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Ambitions as a UNESCO City of Literature: Literature in translation.

Telling stories and writing or reading literature in a minority language is in our blood. Language and literature were also important parts of the LF2018 programme. We’d like to convert this into a long-term goal and intertwine it with our future plans and policy so future generations can also reap the benefits. As a UNESCO City of Literature, Leeuwarden and Friesland aim to invest in:

  • the literary climate;
  • social inclusiveness, for example combating low literacy skills and promoting multilingualism;
  • internationalisation.

This is the path to creating an open and inclusive literary community. It’s motivating us to push our limits: from literature in a minority language to multilingual, accessible literature.
Designating Leeuwarden as a UNESCO City of Literature will open international doors to:

  • international collaborations, a new perspective on ourselves and our history, and the embracing of our multilingual inhabitants;
  • new platforms for the revaluation of literature in minority languages;
  • opportunities to share expertise in opening up minority languages to other cities in the network;
  • coordination of exchanges (projects, writers and translators) between the different cities, independent of existing residency programmes;
  • making Leeuwarden/Friesland visible within an ambitious international network.

At the local level, we will be in a better position to:

  • overcome language barriers through literary and other translation;
  • involve those with low literacy skills in literature and language experiences;
  • support the professionalisation of writers and translators;
  • exploit literature for urban renewal and tourism.

By opening up a language (every language!) to others, we will ensure that:

  • everyone feels seen and heard;
  • every identity closely related to language and literature is given a voice;
  • we share and reinforce the messages of writers: those people who can put progressive ideas, new concepts and identity into words.