Facts and Figures

On this page you can find visualisations depicting the various aspects of the translation flows from the Dutch language area to the Czech language area. The visualisations are based on data available in the Digital Library and Bibliography for Literature in Translation and Adaptation (DLBT).

They illustrate the number of translations of Dutch-language titles per year, the authors most translated into Czech, the most successful titles, publishers and translators. Although Dutch has been regularly translated into Czech since 1846, the choice was made to take the last century, from 1921 onwards, as the period under examination. It is clear that the average production has increased in recent years. Nevertheless, there is still some potential for Czech publishers and translators to expand their activities in the field of Dutch-language literature.

Dutch and Flemish Literature in Czech language (1921-)

Based on the data in DLBT, it is clear that there were some peak periods for translations from Dutch into Czech. These were first of all the second half of the 1930s until 1941, then the years immediately after the liberation from German occupation (1946-1948) and around the year 2000. In the last decades the average number of editions is clearly higher.

The most translated authors in Czech language

Looking at the publications of the past 100 years, Felix Timmermans is by far the most popular author, followed at some distance by Johan Fabricius and Antoon Coolen. In general, it can be said that middle brow authors are more popular than high brow authors.

The results in the figure are due as well to the system in the 40 years of the Communist period (1949-1989), when publishing houses rather preferred politically 'harmless' titles that were popular with the readers and that had a solid tradition in the field. Novels of Timmermans, Coolen and Fabricius were such books.

The fact that no authors of real high brow literature appear in the overview does not mean that this literature does not play a role in Czech translations. On the contrary: high brow literature from the Netherlands and Flanders is also readily available in Czech language, but in less publications. Authors such as Multatuli, W. F. Hermans, Jan Wolkers, but as well recent writers like Arnon Grunberg, Dmitri Verhulst, Annelies Verbeke and Niña Weijers are present in several translations, albeit in lesser numbers than the here presented authors. In recent decades publishing houses such as Odeon, Mladá fronta or Argo have made efforts to build up their own body of titels translated from Dutch.



The most successfull titles in Czech language


This chart shows the most successfull titles. The first place is for the Diary of Anne Frank that has been publishe din several translations since 1956. The book Rembrandt by the American writer of Dutch origin Hendrik Willem van Loon and the Czech translation of Johan Fabricius‘ De scheepsjongens van Bontekoe are evergreens. Although Czech publishers keep trying to promote authors from the Dutch language area, no Czech publisher has produced a real bestseller.




If titles sell well, a second edition is published at the most, in some cases liker e.g. Kluun, a third edition is possible. That is a pity because a bestseller would certainly change the image of literature from the Netherlands and Flanders in Czechia. The five editions of the Bratrstvo Šambaly (Dutch original: De broederschap van Shamballa) concerns a rather periphere title published by the Rozekruis Pers in Haarlem, that is however among occult circles very popular. The high number of editions of the story Vánoční podobenství, the Czech translation of Felix Timmermans‘ story Driekoningentryptiek is due to the policy of the translator Otto F. Babler to sell such translations to several periodicals at once.




The most important publishers in Czechia

This chart depicting the most successful Czech publishers differs a little bit from that of the most successful authors in Czech language. The top performersis the publisher of belletry, set up as SNKLHU (State Publishing House for Belletry, Music and Art) that was renamed in 1968 in Odeon. The house has a good tradition of focusing on "big names" in literature. Albatros is since 1949 the most important publisher of children's and youth literature, as well from the Netherlands and Flanders. Družstevní práce (Cooperative Labour) was between the World Wars the main publisher of belletry in Czechia.

DILIA is since 1949 the official (semi)state literary agency but publishes as well theatre texts. The last publisher, Mladá fronta, started in 1946 as a publishing house of the Communist Youth Federation but developed itself after 1968 into a true literary house.

The most important translators in Czech Republic

Before World War II, Ludmila (for short Lída, as she mostly noted her name herself) Faltová (1890-1944) was by far the most important translator of Dutch-language literature. Many of her translations are reprinted even in an actualised version today. During the Communist period, but as well in the first decades after the Velvet Revolution, Olga Krijtová (1931-2013) took in fact Faltová's place as most important translator. Krijtová had the advantage to be as well the head of the Dutch section at Charles University. It is no coincidence that several of her students became good literary translators of Dutch-language literature themselves.

Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková (b. 1972) is the best former student of Krijtová and may be considered to be the most important translator of Dutch belletry at present, even where the Czech emigrant translator Magda de Bruin-Hüblová (b. 1959) is certainly equalling her in quality. De Bruin-Hüblová is, moreover, a very important literary critic of translated Dutch-language literature, especially in the internet periodical iLiteratura.