Tag: Dutch

Do You Know About Boekenweek, the Bookworm’s Dream Festival?

Do you know about Boekenweek?


Image Via World Editions.org


Held annually in March since 1932, Boekenweek (Book Week) is an event in the Netherlands dedicated to literature where writers and publishers gather across the country for book signing sessions, literary festivals, and debates.

Traditionally, a well-known Dutch author writes a special novel called a Boekenweekgeschenk (book week gift) that is given out for free to people who buy books during the festivities or signs up to a library.


Salman Rushdie's 'Woede'

Image Via Goodreads


Fun fact: In 2001, the Boekenweekgeschenk was Salman Rushdie’s Fury, which was translated into Dutch and given the title Woede.


'New Germans, New Dutch: Literary Interventions' Cover

Image Via Walmart

You can read all about this special event in New Germans, New Dutch: Literary Interventions, except for this bit of information that only happened last March!


Boekenweek on the train!

Image Via The Independent

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch state railway company, has long been a sponsor of the annual festivities, organizing book readings and signings by top authors on its trains. Last March they went…

...to infinity and...

Image Via Amazon

….when they allowed this year’s Boekenweekgeschenk to be presented instead of a rail ticket on every train in the country on the Sunday of book week.

The state rail company said in a statement: “NS has a warm heart for reading, because reading is one of the favourite ways to spend time on the train.”


Jan Siebelink's 'Jas Van Belofte'

Image Via Marque Pages.com

Jan Siebelink, whose Jas Van Belofte was picked this year as Boekenweekgeschenk, was ecstatic. He told The Independent that it was “…good to see all those happily surprised faces of travelers,” and gave this personal anecdote:

“We are talking about everything, including their journey. A traveller just said he was on his way to Velp, my birthplace. Often there are also children and I naturally hope that they start reading. That’s what we do it for.”



Featured Image Via Volkskrant

Belgium Monks Make Beer History with Recipe from Lost 1700s Book!

According to The Guardian, Father Karel Stautemas, “in the presence of the town’s mayor and 120 journalists and enthusiasts,” made a startling announcement.


The 'Aliens' Meme

Image Via Cactus Hugs

The abbey, which Reuters notes has a phoenix emblem ‘with the Latin motto ‘Ardet nec consumitur’, meaning ‘Burned but not destroyed’,” was burned down in 1798 by French secular revolutionaries. As a result, the 12th century recipe was thought to be lost, but turns out the recipe, along with 300 others books, had been smuggled out and hidden within ancient archives.

Thus, Father Karel Stautemas told the awaiting crowd that, after “four years of research into the methods of monks that brewed beer in the Norbertine monastery” they had recreated the beer.



Father Karel Stautemas, subprior of Grimbergen Abbey, sips a glass of the rediscovered medieval beer in front of a stained-glass window symbolically depicting the phoenix

Image Via The Daily Mail

It seems that after rediscovering the recipes, the Monks called in some volunteers to read the old Latin and old Dutch, who revealed that the newly-discovered recipe had “details about the original monks’ brewing methods, specifically their use of hops rather than fermented herbs, which put the monks ahead of many of their contemporaries”.

The monks got to work. They did their best to keep the brewing as authentic as possible, such as using “wooden barrels and exploitation of particular local soil”, but changes had to be made. The Monks used only a few selected methods for brewing from the old manuscripts given that, as Master brewer Marc-Antoine Sochon explained to Daily Mail, “[i]n those times, regular beer was a bit tasteless, it was like liquid bread’”.

Who wants to drink liquid bread except for the person sitting to your left, dear reader?

Plus, changes keep in line with tradition, according to Father Stautemas, who said that that the monks of ancient times “kept on innovating” and thus “changed their recipe every ten years”.


2016, Abbot Erik de Sutter of Belgium's Grimbergen Abbey tastes a beer

Image Via UK Reuters

And this wasn’t their first rodeo. In 1950s the Order of Canons Regular of Premontre, located at Grimbergen Abbey in Belgium, were approached by local brewer Maes. Since then, the abbey has famously created and worked with commercial brewers to “to use the Grimbergen name and emblem on its ‘abbey beer’.”

The ale won’t be available for mass consumption until the late 2020s, but maybe that’s a good thing. The Daily Mail warns us to “be careful” because “the new ancient brew – at 10.8 per cent alcohol content it’s likely to blow your cassock off.”

Personally, I’d take my chances


Featured Image Via The Guardian