Book Art and the Art Book in the Netherlands

In 2016, Flanders & the Netherlands are Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair. besonders buch dedicates a series of articles to the Dutch and Flemish book market and book design.


Art Book exhibition in Amsterdam Public Library

While Frankfurt is getting prepared for its Guest of Honour, Dutch and Flemish publishers are packing their books to be presented in Germany. However, the publishers themselves are not the only ones to get excited. The art and design world takes the festivities as an occasion to have a closer look at their relation with the book.

Mondriaan Fonds, a publicly financed fund for visual art and cultural heritage in Amsterdam dedicates its eleventh issue in a series of essays to the subject. Het boek in de kunst / The book in the arts (unfortunately only available in Dutch so far), was written by art critic Roos van der Lint and published in May this year.


„Het boek in de kunst“ von Roos van der Lint

With this essay the Fund calls attention for the significant position for art books in the Netherlands. Whereas the end of the era of the book has repeatedly been predicted, Roos van der Lint illustrates that as far as the art scene is concerned, no end is in sight. She covers the various forms that books in art can take: the book about art or artists, the monograph, the catalogue, the art book, and the Künstlerroman.


Subway – artist’s magazine by Erik van der Weijde

Together with the publication of the essay, Roos van der Lint has chosen 25 striking international art publications which are currently exposed in the Amsterdam Public Library. At the Frankfurt Book Fair, another selection of art books will be shown – Dutch and Flemish titles this time. A discussion will take place on the relevance of the art book and the specific collaboration it facilitates between artists, designers and publishers.


Joost Grootens by ©Annaleen Louwes

Just as Roos van der Lint, Joost Grootens – internationally renowned designer – is not worried about the future of books. However, he is also not blind to how digital tools are changing the role of graphic designers. He is the guest editor of an upcoming international edition of DUDE, the Dutch Designers Magazine. The issue, published by the Association of Dutch Designers, will be exclusively dedicated to Dutch book design.

If you are in Frankfurt this year, you should be on the lookout for this magazine: the special issue will be distributed to the fair visitors free of charge and while supplies last.


©Annaleen Louwes

Finally, some information for German readers: Alles bunt? – Niederländische Buchgestaltung, an article written by German graphic designer and art director Carolin Rauen, offers a most illustratory and informative introduction to Dutch book design (from a German perspective, of course).

Interesting side information: mairisch Verlag, a Hamburg based publisher Carolin Rauen regularly works with, had his own approach to getting prepared for the Guest of Honour. The whole publishing house moved to Amsterdam for one month and worked from there. If you’re interested in the Dutch book market, you should read their blog mairisch goes Amsterdam! which also includes Carolin’s article on Dutch book design.

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