New Dutch Bible Widely Publicised through Successful Campaign

Published 31 December 2004  |  
The United Bible Societies (UBS) has reported the successful story of publicising the new translated Dutch Bible, which will become the standard version for the entire Dutch-speaking region in Europe.

Even though Dutch is not one of the more commonly spoken European languages, it is expected to benefit some 22 million people in Europe - 16 million in the Netherlands and six million in Flanders. Apart from the Netherlands and Belgium, Dutch is also an official language for Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, South Africa and Namibia.

The Roman Catholic Bible Foundation and the Flemish Bible Foundation had joined in partnership for the translation project which has taken as long as ten years to complete.

To ensure a high accuracy, sample editions of selected books were offered to the public, to universities and to a specially selected team of reviewer-proofreaders, including many Flemish.

The new translation, De Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling (NBV), is in fact the first official translation to be published since 1951. The Netherlands Bible Society and the Flanders Bible Society hope that it will become the standard version for the entire Dutch-speaking region in Europe.

Pascal Lauwaert, Director of the Flanders Bible Society addressed on the overall importance of the whole project for the region, "The three significant elements are its inter-confessional nature, its highly praised literary qualities and the synergy and close partnership it has spawned between scholars and the Bible Societies in the Netherlands and Flanders."

The marketing campaign was carefully planned to publicise the unique Dutch Bible. First of all, an official presentation to Queen Beatrix in the De Doelen concert hall, Rotterdam, was held on October 27. The Belgian Cardinal Daneels was invited as the keynote speaker, therefore bringing wide media coverage.

Two days later there was a launch in Antwerp for the Belgian market. The Bishop of Antwerp and the six representatives of the churches in Belgium were presented with copies of the new translation at a thanksgiving ceremony in Antwerp cathedral. Eight hundred people attended the service.

Additionally, in the first two weeks of November, the NBV Bible was being exhibited at the annual Antwerp Bookfair, and the demand for information about the NBV there was high. The event became more meaningful as Antwerp was in fact one of Western Europe's acknowledged centres of Bible printing in the sixteenth century along with Geneva.

Paul Van Grembergen, the Flanders Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs, was officially presented with his own copy of the new translation at the bookfair, and one of Flanders' most accomplished actors read excerpts from it.

The marketing campaign proved to be fruitful and it has attracted wide attention both from the media and many Church denominations. Lauwaert celebrated the success, "This level of media interest in the Bible - not least from the secular press - has never been seen in Flanders."

Currently, the main focus of the Bible Society is to bring the new translation closer to ordinary people. The Flemish Bible Society has therefore produced a series of posters, featuring eye-catching texts, which can be now be seen in the windows of homes and in hospitals, schools and churches across Flanders.

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