The Netherlands Country of honour BIBF 2011
The Netherlands is at this year’s Beijing International Book Fair. More than 30 Dutch novelists, poets, authors of non-fiction, writers of children’s books, comic-strip artists, designers and musicians will visit the Book Fair this year. They will come to Beijing to meet their Chinese publishers and readers, and to perform at the Fair and at various venues in the city.
Although the Netherlands is the guest of honour this year, we have always felt most welcome in China. In the past few years, a great many Dutch titles have been translated into Chinese. Vice versa, attention for China and Chinese literature is growing in the Netherlands. The fact that we can present ourselves as the host country this year is largely due to the good relations that have been built up in recent times. The numerous contacts have made us aware of what is important, valuable and beautiful in the view of Chinese people.
The programme we present is rich and diverse, and embraces disciplines such as literature (which is self-evident), visual art, design, architecture and comic strips. A major part of the authors’ programme will take place in the auditorium of the Dutch Pavilion. On Fair days, a continuous programme of book presentations, discussions, workshops, meetings with school classes, interviews and lectures will take place. Encounters between Dutch and Chinese writers will form a central feature of the programme. All the Dutch authors attending have recently had work translated into Chinese.
Dutch authors will also appear outside the confines of the Book Fair. For this purpose, co-operation has been sought with a number of the professional, vibrant platforms that Beijing has in abundance: the NCPA, the Bookworm, Sanlian Bookstore, Trainspotting, Tsinghua and Beijing Normal Universities. From 1 to 4 September, the dynamic Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) will function as the décor for Café Amsterdam. This ‘reconstructed’ bar will host a series of meetings in which a number of authors discuss various topics with one another, such as the importance of curiosity, Holland on first acquaintance, urban planning, architecture, photography and the artwork as a stimulus to writing. It will have the ambience of a traditional Amsterdam bar - due to the décor and the good music and striking ‘draw clips’ of Sonja van Hamel and her band. More information on the programme at and outside the Book Fair is provided in this brochure [elsewhere on the website].
Simultaneously with the Fair in Beijing, we shall also devote attention to Chinese literature at one of the most important literary events in the Netherlands, Manuscripta. In this context, Chinese writers will be invited to the Netherlands and a part of our programme in Beijing will also be shown live in the Netherlands.
In the remarkable Dutch Pavilion at the Fair, we shall also proudly present exhibitions of, among other things, the letters of Van Gogh, whose collected correspondence is being translated integrally into Chinese, and of the work of icons of Dutch children’s literature such as Dick Bruna, Fiep Westendorp and Max Velthuijs. Because the Netherlands and China have been arguing for centuries about the origins of printing, we shall also present the exhibition Best-Produced Books. Finally, we devote small-scale expositions to Dutch comic-strip artists, to books on architecture and design and to one of the Netherlands’ most charismatic diplomats Robert van Gulik, connoisseur of Chinese language and literature, writer of all kinds of books on Chinese history and morality and, of course, author of the Judge Dee detective stories.
In conjunction with the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, a book has been produced in which each of the 22 authors attending this Book Fair covers a seventeenth-century painting in the renowned collection of the Rijksmuseum.
Our contribution to the Beijing Book Fair is summarized in our slogan ‘Open landscape - open book’. We would like to add ‘Open dialogue’ to this. In our programmes, at the Fair and in the city, we shall bring together Chinese and Dutch writers to discuss the role of writers and artists in society, and the significance that literary texts can have.
We wish you much pleasure in your acquaintance with one of the liveliest, multi-faceted and open styles of literature that Europe currently has to offer.