Nederland en de Nobelprijs voor literatuur 1901-1965 | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5829
  • E-ISSN: 2352-118X



Since 1901 no Dutch language author has won the Nobel Prize for literature, which is surprising for a language of 22 million speakers. In how far is it possible to explain this? Whereas much research on the prize is about rumours and guessing on poetics, this article turns towards sources that have not been used systematically before: the nomination database 1901-1964 of the Nobel Prize Organisation, recently updated with the year 1965. The article first reconstructs the Swedish nomination behaviour (four winners until 1965) as a background for an analysis of which Dutch authors were nominated by which institutions, and how often. It turns out that there are strong indications for a lack of professionalization in the Dutch literary field of the period and a relatively weak institutional autonomy of the literary field within the field of power in the Netherlands of that time. Finally, this interpretation will be held against the judgments of the Nobel Committee on the nominated Dutch authors.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Dutch literary field; Nobel Committee; Nobel Prize; Nominations
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