Project "Lezen zonder grenzen/Reading Without Borders" (Netherlands)

Many themes of modern young people's literature are interesting for school pupils, whatever their nationality or mother tongue. Young people's books are an ideal medium for familiarising young people with foreign languages. But how can we get them to the pupils?

The project "Reading Without Borders" offers innovations for Dutch and German pupils in the junior grade and for their language teachers who wish to deal with young people's books in Dutch or German lessons.

The project arose from a collaborative venture between "Biblionet" Groningen, the Goethe-Institut Amsterdam and the Ostfriesische Landschaft Aurich with the Landschaftsbibliothek and the Regionales Pädagogisches Zentrum. The project was also supported by the Nederlandse Taalunie, the Stichting Lezen (Netherlands) and the Ems Dollart Region. Their common goal is to proceed with the ongoing dismantling of the German-Dutch language barrier. Major challenges here are the great differences in the tradition and popularity of the subjects of German in Dutch schools and Dutch in German schools.

Two focal elements

The project has two focal elements: a bilingual website and boxes of books which can be loaned out for teaching purposes and which contain young people's books in German and Dutch. The colourful, interactive website Lezen zonder grenzen / Lesen ohne Grenzen is aimed primarily at teachers and pupils learning Dutch or German as a foreign language, but it also stimulates all other visitors to explore. It is bilingual in structure: with a Dutch part for German teachers and learners of Dutch and a German part for Dutch teachers and learners of German. Current books for young people are presented. For the sake of clarity, they are divided into headings. The pupils and teachers have a wealth of choices between: love, magic, training, family, poetry and fairy-tales. For teachers the website provides in addition suggestions for lessons and tips on how to encourage reading. They concern, for example, the difficult problem of how to instil in young people an enthusiasm for poetry or how new media, such as beamers or the Internet, can be used in the classroom.
Pupils are provided with a platform for publishing and exchanging their views on books they have read.

The so-called Book Boxes are a further major element of the project: It is possible to order a selection of Dutch and Flemish young people's books for use in Dutch classes in German schools. They are placed in order according to learning level and include modern young people.
Related links


You voted: This is our multilingual ambassador!

11 Questions on Multilingualism

Successful Lithuanians and Germans tell about learning languages, language in daily life and multilingualism in Lithuania and Germany.


copyright: Europäische Kommission
Under the patronage of Leonard Orban, Member of the European Commission responsible for multilingualism