Why I Want To Read More Dutch Literature

For those of you who don’t know, I’m Dutch. I was born and raised in The Netherlands, and I love it here. But I do have a confession to make: I haven’t read any Dutch books, except for the ones in school, for years. And I want to change that.

When I was younger (read: 10 or so) I was a very avid reader. I visited the library each week, and I brought the maximum number of books home every week. (I’m still surprised that I hadn’t read every single book in that place.) All of those books were Dutch, and I loved it.

Then, when I got older and started going to high school, the Dutch books started getting harder and harder to read. Especially because school didn’t allow me to read Dutch YA books anymore, but only ‘real adult’ books. The thing about Dutch literature is that in books, they use a lot of words (especially old words) that I had never heard of before. I found myself Googling words at least every chapter because I just didn’t know what the words meant. And this was my own language! And besides that, most Dutch literature is about World War 2, and while this is an important subject, after a while I was kind of done with it. These things made me eventually stop reading Dutch books.

When I was 14 I started reading English books, and to my surprise I liked it a lot more than those Dutch books. It was so much easier than Dutch; I didn’t have to Google as many words anymore, and I was allowed to read YA again. I fell in love with English books, and I never went back.

Now I’m 19 and I still only read English books, and basically everything I do is in English. I watch English TV-shows, I blog in English, all of my social media is in English, etc. I kind of regret this. Why? Because my Dutch SUCKS. I often find myself struggling to find a word in Dutch, because my head only knows it in English. Or I just straight up translate a saying in English directly to Dutch, which is just ridiculous. I want to be fluent in my own language again, and I think books will definitely help me with that.

I also want to fall in love with Dutch literature again. Sure, I hated most Dutch books I’ve read for school, but if I look hard enough I’m sure I’ll find an author I like. I’ve actually once read one of Kader Abdolah’s short stories and I loved it, so I want to read more of his work soon. And I want to try and read Harry Mulisch again, because while I hated and didn’t understand his work before, there must be a reason why he’s such a legend. 

So, what I want to start doing is read more Dutch literature. Of course this won’t stop me from still enjoying my English books, but I basically just want the best of both worlds *insert Hannah Montana music here*. 

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