At the end of October Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, the Frisian capital and European Capital of Culture in 2018, was designated City of Literature by UNESCO. Leeuwarden is the second Dutch city, after Utrecht, that joins the group of worldwide Cities of Literature.
The project of Cities of Literature started in 2004, with Edinburgh being the first City of Literature. Since then the network has grown, in collaboration with the larger UNESCO Creative Cities Network, to include around 30 cities. Other cities in the network are Ljubljana, Prague, and Melbourne, amongst others.
The UNESCO jury had the following to say about the bid book of Leeuwarden: “The bid-book gave a glimpse of great ambitions. Creative and substantively strong.”
With access to the network, it is hoped that the Frisian literary network can be expanded. That Leeuwarden has been named is a reward of the ambitions of both Leeuwarden and Friesland to keep literature and culture high up on the list of priorities for the city.
Talented Frisian writers and artists will be challenged to contribute to literary projects in Leeuwarden. With the Frisian language, being the second official language in the Netherlands, and the multilingual atmosphere in Leeuwarden, the city together with the province of Friesland will mobilise its literary and artistic heritage and potential, and showcase them in innovative ways on the local, regional and international level.
RIXT is very pleased that Leeuwarden has received this title, since our poets pack wants to reach beyond the Frisian borders and intends to invite poets from other regions and countries to stay here for a while and cooperate with Frisian poets.