Departing Writers Unlimited director Ton van de Langkruis awarded with Stadspenning (City Medal)
On 1 April 2020 Ton van de Langkruis will leave as director of Writers Unlimited, the foundation that organises the Winternachten international literature festival and monthly literary evenings in The Hague.
When he announced his departure, on 15 January during the opening night of the 25th festival edition in Theater aan het Spui in The Hague, Van de Langkruis received the 'Stadspenning' (City Medal) from Alderman Robert van Asten 'for his unceasing commitment to the cultural life of The Hague and to Writers Unlimited and Winternachten in particular'. Van de Langkruis founded the festival in 1995 and has been its director ever since. After the festival the board of Writers Unlimited will start the procedure for the recruitment of his successor.
Robert van Asten, Alderman for Mobility and Culture of the Municipality of The Hague, said in his speech at the presentation of the 'Stadspenning' (City Medal) to Ton van de Langkruis: "Your keen eye, your flawless sense of the spirit of the times, your ability to always renew and to seek connections have contributed to Winternachten becoming an extremely strong brand at home and abroad".
Farah Karimi, chairman of the board of Writers Unlimited on the departure of Ton van de Langkruis: "For twenty-five years Ton has worked with passion, vision and perseverance on his ideal to offer writers, poets and artists from all over the world a stage; to bring them into contact with each other and with the Dutch public for inspiring discussions on a wide range of socially relevant topics. After 25 years it is unthinkable to start a new year in The Hague without the international literature festival Winternachten. We, the city of The Hague and the literary world far beyond the Netherlands owe Ton a debt of gratitude".
Ton van de Langkruis (The Hague, 1957) is founder and director of Writers Unlimited. From 1981 to 1991 he worked in the theatre as a dramaturge, director, reviewer and tour organiser. In 1992 he organised the Samuel Beckett Festival in The Hague, a collaborative project of the Hague art institutions. In 1995 he organized the Festival Indië/Indonesië, in which the arts from Indonesia and the Netherlands came together, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia. This event, ending in the 'Indische Winternacht', was the start of the Winternachten Festival, the international literature festival of The Hague.
Under the leadership of Ton van de Langkruis the Winternachten festival grew strongly. What started in 1995 as an evening on Indonesian literature, is now an influential literary event with more than one hundred and twenty authors from home and abroad, and around five thousand visitors. Van de Langkruis has successfully worked with many national and local organisations, theatres, libraries, museums and schools. The jubilee edition 2020 will take place at sixteen cultural and educational venues throughout The Hague.
In addition to the festival, Van de Langkruis started organising monthly themed discussions with writers, poets, scientists and journalists from the Netherlands and abroad in the Central Library of The Hague, among other places. Between 2001 and 2016 he organised foreign writers' tours with local and Dutch authors to Indonesia, North Africa, Lebanon, Suriname, the Antilles and South Africa, among others. He also took the initiative for the educational project 'Spot on Young Poets', in which hundreds of pupils from secondary schools in The Hague are taught poetry writing and recitation every year.