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Crossing Border is one of the oldest and most innovative music and literature festivals in Europe, and the leading international festival of its kind in The Netherlands.

Since 1992, we have been welcoming the biggest names in music and literature, as well as showcasing new and exciting talent from The Netherlands and beyond.

We create a space where the borders between audiences, artists and disciplines disappear, and where visitors are invited to venture outside the boundaries of the familiar.

Every November, the historic city centre of The Hague is taken over by more than 80 contemporary writers, poets, musicians, spoken-word performers and other storytellers in 12+ venues, fusing genres and art forms for an unforgettable festival experience.

International music and literary stars including Salman Rushdie, Sally Rooney, Ed Sheeran, Nick Cave, and Hilary Mantel have all stepped onto the stage at Crossing Border over the last three decades. But we are equally excited about the raw talent we help promote, welcoming artists from every background in an inclusive space giving voice to diverse experience.

From the world of literature, guests have included:
Isabel Allende, Michael Cunningham, Dave Eggers, Allen Ginsberg, Germaine Greer, Michel Houellebecq, Karl Ove Knausgård, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Marilynne Robinson, Sally Rooney, Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, Colson Whitehead

Crossing Border also features an extensive live music programme, often fusing genres with poets giving readings accompanied by sound artists, and musicians presenting their literary projects. Here are some of the top-class musical artists who have joined us over the years.

Coldplay, Boubacar Traoré, David Byrne, Nick Cave, Fleet Foxes, Bob Geldof, PJ Harvey, Emmylou Harris, Lou Reed, Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran, St. Vincent, Patti Smith, Kate Tempest, The National, The Black Keys, Rufus Wainwright

"It was the first European arts festival I’d attended, and since then I’ve never been to a better one, anywhere. It was electric, eclectic, fun-loving, and highly democratic."

- Dave Eggers

"For many, many writers, musicians and artists, Crossing Border Festival IS Holland and the Netherlands – it is what we associate the country with: an engine of meeting and discoveries and memorable concerts and book events.”

- Alan Warner


It all began in 1991, in a small bookstore in Amsterdam

Bookseller Louis Behre had a small Amsterdam shop that was always well-stocked with a diverse range of titles from around the world, and the eclectic selection and welcoming vibe made it a favourite haunt of writers including the Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog.


Crossing Border is organized by Stichting Other World Productions, a non-profit organization which aims to promote literature and reading through compelling live events in which audiences can interact with writers from all over the world.

In addition to the main Crossing Border festival, we organize other literary events throughout the year including the regular BorderKitchen and the new literary festival for upcoming talent, You’ll Have to Scream LOUDER.

Past events include Het Voorwoord, Walk the Line Festival, The Music in My Head, Crossing Border Antwerpen, Crossing Border Enschede, and Words on Fire (Crossing Border Maastricht).

Special Festival Events

The Chronicles

Paul Auster once said “translators are the shadow heroes of literature” – but often they do not get the recognition they deserve for their craft.

So Crossing Border is delighted to collaborate on The Chronicles, a talent development program for young writers and translators in residence.

Each day of the festival, an up-and-coming writer works on a blog of that day’s events, with their words simultaneously translated live into several languages.

The aim is to showcase the skills and talent of both the writer and translator and show how collaboration underpins this vital process.

The Chronicles is linked to a masterclass in literary translation supported by the Letterenfonds and the Vertalershuis and with the Master’s in Literary Translation at Utrecht University and the Master’s in Translation at KU Leuven.

The Addict

The Addict is an informal networking event for national and international publishers, agents and other book professionals, which takes place at the same time as Crossing Border. It began life organically eight years ago, when the many international guests from the publishing world sensed a great moment to get together in a relaxed atmosphere.

Each year, around 250+ professionals from more than 15 countries join us for The Addict, with word-of-mouth recommendations making it an essential date on the calendar of leading figures in the publishing industry.

“The Addict removes the formal elements of a conventional book fair and instead provides an immersive experience at the leading edge of literary and pop culture.”
– Lee Brackstone, Independent Publisher

European Literature Prize

The European Literature Prize is awarded annually to the best contemporary European novel published in Dutch translation. The prize is unique in that both author and translator are honored, and the award ceremony takes place during Crossing Border.

Partners of the European Literature Prize are the Netherlands Foundation for Literature, Spui25, De Groene Amsterdammer, Athenaeum bookshop and Crossing Border.

Year round events


Throughout the year, Crossing Border hosts internationally acclaimed authors and new literary talent at our BorderKitchen talks and events, which take place in venues across The Hague. Hosting at least five events a year since 2002, BorderKitchen keeps the unique spirit of Crossing Border alive beyond the annual festival in November.

Past BorderKitchen highlights include:
Salman Rushdie, Isabel Allende, Michael Palin, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dave Eggers, Stephen Fry, Karin Slaughter, Madeleine Allbright, Karl Ove Knausgard, Orhan Pamuk, Paul Auster, Sir Ian Kershaw, Ian McEwan and many more

You’ll have to scream LOUDER

A new alternative literary festival in The Hague, You’ll Have to Scream LOUDER brings together the best in Dutch and Flemish talent, whether it be in poetry, propose, spoken word performance or music. It runs alongside the regular Crossing Border programming, sharing its ethos of promoting new talent and celebrating diverse voices working in the region.


During the year Crossing Border collaborates with

Contact details

Stichting Other World Productions


Kerkstraat 11, 2514 KP Den Haag

Telephone number

+31 (0)70 346 2355




Michel Behre, Director

Mark Boulas, Digital communication

Maren Flunkert, Communication & Website

Theo Paijmans, Written content

Louis Behre, Programmer special events

Rebecca van Vuuren, Communication & PR

Sara Halbertsma, Logistics & Transport

Remco Cornelissen, Technical Production

Fabiene Soeters, Production

Ryan Patterson, Production & Artist management

Anna Eble, Coordinator The Chronicles

Elinor Archer, Education Coordinator

Mina Javadian, Guest coordinator The Addict

Mara Wasiuta, Coordinator booksales


Louis Pirenne, Chairman

Michaël Roumen, Treasurer

Kiran Sukul, Secretary

Gwen Peroti, General member



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