Tuesday 20 August 2019

This page is sponsored by the American Book Center and covers books about the Netherlands and expat life plus translations of Dutch-language literature and Dutch children’s books. If you are bookworm, why not sign up for ABC events?

A modern Dutch classic: The Dinner

A modern Dutch classic: The Dinner

By Herman Koch

A classic of modern Dutch literature, and a best seller at both home and in the US, The Dinner by Herman Koch explores what families will do to protect their own. The novel, published in English in 2012, follows four main characters during a single summer evening’s dinner. A former history teacher, Paul and his wife, Claire meet Paul’s brother, politician Serge and his wife Babette for a meal. The restaurant in the book is not specified but it is... More >


Essential reading about Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City

Essential reading about Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City

Geert Mak

Though it claims it’s a ‘brief’ history of Amsterdam, this Geert Mak classic takes 400 pages to cover the history of the city from the year 1,000 to the present. And every page is worth reading. What do a medieval shoe, Elsje Christiaens, Rembrandt van Rijn and the number 1,660 have in common? They all play a role in the development of Amsterdam. Mak brings to life the history of the city with historical records, diaries, anecdotes and even police... More >


A story of the Amsterdam underworld and a sister’s betrayal: Judas

A story of the Amsterdam underworld and a sister’s betrayal: Judas

By Astrid Holleeder

Judas is the story of Astrid Holleeder, a criminal lawyer who eventually decided to testify against her brother, the notorious Dutch gangland figure Willem Holleeder,  sentenced to life in jail in July on six counts of murder. Holleeder’s notoriety stretches back to 1983 when he, together with Cor van Hout and three others, kidnapped the CEO of Heineken, Freddy Heineken and his driver, Ab Doderer, from the front of the Heineken office in Amsterdam. The kidnapping catapulted Holleeder from minor... More >


A classic history of the Golden Age: The Embarrassment of Riches

A classic history of the Golden Age: The Embarrassment of Riches

By Simon Schama

This well-regarded book of Dutch history is packed with information from a variety of sources, from cookbooks to bankruptcy filings, bringing the reader an in-depth understanding of possibly the most important century of Dutch history. The Embarrassment of Riches was first published in 1987 and remains a classic work of Dutch history, in particular in for its discussion of how Dutch history shaped the country’s consensus method of political discourse. As an outsider, author and history professor Simon Schama, was... More >


A guide to modern Dutch architecture: Best Buildings Holland

A guide to modern Dutch architecture: Best Buildings Holland

Toon Lauwen

If you think modern Dutch building means concrete monoliths, or endless rows of identical post-war blocks of flats, think again. This nifty little guide contains 84 of the Netherlands best buildings completed after 1900, compiled partly on the recommendations of 10 leading architects and other designers. Of course it includes the classics, like the Amsterdam school ‘Socialist’ housing Het Schip, Berlage’s Stock Exchange in Amsterdam (1903), and designs by household names like Gerrit Rietveld and Rem Koolhaas. But there are... More >


Dutch literature: A Beautiful Young Wife

Dutch literature: A Beautiful Young Wife

Tommy Wieringa

A Beautiful Young Wife follows an older, famous researcher who meets and marries a younger woman, a relationship which then falls apart.   Edward, a microbiologist who became famous for his work on AIDS, sees a much younger woman, Ruth, biking in Utrecht and wants her, specifically, her rear, though he eventually marries her entire person. The novel follows their relationship, from Edward’s initial, awkward meeting of Ruth’s family where he lusts over a preteen photo of Ruth, to the... More >


Recipes using chocolate sprinkles feature in Spread the Hagel

Recipes using chocolate sprinkles feature in Spread the Hagel

Jennifer Foster and Lianne Koster

You can’t live in the Netherlands for very long before discovering that the Dutch eat sprinkles on bread for breakfast. If you have, by chance, missed out on this very Dutch habit, hagelslag comes a variety of flavours (dark, milk, white chocolate and a fruit flavour are common) and, if the basic sprinkle isn’t enough for you, your supermarket will also have muisjes (candy-coated anise sprinkles), vlokken (or flakes of various chocolate flavours) as well as hagelslag in various sizes.... More >


Essential reading about the Netherlands: The Little Orange Handbook

Essential reading about the Netherlands: The Little Orange Handbook

Stephanie Dijkstra

Xpat Media, the publisher of the mighty Holland Handbook, has come up with this condensed and more portable guide to living in the Netherlands. The Little Orange Handbook describes itself as a ‘practical guide and quick introduction to the Netherlands’ and information is packed into the book’s 220 pages. It covers everything from housing and working to the educational system and political system of the country. The contents are divided into two main sections: About the Country and Living in... More >


Learn to cycle in Amsterdam

Learn to cycle in Amsterdam

Xing Chen

This gorgeous how-to book brings out all of the rules and norms of cycling in Amsterdam alongside amazing pictures of every day cycling experiences. Get it for anyone who comes to visit and needs a primer before heading out on a bike in the city. Author Xing Chen is a neuroscientist who moved to the Netherlands for work in 2014. She grew up in Singapore and lived in the UK and the US before arriving here. She learned how to... More >


Unsolved Mysteries of Amsterdam

Unsolved Mysteries of Amsterdam

Martijn J. Adelmund

Unsolved Mysteries of Amsterdam brings you the tales of horror and folklore of Amsterdam. If you’re interested in the urban legends of ghosts, curses and unsolved crimes in Amsterdam and the surrounding area, the Unsolved Mysteries of Amsterdam has it all.   Each chapter in the book is based around a single mystery. Some are familiar, such as who revealed the location of Anne Frank and her family during World War II and the story of Helena of Ghost Alley,... More >


NLXL – possibly the biggest book about the Netherlands you have ever seen

NLXL – possibly the biggest book about the Netherlands you have ever seen

Karel Tomei

The Netherlands might like to consider itself a small country – a kleine kikkerlandje, as the Dutch are so fond of saying – but this is one mighty big book. Karel Tomei’s NLXL weighs in at a whopping 3.5 kilos but is such a joy to look at that you will forget the weight on your knees. The book draws on the tradition of birds eye view paintings in which the world is captured from the skies: the intricate patterns... More >


You know you are Dutch when….

You know you are Dutch when….

Colleen Geske

Find out how Dutch you really are with the latest book from the popular Stuff Dutch People Like stable. Do you think bicycle helmets are ridiculous, would you like Germans to stop digging holes on Dutch beaches and do you like chocolate sprinkles for breakfast even though you are an adult? Chances are, you really are Dutch. After a searingly funny look at Dutch culture, unraveling the mysteries of the language, praising Dutch motherhood and tickling your tastebuds with Dutch... More >


Vicky Hampton’s Working Lunch

Vicky Hampton’s Working Lunch

Vicky Hampton

We are so happy that Vicky Hampton, our favourite Amsterdam foodie, has been branching out into other cities – her rundown of a weekend’s eating in Rotterdam is enough to make us all head for the port city asap. Vicky is no food snob and assessments of what and where she is eating are both down to earth and honest. We’ve said it before… she’s never let the DutchNews.nl crew down. Vicky has taken that same approach to lunch –... More >


The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def-Con City

The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def-Con City

Brian Christopher

The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def Con City is a trilogy of crime novels by Irish writer, Brian Christopher, with Part 3 published in January this year. As the title suggests, the novels are set in Amsterdam – where good and bad guys run amok along the canals encircling the famous city centre. Harvey Wall is a homicide detective sent from the New York City precinct to the Amsterdam police on a six-month work exchange. His background is somewhat murky, and hints... More >


The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old

Hendrik Groen

Hendrik Groen is an 83-year-old resident of an aged care home in Amsterdam. He begins a diary recording the daily tribulations of life in an institution surrounded by his peers and confronted by the health challenges that come with being an octogenarian. He starts the diary with the telling line, ‘Another year, and I still don’t like old people.’ The residents of The House of the Setting Sun are a mixed bag of stereotyped elderly people, many of whom spend... More >


Stuff Dutch People Like takes on food and mothers

Stuff Dutch People Like takes on food and mothers

Colleen Geske

The Stuff Dutch People Like empire has done some considerable expansion in 2016 with a look earlier this year at language and now a plunge into food and the world of motherhood. Author Colleen Geske, a Canadian by birth, has now turned her attention to celebrating Dutch parenting and asks herself ‘why do Dutch mums have it all?’. It did not start out that way. ‘Home births were not urban legends, as I had hoped, but a frightening reality,’ she... More >


The Dutch Maiden

The Dutch Maiden

Marente de Moor

Marente De Moor, born in 1972 is the daughter of writer Margriet de Moor and visual artist Heppe de Moor. She studied literature and Slavonic languages at University of Amsterdam, and after graduation, moved to Russia for 10 years. Her work as a columnist for De Groene Amsterdammer and Vrij Nederland, has been respectively collated and published as De Peterburgse Vertellingen and Kleine Vogel, Grote Man. Marente de Moor published her first novel, De Overtreder (translation: The Transgressor) in 2007.... More >


The Netherlands in 26 iconic objects

The Netherlands in 26 iconic objects

Wim Brands and Jeroen van Kan (editors)

What do ice skates, orthodox Christians and ecstasy pills have in common? They are all quintessentially Dutch objects featured in a new anthology which explores what it means to come from the Netherlands. Dutch writers were given the task of jotting down their favourite facts and memories about the objects that surround them in the Netherlands. The result is a pretty unique insight into what makes this country tick, from the herring cart to the notorious face mitt. Contributions come... More >


Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide

Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide

Various

The Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide is a walking guide to Amsterdam that focuses on the history of slavery in the city. The guide, published in 2014, is part of the VU University ‘Mapping Slavery Project’ which also covers Utrecht and Haarlem. As it notes in the forward, little is taught in Dutch schools and known generally about the history of slavery and the slave trade in the Netherlands. The book opens with an overview of the history of slavery in... More >


Dear Mr M

Dear Mr M

Herman Koch

Herman Koch is widely acclaimed for his 2009 novel Het Diner (The Dinner) – a book that sold over 1 million copies in Europe, was translated into 21 languages, and has been produced as a play and film. In addition, Koch’s biography of work includes eight novels, seven short story collections, newspaper columns, and acting roles or collaborations with various Dutch film, television and radio programmes. Two years ago Koch published his latest novel Geachte heer M in Dutch. The... More >