January 22, 2020

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Dear Rachel

‘Dear Rachel’ in race for title Best Book of The Hague 2019

Reporter and the most known diplomatic editor in the Netherlands, Leo van der Velde not only writes about diplomatic and society news but also a weekly letter in AD Haagsche Courant to granddaughter Rachel (8) about The Hague then and now. On the launch of Lieve Rachel, his new book, last November in Pagan Bookshop, Rachel van der Velde received the first copy from grandpa Leo.

This month Paagman bookstore have made a selection of 12 of the best books published in 2019. ‘Dear Rachel’ is on this shortlist now in third place. You can still vote until January 30 at paagman.nl/besteboekdenhaag2019.

Well-known writers such as Geert Mak, Oek de Jong and Peter Buwalda are on the list. But also three other Hague writers and an illustrator compete for the prize. Similarly, the books Indorock by Vanja van der Leeden and Blonde Dolly by Tomas Ross have also been nominated. 

Leo van der Velde and Rachel during the launch of Dear Rachel

Leo’s successful column have been bundled by AD Haagsche Courant’s publisher, together with previously unpublished stories and photos, in the book ‘Dear Rachel’. In the columns of Dear Rachel a world that we don’t longer know comes to life. Leo talks to Rachel about the post-war years, in which most people initially only have a radio and later when the first television broadcasts start. The good old days when the youth went on dance lessons and students went to the Cineac cinema to skip class.

His uncles smelled of aftershave like Old Spice and Tabac. The big fire at K&W, Senfs Flea Market in the Houtrusthallen, the Pasar Malam there and performances by the Rolling Stones in The Hague come along in 52 episodes.

Eduardus Slootweg, from the European Parliament waiting for Rachel and Leo to sign his book.

In an every ‘popular historical’ story, he takes his granddaughter by the hand to tell her about the past and also to listen to her daily experiences.

“I still write a full-page letter every week on friday to Rachel, in which I take her to The Hague from my younger years,” says van der Velde. “Wandering through the city with her and her little sister Chlöe is the best thing I have ever have done.” According to colleagues, his section is among the best read and highly appreciated among readers of the newspaper. 

Dear Rachel with grandpa Leo.

In short, a wonderful book about the unique atmosphere of The Hague, Leo van Der Velde and Rachel discovering, for all mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers, children and grandchildren. Van der Velde has previously written paperbacks for Fuiven & Kuiven and Happen & Stappen.

Live Rachel Price € 21.95, 228 pages, ISBN 9789082495133.
For information about the book and shipment: John Nieuwenhuizen, mail to john@hncom.nl or call 06-17110758. 

Lieve Rachel a Bestseller: paagman.nl/besteboekdenhaag2019

Photographers Frank Jansen (bookcover) and Pascale van Reijn (PAS7875 and PAS 8053).

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