). His latest book is De brug (The Bridge, 2007), about the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. In 2008 the ‘Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung’ was conferred upon Geert Mak.
Een kleine geschiedenis van Amsterdam
This book is intended for visitors, tourists and native Amsterdammers who want to learn more about the city’s roots, without having to dive into comprehensive historical tomes. Its compactness alone makes Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City unique. The book is structured around specific events, people and, sometimes, houses. The author uses these particulars to tell a larger story and give a broader perspective. Mak set off on foot through Amsterdam, his own city. As he walked he observed and took notes, collecting the stories that ‘are lying on your own doorstep’ - for those who want to see and hear them.
For Geert Mak the story of Amsterdam starts in the marshes where the city was built. Amsterdam’s struggle to rise up out of these marshes gave birth to an administrative tradition which was to determine Dutch politics for centuries.
From events in the early Middle Ages (revolts, famine, the plague) Mak leads us through the expansion of trade and sea-faring in the seventeenth century, the French Revolution, the rise of the new middle class in the nineteenth century, and the persecution of the Jews in World War II, before arriving at the rapid changes that took place in the 1950s and 1960s. For each event, Mak finds a forgotten page from history or an little-known historical figure who brings the past to life. This is Mak’s greatest achievement more than just a historian, he proves himself to be a talented story-teller.
Translation in Chinese
- Mak, Geert. [Amusitedan: Yizuo chengshi de xiaozhuan] Chinese / translated from English by Xiaoyong CHEN - Xiaohong ZHANG. Guangzhou: Flower City Publishing House, 2007. Published with support from the Literair Productiefonds. ISBN: 9787536050877.
- Mak, Geert. [(In Europa)] Chinese / translated from English. Guangzhou: Flower City Publishing House, in preparation since 2009.