5th to 12th Century
Hebban olla vogala
Poetry was written by a monk in a convent, in Rochester, England around 1100.The text could equally well be Old English, more specifically Old Kentish - at that time Old (West) Dutch and Old English were very similar.
The Rhinelandic Rhyming Bible
Another important source for Old Dutch this is a verse translation of biblical histories, attested only in a series of fragments, which was composed in a mixed dialect containing Low German , Old Dutch and High German (Rhine-Franconian) elements.
12th to The Beginning of 15th Century
- Beatrice of Nazareth (1200–1268) was the first known prose writer in the Dutch language, the author of the Seven Ways of Holy Love.
- John of Ruysbroeck (1294 –1381) followed Beatrice in taking prose out of the economic means and using it for literary purposes.
The End of the 15th to 17th Century
- Philips van Marnix (1538–1598) wrote the lyrics to Wilhemus van Nassouwe. Marnix occupied the last years of his life in preparing a Dutch version of the Bible.
- Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert (1522–1590) was Holland’s first humanist writer. In 1586 he produced his original masterpiece, the Zedekunst ("Art of Ethics").
- Also important is Joost van den Vondel (1587–1679). In 1625 he published his tragedy of Palamedes, Murdered Innocence.
17th to 18th Century
- A writer who revived a special interest in literature was Justus van Effen (1684–1735). Van Effen wrote in French for a great part of his literary career but he soon started to write in English for a Dutch magazine “Hollandische spectator”
- Elizabeth Wolff (1738–1804) and Agatha Deken (1741–1804) are also of great importance in this period. Sara Burgerhart, their first novel, was published in 1782.
The 19th Century
- Willem Bilderdijk (1756–1831) was the most prominent writer.
- Hiëronymus van Alphen (1746–1803) is best remembered for the verses he wrote for children.
- Nicolaas Beets (1814–1903) wrote large quantities of sermons and poetry, but is mainly remembered today for the prose sketches of Dutch life in Camera Obscura.
- One of the most important writers of that time is Johan Huizinga, who was known abroad and who was translated in different languages.
- Some other big names of that time are Hendrik Marsman, Adriaan Roland Holst, J. van Oudshoorn, Arthur van Schendel, Hendrik de Vries.
- After WWII writing subjects/topics became more open - there have been published books about sexuality, physicality and especially the war (Anne Frank Diary).
Important Dutch romans these days are:
- Tirza from Arnon Grunberg, 2006
- Het schervengericht from A.F.Th. van der Heijden, 2007
- Agaat from Marlene van Niekerk, 2004
- Casino from Marja Brouwers, 2004
- De asielzoeker from Arnon Grunberg, 2003
- Siegfried from Harry Mulisch, 2001