A new translation of the Bible for Flanders and the Netherlands: 5 years of work and 12,000 changes

“It’s been a pain in the ass,” says Rieuwerd Buitenwerf, director of the NBG. “We’ve listened to readers and we’ve updated. And we have a standard edition, one with larger print for easy reading, an easy-to-carry version, one for weddings, an art edition, and also a literary-specific edition.” The NBG does not give details about the circulation figures, “but there are certainly enough in stock”. The previous Bible translation was good for two million copies. Which is a lot, of course, and that also has to do with many regular customers such as schools, universities, libraries and faith communities.

King Willem-Alexander receives the first copy of the renewed Bible. “Of course that also shows how great the importance of the Bible is, still. We are very happy and grateful that the king wants to do that.”

How important is the Bible anyway? “In the Netherlands and Flanders, the Bible is of great religious importance, perhaps the most special book people ever read. But the Bible is also of great importance to our culture: a great deal of painting, architecture, literature and so on comes directly from the Bible. You can’t overestimate its importance.”

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