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About Crossing Border

Crossing Border is an international festival for literature and music. It was founded in The Hague in 1992.

The festival brought two forms of art together that used to be considered poles apart: modern literature and popular music. But, that was not the only thing Crossing Border pioneered – it provided a platform where borders between readers, writers and musicians disappeared. A free state for speech and music.

Crossing Border is an adventurous festival, with a staggering international line-up of contemporary writers, spoken word artists, storytellers and musicians. Household names next to raw talent. It also offers regular crossover programs with other disciplines such as modern art, theatre or film.

Under Crossing Border’s umbrella, the organization also organizes other, mainly literary, events throughout the year. Take BorderKitchen, where renowned writers offer an inside to their practice. The international talent program for talented authors and translators The Chronicles and the annual conspiracy of national and international book professionals The Addict. Crossing Border regularly works with different partners on special programs as a co-organizer or programmer.

Crossing Border is organized by Stichting Other World Productions, a nonprofit organization.

Past artists


Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Salman Rushdie, Germaine Greer, Gerard Reve, Lou Reed, PJ Harvey, Elmore Leonard, Karl Ove Knausgard, Marilynne Robinson, James Salter, David Byrne, Dave Eggers, Michel Houellebecq, Denis Johnson, David Sedaris, Anne Enright, Michael Cunningham, Louis Theroux, Per Olov Enquist, Jay McInerney, Michael Madsen, Almudena Grandes, Elias Khoury, Michael Chabon, Lydia Davis, Robert D. Kaplan, Edna O’Brien, Ian McEwan, Isabel Allende, László Krasznahorkai, Sally Rooney, John Irving, Madeleine Albright, Robert D. Kaplan, Colson Whitehead, Hilary Mantel, Sandro Veronesi


David Sylvian, Emmylou Harris, Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Tweedy, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Neil Finn, Van Dyke Parks, Daniel Johnston, Salif Keita, Ted Joans, Boubacar Traoré, Arrested Development, Bettye Lavette, Joan As Police Woman, Anouar Brahem, Fleet Foxes, The Black Keys, Monsters of Folk, Steve Earle, John Grant, The National, St. Vincent, Andrew Bird, Patti Smith, Paul Buchanan, Kate Tempest

See our past highlights


1991, a small bookstore in Amsterdam. Owner Louis Behre, born and bred in The Hague, stocks the most wonderful books, and writers visit his shop on a daily basis, including Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog.They are constantly 'borrowing' books, which they rarely return. Luckily, Louis thinks of a solution: what if he were to organize an event? By way of compensation, the writers could read from their work for free. The first event was realized soon after, laying the foundation for Crossing Border Festival, which, for the first few years, took place on the beach and in squats all over The Hague.


Behre’s events soon became a true phenomenon. From the mid-1990s onwards, Crossing Border pioneered the combination of international literature and music. The reason was simple: Louis enjoyed them equally and was reluctant to choose. So why not do both? Today, it’s the most natural thing in the world, but inviting, say, Lou Reed as well as Norman Mailer to the same festival was a completely novel idea at the time. In fact, that’s Crossing Border's key aim as a festival: venturing outside the boundaries of the familiar, with plenty of space for born storytellers, young or old, whether they write with a pen, a guitar or both – everyone is welcome.

Nowadays, the festival is run by Michel Behre. That’s right: Louis' son. After a glorious youth spent working as a courier, ticket inspector, barkeeper and jack-of-all-trades he’s now in charge – although Louis will always be involved in organizing his brainchild. Those simple evenings of yore have grown into more than just a festival. The people who organize Crossing Border are also behind the BorderKitchen evenings and many other literary events. The annual highpoint is still the festival, and in 2019 it will once again be the place to be for those hoping to discover brilliant literature and music from all over the world.

Year round programme

During the year we organize and collaborate in many, mostly literary, events. The two main events are BorderKitchen and Border Sessions.

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2003 -

BorderKitchen is the year-round kitchen of the literature and music festival Crossing Border; Since 2002 it introduces internationally acclaimed authors and promising literary talent live on stage to an audience of book lovers.

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Border Sessions

2012 -

A yearly 4 day cross-disciplinary tech-culture festival on the intersection of tech, art and society.

Past Artists Douglas Rushkoff, Andrew Keen, Paul Collier, Robert D. Kaplan, Peter Sunde, Gaia Vince, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Paul Mason and many more.

Special festival programmes

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The Chronicles

2007 -

Paul Auster once said ‘Translators are the shadow heroes of literature’

The Chronicles is a talent development program during Crossing Border for young authors and translators - in residence. With a daily festival blog by the authors that’s translated ‘live’ to several languages. The program also entails a masterclass about translating literature, supported by the Letterenfonds and Vertalershuis. The Master Literary Translation by the University of Utrecht is a partner.

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The Addict

2003 -

A yearly informal network event of national and international publishers, agents and other book professionals. We welcome 250+ professionals from more than 15 countries. A selection of Dutch talented authors, who perform at the festival, will present themselves to international publishers.

‘The Addict removes the formal elements of a conventional book fair and instead provides an immersive experience at the leading edge of literary and pop culture' - Lee Brackstone, Independent publisher.

Past events

1991 - 1992 Zuiderstrand Festival

1997 - 1998 Crossing Border meets North Sea Jazz

2002 - 2008 The Music in My Head

2005 - 2010 Het Voorwoord

2009 - 2013 Crossing Border Antwerpen

2010 - 2012 Walk the Line Festival

2012 - 2013 Crossing Border Enschede

2017 Words on Fire Maastricht

Check out our archive

Crossing Border

Organised by

Stichting Other World Productions

Kerkstraat 11

2514 KP Den Haag


Michel Behre


Milena Ninova

Communication & visualization

Megan Lloyd

Communication & marketing

Fabiene Soeters


Noortje Ankersmit

Communication & PR

Sara Halbertsma

Logistics & transport

Remco Cornelissen

Technical production

Elinor Archer

Coördinator The Chronicles

Maaike Pereboom

Coördinator The Addict

Louis Behre

Programmeur Speciale projecten

Supervisory Board

Louis Pirenne

Kiran Sukul

Gwen Peroti

Michaël Roumen