Today, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, together with His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, opened the Flemish pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium was also present at the opening, along with a number of politicians from both countries.
Over 70 different authors from the Flemish monarchies are represented in the Flemish pavilion. Among the writers are authors, Arnon Grunberg, from the Netherlands, and Charlotte Van den Broeck, from Belgium. Flemish literature has sharply increased in popularity in recent decades, and more than 300 Dutch books are translated into German and exhibited at the fair. It is expected that over 280,000 visitors will come to this year’s book fair. The book fair does not open to the public until tomorrow, but today important guests were given a special tour, including the Belgian and Dutch royals. Belgium and the Netherlands were also guests of honour in 1993, making them the only two nations to have been guests of honour twice in the fair’s history.
This is not the first time the Flemish royal families participated in the book fair. In 2006, Princess Laurentien held a speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but never before have two regents participated together. The reason for this is that the Netherlands and Belgium are this year’s guests of honour. The two Flemish monarchies share a long and amicable history, which will be further reinforced in November when King Philippe and Queen Mathilde begin their three-day state visit to the Netherlands.
It is not only King Willem-Alexander and King Philippe who find literature important. Other monarchs have devoted time and resources to front their nation’s literature and promoting its literature on the world market. This year, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway arranged for a “literature-train” for the third time to highlight important issues and promote Norwegian literature.