Dutch novelists have a long and rich history, dating back to the 17th century. They have been influenced by a wide range of sources, including the Dutch Golden Age, the Enlightenment, the Romantic movement, and the Modernist movement.
They have been preoccupied with a wide range of themes, including the nature of reality, the individual’s relationship with society, the meaning of life, and the role of the artist.
They have also explored a wide range of subjects, including love, loss, war, politics, and religion. Their work has been translated into many languages and has been read and enjoyed by people all over the world.
They have helped to shape the way we think about the world and our place in it.
Here are ten writers from the range of Dutch novelists over the centuries.
Louis Couperus (1863-1923)
Louis Couperus is considered one of the most important Dutch writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Couperus’ novels are characterized by their lush prose, their psychological insights, and their exploration of social and cultural themes.
His most famous novels include: The Hidden Force (1900): A complex novel about the clash of cultures in the Dutch East Indies; The Way of the World (1902): A satirical novel about the upper class in the Netherlands; Hidden Force (1900) and The Books of the Small Souls (1917-1922): A series of novels about the lives of ordinary people.
Couperus made a significant contribution to Dutch literature, and he will be remembered for his lush prose, his psychological insights, and his exploration of social and cultural themes.
Couperus was also a prolific travel writer, and he wrote several books about his travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He was a keen observer of human nature, and his travel writing is full of insights into the cultures he encountered.
Couperus was a complex and multifaceted writer, and his work is difficult to categorize. He was a master of the psychological novel, but he also wrote historical novels, travelogues, and poetry.
Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928)
Paul van Ostaijen was a Belgian poet, novelist, and essayist. He is considered one of the most important figures in Dutch-language expressionism.
Van Ostaijen’s early work was influenced by German expressionism, and he was a member of the Antwerpse groep, a group of expressionist poets and artists. His first collection of poetry, Bezette stad (1921), is a landmark in Dutch-language expressionism.
In the 1920s, van Ostaijen’s work became more experimental, and he began to explore Dada and Surrealist techniques. He also wrote a number of novels, including Het sieraad van de pessimist (1924) and Belang van het ogenblik (1928).
Van Ostaijen’s work is characterized by its experimentalism, its wit, and its social criticism. He was a master of language, and his work is full of wordplay and unexpected juxtapositions.
Van Ostaijen died at the age of 31. He is considered one of the most important figures in Dutch-language literature, and his work continues to be read and studied by scholars and students today.
Edgar du Perron (1898-1940)
Edgar du Perron was born in Meester Cornelis, Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia) in 1899. He is considered one of the most important Dutch authors of the 20th century.
Du Perron’s novels are characterized by their psychological insights, their exploration of identity, and their critique of colonialism. His most famous novels include: Land van herkomst (1935): A semi-autobiographical novel about a young man who travels to the Dutch East Indies and confronts his identity as a Eurasian; Het bittere kruid (1939): A novel about a young woman who comes to terms with her sexuality and her place in the world and De Ontmaskering van Justus van Dongen (1940): A satirical novel about a Dutch politician who is exposed as a fraud.
Du Perron’s work has been translated into many languages and is still read and enjoyed by people all over the world. He will be remembered for his psychological insights, his exploration of identity, and his critique of colonialism. He was also a poet, a critic, and a journalist. He was a member of the literary group Forum, which was one of the most important literary movements in the Netherlands in the 1930s.
Annie M.G. Schmidt (1911-1995)
Annie M.G. Schmidt was a prolific writer who wrote poetry, songs, books, plays, musicals, and television series. She was known for her sense of humour and her ability to write about a variety of subjects in a way that was both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Schmidt is best known for her children’s books, such as the Jip and Janneke series. These books were praised for their simplicity and wit, and they have been enjoyed by generations of Dutch children. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1988 for her contribution to children’s literature.
Schmidt was also a vocal advocate for euthanasia, and she died by euthanasia in 1995. Her death sparked a debate about the ethics of euthanasia, and it helped to raise awareness of the issue.
Schmidt’s legacy continues to live on today, and her work is still enjoyed by people of all ages. She was a talented writer who made a significant contribution to Dutch literature, and she will be remembered for her humour, her wit, and her compassion.
Hella Haas (1918-2011)
Hella S. Haase was born in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1918. She was a novelist, essayist, and poet. She is considered one of the most important Dutch authors of the 20th century.
Haase’s novel Oeroeg (1948) is about a boy growing up on a tea plantation in the Dutch East Indies. The novel was a staple for generations of schoolchildren in the Netherlands, and it was translated into many languages.
In 1988, Haase was given the honour of interviewing Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on her 50th birthday. This was due to Haase’s reputation as “the Queen among authors.”
Haase received many awards for her work, including the P.C. Hooft-prijs, the highest literary award in the Netherlands. She died in 2011 at the age of 93.
Haase’s work is characterized by its sensitivity, its insight, and its exploration of complex themes. She was a talented writer who made a significant contribution to Dutch literature, and she will be remembered for her work on colonialism, racism, and the human condition.
Willem Frederik Hermans (1921-1995)
Willem Frederik Hermans was a Dutch author who was born in Amsterdam in 1921. He is considered one of the most important post-war Dutch writers, and he was awarded the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, the highest honour for Dutch writers, in 1977.
Hermans’ writing style is existentialist and often bleak. His sentences are short and to the point, and his work often explores themes of alienation, isolation, and the absurdity of existence. Some of his novels, such as “The Tears of the Acacias” and “The Darkroom of Damocles,” are set during World War II, and they explore the psychological effects of war.
Hermans initially wanted to support himself financially through his writing, but he was unable to do so because the Netherlands’ economy was recovering from World War II. As a result, he worked as a lecturer in physical geography at Groningen University.
Hermans’ most famous works include the novella “The House of Refuge” (1952), the novels “The Darkroom of Damocles” (1958) and “Beyond Sleep” (1966), and the collection of short stories “Mandarins on Sulphuric Acid” (1963).
Appie Baantjer (1923-2010)
Appie Baantjer was an author of detective fiction. His novels have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, French, Korean, Russian, and Estonian. In English, 23 of his 60 published books are available, thanks largely to his publisher Speck Press.
Baantjer’s detective novels revolve around the police inspector De Cock (also translated as DeKok, which means “cook” in Dutch) and his sidekick, Sergeant Vledder. Some of his notable works include Murder in Amsterdam, DeKok and The Dead Harlequin, and Dekok and Murder by Melody.
Baantjer’s novels are known for their fast-paced plots, their well-developed characters, and their insights into the human psyche. He was a master of the detective genre, and his work has been praised by critics and readers alike.
Baantjer’s novels have been adapted for television and film, and he is one of the most popular Dutch authors of all time.
Harry Mulisch (1927 –2010)
Harry Mulisch is considered one of the most important Dutch writers of the post-war era. He wrote more than 80 novels, plays, essays, poems. His work is characterized by its intelligence, wit, and exploration of themes, of the Holocaust, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life.
Mulisch’s work was greatly influenced by the horrors of World War II. His family suffered Nazi persecution during the German occupation of the Netherlands and his maternal grandmother died in a gas chamber.
Mulisch’s success came in the later years of his career, when he published the novels The Assault (1982) and The Discovery of Heaven (1992).
The Assault, one of the best Dutch novels of all time, was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. He was awarded the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren in 1995, the highest literary honour in the Netherlands.
He is a major figure in Dutch literature, and his work, which has been translated into over 30 languages, continues to be read and admired by people all over the world.
Tim Krabbe (born 1943)
Tim Krabbé is a Dutch journalist, novelist, and chess player. He was born in Amsterdam in 1943, and his work has been translated into over 20 languages. His novels are often characterized by their suspenseful plots and their exploration of psychological themes. His most famous novel is The Vanishing (1984), which was adapted into a film in 1988. Other notable novels include De Renner (1978), De Grot (1980), and De Plaats (1993).
In addition to his novels, Krabbé has also written several books on chess, including “Het Betere Brein” (1994) and “Het Grote Schaakboek” (2002). He is also a regular contributor to Dutch newspapers and magazines.
Krabbé is a versatile and accomplished writer who has made significant contributions to Dutch literature. His work is characterized by its intelligence, its suspense, and its exploration of human psychology.
Michel Faber (born 1960)
Michel Faber is a Dutch-born writer who is best known for his critically acclaimed novels. He was born in The Hague in 1960, and he emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1967. He attended the University of Melbourne, where he studied English literature.
Faber’s most notable novels include The Crimson Petal and the White (2002), Under the Skin (2000), and The Book of Strange New Things (2014). The Crimson Petal and the White is a historical novel set in Victorian London, and it tells the story of a prostitute who becomes involved with a wealthy businessman. Under the Skin is a science fiction novel about an alien who comes to Earth to hunt humans. The Book of Strange New Things is a novel about a Christian missionary who travels to a distant planet.
Faber’s novels have been praised by critics for their intelligence, their originality, and their exploration of complex themes. His work has been translated into over 20 languages.
In addition to his novels, Faber has also written a book of poetry, Undying (2016). The book is a collection of poems about the death of his second wife to cancer.
Faber is a versatile and accomplished writer who has made significant contributions to English-language fiction. His work is characterized by its intelligence, its originality, and its exploration of complex themes.
And this concludes our list of best Dutch novelists of all time. Let us know your comments!