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As an art genre, literature is changing rapidly around the globe. Text is an important form of expression for the new generation of artists, and can be used in all kinds of original, innovative ways. Lots of new writers are appearing, as are new readers; and they are all confounding the dire predictions of language sceptics by working intensively with language and literature.

In addition, there are more and more calls to open up languages and cultures. Multilingualism is a hot item on many political agendas, and increasingly appreciated as an indispensable tool for the modern citizen. We have to be able to understand each other in some way or other in order to listen and be heard.

Leeuwarden wants to use the designation as UNESCO City of Literature to build a solid infrastructure for the writers and readers of the future. Literature in translation, our motto accompanying our candidature, represents the importance of unlocking language and literature; but in fact, it goes beyond this. It is also about creating stories, culture and identity visible, about the ownership of language and literature, about writers who can share everyone’s story with the world, and about a place called Friesland that welcomes stories from all around the globe. For the last ten years, we’ve written a new history of Friesland that everyone can read, and which is packed full of ambition, imagination and new visions. It’s a history with an eye for the future, rather than the past. A paradox, don’t you think? We beg to differ. Just wait and see!