Flanders, the Netherlands guest of honour at Frankfurt Book Fair


Flanders is teaming up with the Netherlands at the world’s largest book fair in 2016

Joint venture will also showcase theatre and music

Flanders and the Netherlands together will be the guest of honour at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair in Europe, Flemish culture minister Joke Schauvliege has announced. The minister, together with her Dutch colleague Jet Bussemaker, signed the contract in Brussels yesterday with Jürgen Boos, director of the fair.

The Dutch and Flemish have been working on a co-operation at the fair for some years. The trade fair attracts about 7,000 publishers and multimedia companies from nearly 100 countries, which negotiate international publishing rights and fees. The two days that are open to the public count more than 100,000 visitors.

Flanders and the Netherlands were also guest country in 1993, when the fair featured authors such as Harry Mulisch, Cees Nooteboom and WF Hermans. But things have changed since those days, said Boos. “In 1993, it was all about print, print, print,” he said. “Now it’s more about modern technology, media convergence, games and education.”

The guest country has the advantage of its own pavilion at the event, where it can present its literature but also promote itself in a variety of ways, including as a tourist destination. The joint Flemish-Dutch contribution will involve not only books but theatre, dance and music, Schauvliege said. “Together we organised football’s European Championship. Let us now make something of the World Cup for books.”

The joint budget for the event is €6 million, including €2.4 million each from the Dutch and Flemish governments, with the rest coming from private sources. 

Photo by Boris Roessler/epa/Corbis