The 23rd April is a symbolic date in the world of literature; it is the date upon which Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is fitting, then, that this is the date chosen for the inauguration of new World Book Capitals. And it was on this date in 2008 that Amsterdam took up that crown. Since then, the title has been passed on to worthy successors Beirut and Ljubljana. But that’s not to say Amsterdam’s love of literature has moved on too. This site, then, will celebrate both the events of 2008/2009 and those thereafter.
Spinoza, Anne Frank and Annie M.G. Schmidt
Icons of Amsterdam World Book Capital
In view of Amsterdam’s history the organisation has endeavoured to find iconic personalities who tell a story about Amsterdam, a World Book Capital of yesteryear and the 21st century, as well as reflecting international allure and sparking the interest of diverse target groups, all in harmony with the umbrella theme. The three selected icons are Spinoza, Anne Frank and Annie M.G. Schmidt.
Amsterdam is the ‘City of Spinoza’. Spinoza spent the greater part of his life in Amsterdam and it is here that he formulated his revolutionary ideas. Nevertheless, Spinoza has not received the recognition he deserves
Anne Frank is the most famous writer that the Netherlands has ever produced. In recent years we have seen increasing evaluation of Anne Frank as an author. It seems self-evident that Anne Frank should occupy a prominent place in the capacity of accomplished author.
The internationally renowned author of children’s books, Annie M.G. Schmidt, has captivated many generations of children with her immortal characters. Her works include Pluk van de Petteflet (Pluck mit dem Kranwagen in German, Pluk el del Torrificio in Spanish, with the Dutch-language film version dubbed as Tow Truck Pluck in English), Jip en Janneke (Bob and Jilly, Julia und Alexander, Los inseparables Mila y Yaco, even Jippus et Jannica in Latin), and Minoes (Minnie, Cette mystérieuse Minouche, Die geheimnisvolle Minusch). Annie M.G. Schmidt was born and bred in Amsterdam and her oeuvre encompasses many genres, including songs, musicals, and radio and television scripts. Many of her children’s books were successfully turned into films