Coming Tuesday is King’s Day in the Netherlands. Did you know that William of Orange, who is often called the Dutch “father of the fatherland”, had an interest in the royal elections in Poland in 1575? He may even have considered making a bid for the Polish throne himself. At the time, William was leading the Dutch in a war against Spain. In March 1575, his councillor Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, visited Cracow, where he met with the Polish nobleman and influential Calvinist Piotr Zborowski. The Polish throne was at that time vacant, and preparations were being made for the election of a new monarch. Zborowski wrote to William, praising his struggle “for religion and for the freedom of your fatherland”, and explaining how Marnix’s visit had been essential for “our actions”. It is not known what these “actions” were, however. Perhaps Marnix was meant to inquire about William’s chances, should he submit his candidacy for the Polish throne. As King of Poland, William’s odds in the fight against Spain would increase significantly. On the other hand, William may not have considered entering the elections at all. Perhaps Marnix simply wished to offer support to the Polish Calvinists’ “actions”, trying to influence the royal elections in the hope of gaining the favour of the future king. In any case, William did not make an official bid for Polish power. Instead, Stephen Báthory was elected King of Poland in 1576.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 13. For more information, see this previous post.
Jaag je ploeg over de botten van de doden, the Dutch translation of Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk, has been nominated for the Europese Literatuurprijs 2021, an award for the best European novel published in Dutch translation in 2020. But did you know that Tokarczuk already has a close relationship with the Netherlands? In early 2007, for example, she was Writer in Residence of the Dutch Foundation for Literature in Amsterdam. She performed research there for her book Bieguni (translated in Dutch as De rustelozen), which won the Polish Nike Award in 2008 and the Man Booker International Prize in 2018. Discussing her book, Tokarczuk said that it “incorporates elaborate details about the history of anatomy, a science that finds its foundation in the Netherlands of the seventeenth century. Because of my residency in Amsterdam, I was able to check all kinds of details.” Tokarczuk’s research led her to several of Amsterdam’s museums, antiquarian bookshops and the reconstructed anatomical theatre of the university in Leiden. “Looking back,” Tokarczuk wrote, “this has been a very creative, intensive and good time for me, for which I am very thankful.” In addition, Tokarczyk was Writer in Residence at the NIAS in 2009.
Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych was translated into Dutch by Charlotte Pothuizen and Dirk Zijlstra. Bieguni was translated by Greet Pauwelijn.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 12.