One thing I realized that people who travel and live abroad have in common, is that most of them love to read. It might be because everyone with a wanderlust knows that the world consist of more than one’s own reality. Just like travelling, books open a new and unknown world, whether fiction or non-fiction. In The Netherlands we have one whole week dedicated to promoting Dutch books. This is called ‘Boekenweek’ (translation: books week).
This year the 80th Boekenweek will take place from the 7th of March till the 15th of March. There is a theme with each Boekenweek, and this year’s theme is frenzy. This accompanied with the motto: totally nuts. This motto comes from the fact that books consists of characters that are simply insane or characters that undergo insane moments.
During this week readers can buy either a special essay at bookstores or get a ‘Boekenweek present’ when buying more than €12,50 on Dutch books. The present for this year is a book called ‘De zomer hou je ook niet tegen’ (translation: the summer doesn’t hold you back either) from writer Dimitri Verhulst. On 15th of March everyone who has a ‘Boekenweek present’ can travel for free (nationally) with the train (NS and NS International trains).
Even though as exchange student you won’t be buying Dutch books, it is still important to take time and read a book or two during your Erasmus. Though the Boekenweek is focused on Dutch books, it mainly wants to promote reading in general.
If you’re ever in Amsterdam you should visit the New English Bookstore. It’s this small little bookstore near Muntplein that sells really cheap English Books. At the ESN office there is also a bookshelf where you can swap books. There are books in different languages and from different genres.
Out of inspiration? Goodreads.com has tons of book recommendations. Plus you can see the review from others who already read the book. One book I can personally recommend is: Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s not an easy book to read, but it’s highly interesting.