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Geert van Istendael

Geert van Istendael - foto Bart Lasuy
Geert van Istendael - foto Bart Lasuy

(Belgium, 1947) is a writer and translator. Formerly he was also a journalist and newsreader with the Flemish television journal. He became well known as the author of well-documented books about Belgium and Brussels. In 1989's Het Belgisch labyrint (The Belgian Labyrinth), he analyzes his country of birth with passion and erudition. Mijn Nederland (My Netherlands) appeared in 2005, a response to the request to explain Holland to the desperate Dutch. With 1991's Verhalen van het Heggeland (Stories from Heggeland), but even more so with 1997's Altrapsodie, he made his name as a novelist. In his poetry, he breaks with a society losing itself in "disastrous modernization." In various debates he's stated his belief in a Greater Netherlands, a Benelux, in which the German, French and Dutch languages and cultures would enrich one another. In 2007 his daughter Judith Vanistendael published the graphic novel De maagd en de neger (The Virgin and the Negro), based on a short story of her father's about the love between and economics student and a political refugee from Togo. His collection Het was wat (That Was Something) has been nominated for the 2016 VSB Poetry Prize.


Archive available for: Geert van Istendael

  • Winternachten 2016 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Hello, Poetry and Music

    At the end of the evening, let yourself be seduced by poetry from home and abroad. Listen to young poets Jeroen van Rooij and Runa Svetlikova and meet acclaimed poets like Adonis and Michael Krüger. MC Anna Luyten also introduces three nominees of the VSB Poetry Prize: Geert van Istendael, Maud Vanhauwaert and Pieter Boskma. Varied music by Dick van der Harst and his musicians will let you dream the night away. As a special commission by the festival, he sets one of Adonis' poems to music.

  • Winternachten 2003

    My National Anthem

    With: Christine Otten, Geert van Istendael, Gibi Bacilio, Jaap Blonk, Kader Abdolah, Michaël Zeeman, Theodor Holman

    Holland is no longer the country it used to be. Are we ready for a new national anthem? Six writers and poets from The Netherlands and abroad present their personal alternative on this afternoon.

    Writer/commentator Theodor Holman, Gibi Bacilio from Curaçao, writer and rap-poet Christine Otten, Kader Abdolah and the Flemish writer Geert van Istendael sang their new national anthems for our country. Michaël Zeeman talked to the writers and poets in an effort to reinvent the nation. Dutch spoken.

    On this page, you can listen to the sound recordings.

  • Winternachten 2003 – Winternacht 2

    The Undutchables

    Actors/writers Kees van Kooten and Herman Koch discuss old and new clichees on the Dutch, together with our concience from Flanders, writer Geert van Istendael. Moderated by writer Ed van Eeden.