Culture creator Jochem Knoef, Our Family in Leeuwarden (Stjoer) and Leeuwarden Unesco City of Literature are going to welcome new residents who arrived in Leeuwarden through the new Civic Integration Act with new multilingual literature. They are doing so for the programme Over de Drempel (‘Over the Threshold’), a project aimed at tackling loneliness in the municipality of Leeuwarden. The new multilingual literature is inspired by philosopher and poet, Rumi.

New multilingual literature and music

Associations, memories and connections of newcomers to Leeuwarden are transformed into new multilingual literature under the guidance of word artists from Leeuwarden. The universal language of music connects the (new) texts in different languages. In doing so, Now is the time to say new things shows that the new inhabitants of Leeuwarden are not alone, but have a connection with all those who have travelled the same or similar journey.

Inspired by Rumi

Now is the time to say new things takes as its starting point the thoughts and poems of philosopher and poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1217-1273). The Persian poet is considered one of the most important interpreters of mystical poetry in that his poetry remains remarkably topical. So topical that even rapper Jay-Z and singer Beyoncé have named one of their children after him.

We choose a poet close to the target audience because mastering a new language, trying to understand another culture and a limited social network already makes things so difficult. Moreover, Rumi’s work is known worldwide, both in the (Middle) East and the West. This makes it a good foundation for a shared, common experience between newcomers and residents of Leeuwarden. It also means an opportunity to make the cultural heritage from their country of origin their own, or to playfully place it within and connect it to the new (Frisian-Dutch) culture.

About Over de drempel

In Leeuwarden and the surrounding villages, culture is used to tackle loneliness. Over de drempel mainly focuses on doing things together. With a positive approach, the programme looks at solutions rather than the problems associated with loneliness.