Since we have a very strong Dutch speaking community on LibriVox, let’s have a look at 10 gems from our catalog written by Dutch authors.
Probably the most famous one we have is Vincent van Gogh. Yes, to be fair, he was not an author, but one of the greatest painters who ever lived… Still, some letters to his brother and his friend E. Bernard have survived and are collected in The Letters of a Post-Impressionist.
Then there is Louis Couperus, one of the foremost figures of Dutch literature who wrote more than 40 books, not including his poetry and short stories. In his Langs Lijnen van Geleidelijkheid, 23 year old divorcee Cornelie de Retz goes to Italy in search of a new life. The English version caused quite a stir because of the explicit eroticism of the book.
Not quite so explicit is Goena-goena about a woman willing to do anything to take the man she loves from his wife. It was written by Paul Adriaan Daum who, despite having received very little education, founded the largest newspaper in the Dutch East Indies.
Via their colonies in the East Indies, the Dutch were involved in the slave trade. Twee redevoeringen tegen de slavernij in de Nederlandse koloniën contains two pamphlets written by the historian Julien Wolbers and the theologian Nicolaas Beets, where they make their case for abolition.
Whether they did it in The Imitation of Christ is not known, even though they might have read this book in Dutch even. It was written by Thomas a Kempis, a Dutch canon reguar, in the 15th century and remains the best known manual of Christian devotion. We also have a Latin version of it.
Alphonse Olterdissen wrote in a completely different language: the local dialect of Maastricht, a town in the south of the Netherlands. The final stanza of one of his operas even became the local anthem of the city. Here we present you with Drei korte verhaole in ‘t Meestrechs.
Maarten Maartens also did not write in Dutch but in English, and because his frail health forced him to move all through Europe, he is all but forgotten in the Netherlands. His books were popular in England though, for example God’s Fool about a deaf and blind man who becomes the richest man in town and now has to keep his brothers in check…
A much larger following in his own country has Herman Heijermans, the son of liberal Jews born in Rotterdam. Although mainly a playwright, under the pseudonym Samuel Falkland he wrote hundreds of short stories. His book Gevleugelde Daden is a humorous story about the first Dutch pioneers of flying.
A pioneer of a different kind was Christiaan Huygens. He was a 17th century mathematician and natural philosopher, and considered one of the leading scientists of his time. He is especially remembered for his wave theory of light, which he published in the 1690 work Treatise on Light, the largest book on optics before Newton’s book of 1704.
Hieronymus van Alphen was a lawyer in Utrecht, who became the minister of finance towards the end of the Dutch Republic. In his spare time he wrote mostly religious poetry, but the tiny book of 66 Kleine Gedigten voor Kinderen is his most famous legacy.
Enjoy discovering Dutch authors in our catalog!