Books and trains

Enjoy reading on the train

Reading and trains is a good combination. Neurologist Barend van Kooten says: 'Train reading tickles your brain and keeps your brain active!' In an article op, he explains that train travel itself is healthy for your brain. That reading is precious and that if you combine the two, you are absolutely on the right track!
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Especially on long journeys, reading a book is wonderful. It can take a while for a story to get going and then it’s nice to have the time. Of course, you can also listen to books or podcasts on the way and let the length depend on the duration of the journey.

One-way Rotterdam to Antwerp on Intercity Brussels? Listen to an hour-long episode from the podcast series ‘Expevaring voor Beginners'. From Utrecht to Paris? Then pick an audiobook. If you are a Dutch library member, you can listen to books for free via the 'Online library.'

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Read to prepare for your journey and read while travelling

Speaking of the library, you can also go there for travel guides as well as novels set in the place of your destination. Travel guides are useful for inspiration and handy tips. 'What are good hotels, where can I eat well'. But books can tell you even more about the history of the city. The ambience.

Take Paris as an example: Philip Freriks has written interesting books about the city. 'The Meridian', for example, describes a walk through Paris along the copper plates found in the road surface. While reading, you learn much about the city's culture and history.

But a novel such as 'Luister', by Sacha Bronwasser can also be an inspiration. Set in Paris, the book describes different periods, giving an insight into the history and lives of residents of the city. You can get extra excited by reading a novel at home before you go. But it is also very nice to read such a book once there. On a terrace in the Latin Quarter, enjoying 'une tasse de café' in the morning sun. While French is spoken around you, the book will come to life.

Looking for a book set in the city of your choice? Ask your bookseller for advice. Or consult the Volkskrant website where Jet Steinz shows locations with their corresponding books. The latest books are not on there, but you can find plenty of reading tips.
Reading on location (Dutch)

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Visit authors on location

Of course, you can also visit the homes or graves of the writers you admire during your city break. We offer you tips:


On writerspath, you can find a map of London with houses, memorials and museums of writers such as Dickens, Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming. The website 'hebban' features a literary trip through London with great tips on writers and bookstores.


Going to Paris? The city has wonderful libraries you can visit. The Pére Lachaise cemetery has the graves of the likes of Proust, Oscar Wilde and Balzac. The home of Victor Hugo is located on 6 Place des Vosges. You can find even more tips at the website onbookstreet. Are you more into comics? 'Asterix and the Wreath of Caesar' is set mainly in Lutetia, the ancient name for the city of Paris.

Grave Oscar Wilde

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The website In de voetsporen van schrijvers shows not only Dutch but also Flemish writers. In the menu under 'province', the Flemish provinces are at the top. You can download various walks in Belgian cities there. You can find a literary trip through Brussels on the 'hebban' website. Comic book lovers can indulge in the Brussels comic book museum and admire comics on the walls of the city.


On the 'hebban' you can find a literary trip through Berlin. You will find the Grimm brothers' grave in this city. Michael Bienert gives eeft inliterary guided tour in Berlin. He does this in German.
Do you like Thomas Mann? He as born in Lübeck and can be found at the Buddenbrook Haus, which is well worth a visit! And want to visit the graves of Thomas Mann or Herman Hesse? They went to live in Switzerland and were also buried there.

One last tip

Do you ever think: I wish there was a website where I could read what people think of a particular book? Like you have IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes for movies? Well there is!
The Dutch Stichting Collectieve propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek, CPNB, has launched the website where readers can post their opinions on books. It is a 'for readers by readers' website. Apart from reviews, you can find information about reading clubs and writers. In English there is