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Johan Fretz

Johan Fretz - foto Sanja Marusic
Johan Fretz - foto Sanja Marusic

(1985) is a writer, theatre and documentary filmmaker. He successfully made cabaret performances, first with Marcel Harteveld and then solo, was a columnist for Het Parool for a decade and in 2012 published his novel Fretz 2025, in which a young idealist aspires to become prime minister of the Netherlands. His second novel, Onder de paramariboom, won him the Boekhandelsprijs in 2019. In it, he tells the story of a hilarious and disarming road trip through Suriname; a quest for roots and identity as a 'double-blood' and for reconciliation between a mother and a son. 2022 saw the broadcast of the documentary What's Left, which he made with Juul Op den Kamp, about the decline of social democracy, and the publication of his book Met vriendelijke groet (Best regards), a collection of his most important pieces, stimulating and layered reflections, with which Fretz celebrates ten years of authorship. In 2023, his literary non-fiction book Onvrijheid (Lack of Freedom) will be published.

(WN 2023)

Archive available for: Johan Fretz

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Book of My Life: Johan Fretz

    Writers tell us about their favourite book: the book that inspires or touches them, that set their artistic, moral or intellectual compass. In short, the book they would recommend to everyone. Interview: Hassnae Bouazza.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Johan Fretz's road trip through Surinam, Onder de Paramariboom, and film

    Before writer, toriman and newspaper columnist Johan Fretz went to cabaret school, he studied at the film academy - so we can trust in his love of film! Inspired by his literary work, especially his Surinam travel tale Onder de Paramariboom (Under the Paramari Tree), moderator Gerlinda Heywegen presents film clips to invite him to tell us about two countries and perhaps even the whole world.

    Fretz on Surinam: "Suddenly the shutters flew open. How incredible that there seems to be a whole world there. And where they speak Dutch, more beautifully and with more love than in the land of its origin."

    Fretz' novel Onder de Paramariboom was published in 2018, a hilarious and disarming road trip through Surinam. It is a search for roots and identity for someone of mixed blood, but above all about a reconciliation between a mother and a son. The book won the Bookseller's Prize in 2019. Fretz created a solo performance based on the book, which he toured through the Netherlands and which was nominated for the cabaret prize Neerlands Hoop.

  • Winternachten 2020 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    Unmasking Colonial Myths

    Are we dealing with stubbornly clinging myths about colonial times? Writers Reggie Baay, Cynthia McLeod and Johan Fretz discuss colonial myths under the guidance of moderator Sarah Sluimer, with an introductory reading by Nelleke Noordervliet.

    The romantic idea lives on that the Netherlands introduced civilization and welfare as a colonizer. But wasn't something specific taken away before that, namely spices and raw materials, at the cost of the local population? Do these myths manifest themselves only in our thoughts or do they also creep into our literature? Have we learned from our history?