A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

My pick on Dutch Literature

The beauty of living in a different country consists in experiencing a new culture, in getting acquainted with new habits and, if you are a bookworm, also in getting to know and appreciate a new literature! Of course, language could be a barrier: reading books in translation will never be comparable to reading them in the original. But do not worry too much about that, you will get to that point. For, even if you do not know Dutch well enough to read an entire novel, there are plenty of translations to enjoy Dutch literature in English! I am not an expert of course and I have read only few of the titles I will mention here but I will provide you with my own pick on Dutch literature. 

Bitter Ball Times– R. Giphart

The title of this short story is quite stereotypical but the content of the book is not. Giphart will make you board on the first transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to New York and will tell you a story which will teleport you back in time. The story starts in Dutch and gradually switches to English in the course of the flight. Giphart is not my cup of tea but this reading is quite enjoyable!

You can read it online for free here!


The Tea Lords-H. Haasse

I am currently reading this book and it seems very promising but a little bit heavier than the previous one. Haasse is one of the most important Dutch authors of the past century and this book deals with some key topics in the aftermath of the Second World War. It is set in Indonesia and it has much to tell about the colonial relationship with the Netherlands. I cannot tell you more because I am still reading it  but I definitely feel like suggesting it! If you want a proper review, take a look at this article by the Guardian. 

You can purchase this book on Amazon or request it at the University Library.






Parents Worry- G.Reve 

Last but not least, another big name of Dutch Literature. This book is definitely in my bucket list because it deals with key topics like sexuality, religion and racism. Reve is considered quite of a controversial author and he deals with hot topics in most of his books. Exactly for this reason I am looking so forward to read his books and make up my own opinion!

You can purchase this book on Amazon or request it at the University Library.





I hope this brief selection will help you make a start with Dutch Literature, even if in translation. If you are interested in some articles about Dutch Literature in general, I would definitely suggest you to read Dutch Literature Lost to English Translation  and The Three Giants of Dutch Literature: Hermans, Reve and Mulisch. 

And, of course, let me know what is your favourite Dutch novel!

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This entry was posted on June 4, 2019 by in Alessandra and tagged , , , .

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