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A literary timeline of Friesland.

16 AD
Albinovanus Pedo, Roman cavalry officer and poet, writes an epic describing a military expedition by Germanicus in the Wadden Sea region. A fragment of this text has been preserved.

100 AD
The Roman historian Tacitus describes the Frisians in his Annales and Germania.

10th century or earlier
Beowulf, an Old English epic tale, includes a description of a war against the Frisians.

7th to 9th centuries
Christianisation of the Frisians; holy lives in Latin.

12th and 13th centuries
Dozens of monasteries are founded in the Frisian regions; abbots play a leading role in politics and culture, the most illustrious example being Emo van Wittewierum, who wrote an important chronicle in Latin.

13th century
Old Frisian law is written in Frisian. It comprises legal texts from an oral tradition, accompanied by texts that legitimise the special freedoms and privileges of the Frisians.

1485
Freeska Landriucht, an edition of Old Frisian laws, is the oldest printed book in Frisian.

First half of the 16th century
Within two generations, Frisian almost completely disappears as a written language.

16th and early 17th century
Humanist scholars rediscover the history of Friesland in various chronicles, partly mythical, written in Latin and Dutch.

1585
Establishment of the University of Franeker; from that moment on, books are printed in Friesland, stimulating academic culture, such as occasion poetry in Frisian.

1602
Musica Miscella, a collection by Leeuwarden musician and composer Jaques Vredeman, contains the oldest preserved lyrics in Frisian.

1603 to 1666
Gysbert Japicx is the best-known Frisian Renaissance writer. The Friesche Rymlerije (Frisian Rhymes, 1668) is considered his most important work. There was little interest in Japicx during the eighteenth century, but this was reversed in the nineteenth century. In 1823, a major Japicx memorial was held.

17th and 18th centuries
Frisian-language rhymes and comic dialogues appear in almanacs.

1685 to 1766
Tiberius Hemsterhuis, professor of Greek at Franeker, linguistic and literary critic.

1755
With the approval of the Protestant church, Jan Althuysen publishes a complete translation of the Psalms in Frisian (Frisian is only used in liturgy, preaching and Scripture from the early 20th century).

1731 to 1804
Simon Stijl, poet, playwright and publicist (in Dutch); doctor in Harlingen.

1742 to 1826
Everwinus Wassenbergh, professor in Franeker, pioneer in the scientific study of Frisian and Dutch.

1827
Establishment of the ‘Provinciaal Friesch Genootschap ter Beoefening van Friesche Geschied-, Oudheid- en Taalkunde’ (Provincial Frisian Society for the Practice of Frisian History, Antiquity and Linguistics).

1790 to 1859
Rinse Posthumus, pastor in the village of Waaksens, translates some of Shakespeare’s work into Frisian.

‘t Nut reference library
The many branches of the ‘Maatschappij tot Nut van ’t Algemeen’ (Society for Public Welfare) in Friesland have small reference libraries containing books belonging to members and sometimes non-members.

1844
Foundation of the ‘Selskip foar Fryske Taal- en Skriftekennisse’ (Society for Frisian Language and Writing Expertise).

1852
Foundation of the Friesland Provincial Library.

1860 to 1914
The Winterjûnenocht (Winter Evening Night), with Waling Dijkstra and Tsjibbe Gearts van der Meulen, among others.

1903
Publication of Afke’s Tiental (Afke’s Ten) by Nynke fan Hichtum (pseudonym of Sjoukje Bokma de Boer, born Nes 1860; died Hilversum 1939). Her life was portrayed in Nynke, 2001, by filmmaker Pieter Verhoeff, who was born in Lemmer.

1910
Writer and politician Piter Jelles Troelstra (born Leeuwarden 1860; died The Hague, 1930) published a collection of his poetry in Rispinge (Harvest). The Piter Jellesprijs (Piter Jelle Prize) in Leeuwarden is named after him. Nyk de Vries was the most recent winner of this prize, awarded for his novel Renger, which was published in both Dutch and Frisian.

1916
Jan Jacob Slauerhoff (born Leeuwarden, 1898; died Hilversum, 1936), one of the most important Dutch poets, leaves Leeuwarden to study medicine in Amsterdam. He sailed the oceans as a medical doctor, but always returned to Friesland.

1917
Douwe Kalma (born Boksum 1896; died Leeuwarden 1953), writer and translator, founded the first Frisian literary magazine: Frisia.

1923
Kurt Schwitters makes a Holland Dada tour and performs in Friesland with the Frisian Dada artists Thijs and Evert Rinsema. In the poem ‘Die zute tute’, which was published that year in the Merz journal, he included some lines in Frisian.

1934
Terug tot Ina Damman (Back until Ina Damman), written by Simon Vestdijk (born Harlingen 1898; died Utrecht, 1971) was published. The main character was Anton Wachter. An important literary prize in the Netherlands was named after him and is awarded every other year in Harlingen.

1938
The Fryske Akademy, a scientific institute for the study of Friesland and Frisian language, history, culture and literature, is founded

1942
Titus Brandsma (born Oegeklooster 1881; died Dachau 1942), Roman Catholic priest, Carmelite, founder of schools, journalist innovator and sworn enemy of National Socialism, dies in Dachau concentration camp.

1947
Obe Postma (born Cornwerd 1868; died Leeuwarden 1963), poet, mathematician, physicist and historian, is the first winner of the Gysbert Japicx Prize, still the most important literary prize in Friesland.

1951
On 16 November 1951, a lawsuit against poet, writer and journalist Fedde Schurer (born Drachten 1898; died Heerenveen, 1968) caused uproar, due to years of frustration about a lack of policy for the Frisian language, especially in education and the judicial system.

1956
Poet Pieter Boskma (Leeuwarden 1956) has been living in Amsterdam for many decades, but regularly returns to his place of birth and Friesland in his poetry. His work was translated into Frisian by Theun de Vries.

1959
Founding of the Frysk Letterkundich Museum (Frisian Literature Museum) and Dokumintaesjesintrum (Documentation Centre), merged to form Tresoar in 2002.

1964
On 22 June, writer Havank (Leeuwarden 1904), one of the most successful crime writers in the Netherlands, dies in Hotel Amicitia in his place of birth. A small permanent exhibition is devoted to his work in Dekemastate in Jelsum, where he often stayed.

1964
The Dutch author Gerard Reve (1923 to 2006) settled in Greonterp in Friesland for a number of years, and wrote some of his most important works there.

1970
Loosely based on the model of the publisher De Bezige Bij, the Koperative Utjouwerij is founded by Frisian writers.

1983
The writers/journalists Michaël Zeeman (born Marken 1958; died Rotterdam, 2009) and Geart de Vries (born Feanwâldsterwâl 1956) set up the Leeuwarden Literary Activities Foundation and offer, for 25 years, an annual programme for both nationally known and Frisian-language authors.

1990
Historical and literary centre Tresoar receives the Fuks collection of 3,000 volumes, including ancient Hebrew prints from before 1800.

1992 to 2001
Fryske Klassiken, reissue of classic Frisian novels and story collections

1993
The Netherlands is Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time. This also led to the international breakthrough of the Frisian poet Tsjêbbe Hettinga (born Burgwerd, 1949; died Leeuwarden 2013).

1993
The Poëzietableaus Foundation publishes Het metrum van de voetstap (The meter of the footstep) on the occasion of a poem in stone in honour of mayor John te Loo. There are now more than 50 of these poems in stone in the streets of Leeuwarden.

1996
Geert Mak (1946) publishes Hoe God verdween uit Jorwerd (How God disappeared from Jorwerd), a biography of a Frisian village documenting the decline of peasant culture.

1999
Writer and journalist Hylke Speerstra (Tjerkwerd 1935) successfully publishes It wrede paradys (The Cruel Paradise), a book full of glowing stories from Frisian emigrants. Almost his entire oeuvre has been published in Frisian and in Dutch.

2000
Award-winning children’s book author Lida Dijkstra (Heerenveen 1961) writes in both Frisian and Dutch. In 2000 she received an honourable mention for the first time on the IBBY Honour List for Wolken fan wol/Wachten op Apollo (Waiting For Apollo).

2002
Writers Nyk de Vries (Noordbergum 1971) and Meindert Talma (Surhuisterveen 1968), who both write in Frisian and Dutch, abandon their magazine De Blauwe Fedde (1996-2002) and focus on their literary work and music.

2005
Theun de Vries (born Veenwouden 1907; died Amsterdam 2005), writer, journalist and translator, left Fryslân at a young age but never lost sight of Frisian literature and Friesland. In 1964, he received the Constantijn Huygens Prize.

2009
Anita Terpstra (Hallum 1974) debuts as a crime author in Dutch with the novel Nachtvlucht (Night Flight). Her work has since been published in various languages.

2011
Explore the North, a new festival in Leeuwarden, is launched. The programme is focussed on music, literature and poetry by writers and musicians who are rooted in northern culture.

2013
Writer, poet and translator, Atte Jongstra (Terwispel 1956), wrote the ‘Friese boekenweekgeschenk’, the book dedicated to the Frisian Book Week. In 2016, he was awarded the Constantijn Huygens Prize.

2014
The Boekenbal voor lezers (Book Ball for Readers) event is organised for the first time in Leeuwarden.

2016
The Netherlands and Belgium are host countries at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Friesland presents itself in grand style, with its own stand and performances by writers and poets.

2017
In late 2017, Eeltsje Hettinga was named as the first Poet of Friesland (2018 to 2019).

2018
Leeuwarden-Friesland was the European Capital of Culture in 2018. Lân fan taal was founded in this context: a free state for all the languages and literatures of the world, in which language knows no limits. In the same year, Lân fan taal opens the doors of the OBE language experience centre, a permanent visitor centre.

2019
Tsead Bruinja (born Rinsumageest 1974), a bilingual poet, is named Poet of the Nation in the Netherlands.

2020
Lida Dijkstra, children’s book author, is appointed first Frisian Children’s Book Ambassador.