Illuminated book river in Utrecht begins to flow slowly; construction of installation has started

The International Literature Festival Utrecht (ILFU) starts today. The start of the festival is ushered in with the illuminated river of books that ‘flows’ through the Minrebroederstraat tonight. Construction of the installation started on Friday morning.

The Book River consists of 10,000 illuminated books, an installation created by the Spanish art collective Luzinterruptus. The installation illustrates ILFU’s theme this year: the fiction with the facts. Luzinterruptus wants to literally offer more space for fiction, namely in the middle of the street.

The installation is also intended as a silent protest against the effects of traffic and pollution on urban life, by replacing noise and pollution with words, poems, the rustle of the pages and soft light.

Street lights

The book river will be constructed on Friday and opened at 5 p.m. by alderman Eva Oosters. The lampposts in the street will go out from then on. People can walk on trails through the Book River on Friday evenings. The artwork can be visited until 3 a.m. and is free to enter.

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The ten thousand books that form the river have recently been handed in by Utrecht residents to the Utrecht Library and Kringloop de Arm. After today people can give the river books a third life, because they can take them home.


After two adjusted corona editions, the 39th edition of the International Literature Festival Utrecht can take place in full glory again in the coming weeks. The festival starts today with the illuminated book river and a Book Talk by writer Jonathan Franzen – known for the book Intersection – in the Dom Church. The NK Poetry Slam and the Utrecht Book Market on the Vredenburg are also on the agenda this weekend.

There is plenty to do during the festival for the next two weeks. There is, for example, a Book Talk with Frans de Waal, a Children’s Night of Poetry and the Young Adult event YALFU. In two weeks, the festival will conclude with The Night of Poetry in TivoliVredenburg.

Do you know the stories behind the Utrecht hospitality industry from the 20th century? Arjan den Boer and Ton van den Berg are making a book together about the disappeared catering industry from this period and need your help! Read more here and pre-order a book.

The article is in Dutch


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