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Dutch emigrants and expatriates know only too well that sourcing Dutch literature in their native language is virtually impossible outside of the Netherlands. Whilst they can sometimes locate a handful of dusty Dutch books in the second hand bookstores of some of the most popular Dutch holiday destinations, they must usually visit a Dutch online bookstore or Dutch supermarket such as Holland at Home in order to find genuine Dutch literary gems. Fortunately, some of the most celebrated Dutch works have also been translated into English (and indeed several other foreign languages) and many of these are now available in bookstores around the world.
It will probably come as no surprise that the famous ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ is one of the most widely read Dutch books. As the fascinating diary has been translated into more than 60 different languages including Thai (‘Khan thyg khong Enn Frengk’) and Chinese (‘Shaonü Riji / Anni Riji’), it’s highly likely that you’ll stumble across a copy in your local bookstore.
The well-known Dutch classic ‘Max Havelaar’ by Multatuli is also incredibly popular abroad – it’s published in English under the title of ‘Max Havelaar: Or, the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company’. If you prefer a lighter read, then the famous ‘Kaas’ (‘Cheese’ in English) by William Elsschot is an excellent choice. Or, for those who enjoy plenty of visual stimulation, then the ‘De Kabouter’ (‘Gnomes’ in English) written by Will Huygen and beautifully illustrated by Rien Poortvliet is a great option.
In addition to Dutch literature, Dutch children’s books are also much in demand in many foreign countries. The best-loved include the delightful Dutch children’s stories by Annie M. G. Schmidt and the adventures of the fictional bunny rabbit, ‘Miffy’, created by Dick Bruna. Miffy (‘Nientje’ in Dutch) has been translated into more than 40 different languages and has sold over 85 million copies worldwide. To find out more about Dutch children’s books read the article entitled top 10 most translated Dutch children’s books.
When searching for translated versions of Dutch books, it’s best to visit the World Literature section of the larger bookstores in your local town or alternatively, to shop online. And don’t forget that even if your favourite Dutch book is not currently held in stock, many good bookstores will be only too happy to order it for you.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?