Princess Laurentien's Work with Literacy and Learning

If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Princess Laurentien has started the National Reading Breakfast days with
a lecture for children at the library in Lisse today, January 19, 2011.

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 ** belga ** ppe gallery **

As a big fan of a reading, I appreciate very much the involvment of Princess Laurentien about the reading.
For the children the reading is a very important issue

Princess Laurentien inaugureated the new exhibition about Kikker (Frog) in 'the
children's book museum' in Den Haag, 20 March 2011. The Exhibition is about
Kikker, a character inspired by the children's book from Max Velthuijs for
children from 3 to 6 years.

** ppe gallery ** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 ** Pic 4 ** Pic 5 ** Pic 6 **

As to her role as chair the High Level Expert Group on Literacy Princess Laurentien
was invited to speak at the Estoril Book Prize 2011.

Laurentien and Larry King attended the dinner gala in Estoril, Portugal, yesterday, May 4th:

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 ** Pic 4 ** gallery **
Princess Laurentien,Chair of the High Level Expert group on Literacy,speeched at 13th "Volkshochschultag",Berlin thursday may 12th.

Thanks a lot lucien! I've totally forgotten that I had read about her attendance
some time ago. Her speech was entitled "Development of literacy and basic skills".
And here are some pics from yesterday.

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 ** Pic 4 ** Pic 5 ** **
Last edited by a moderator:
Princess Laurentien visits the International School of The Hague.
The princess visited the school as part of the Literacy Week. September 06, 2011

BelgaPicture - Category details
Last edited:

Princess Laurentien as chairwoman of the High Level Expert Group on Literacy visited the International
School of Den Haag for a reading event, September 6, 2011. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner
for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth was present as well.

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 ** Pic 4 ** Pic 5 ** anp gallery ** belga ** ppe gallery **
Last edited:

Princess Laurentien attended the International Literacy Day in Den Haag, today, September 8.
The Unesco has proclaimed the 8th of September to be the International Literacy Day to bring
attention to the importance of language, reading and writing.

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** ppe gallery ** anp gallery ** belga **
Last edited:

Princess Laurentien attended the closing event of the Literacy week at the theater Carre in Amsterdam,
September 10, 2011.

** ppe gallery **

Princess Laurentien attended the 31st edition of the Dutch film festival in Utrecht, September 27, 2011.
She awarded the reading and writing film award LSFA for the best movie. The purpose of the LSFA is to
use the film to reveal the invisible problem of illiteracy to a general public.

** ppe gallery **
The Princess was at the childbook party at the Lindenberg,Nijmegen today:

PPE Agency

courtesy PPE

Princess Laurentien attended the opening of the congress ''Language learning'' in Breda,
November 26, 2011. She held a speech about the langauge acquisition and the essential
role that language plays in everyday life.

** ppe gallery ** Princess Laurentien opens congres Onze Taal **
Last edited:

Princess Laurentien attended a symposium to mark the 65th anniversary of The Dutch National Association
of General Practitioners in Den Haag, today, December 2nd. She received a copy of the toolkit '''Dealing with
low literacy in general practice''.

** ppe gallery **
Last edited:

Princess Laurentien attended the symposium ''Promotion of reading: the library does" to mark
the departure of the chairman of the public library, Prof. E. Jurgens, in Amsterdam today,
January 26, 2012.

** ppe gallery ** anp gallery ** belga **
I love Princess Laurentien's enthusiasm for literacy, se seems so genuine about it!

Princess Laurentien attended the presentation of the National Literacy Award 2012 in Duinrell, Wassenaar today, September 8, 2012.
The literacy award is for innovative projects which contribute to help against illiteracy. September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by the UNESCO in 1965.

** ppe gallery ** anp gallery **
Daily portuguese newspaper Público has an interview with the princess in its today's edition. The princess was in Lisbon to attend the VI International Conference of the National Reading Plan, an initiative that aims to improve reading skills of students and give them incentives to reading books from a very young age. The first comissary of the plan, Isabel Alçada, said the princess gave a huge contribution to help to set up the plan in Portugal. Laurentien also talked about the report on literacy in Europe this High Level Group on Literacy is doing.
the interview can be read here:
It's in portuguese but if anyone is interested I can translate it. Just say...

I must say I found the interview really really interesting. Laurentien is really passionate about the issue and knows so many things about it. I'm seing she works really hard.

If you could translate those parts you've found most interesting, that would be great! :flowers:

Here are three pics of Laurentien attending the conference on October 3:

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 **
Ok, I couldn't decide which parts I found most interesting so I'll translate everything...

"There is a princess worried about illiteracy
1 in 5 europeans has troubles/difficulties reading the world. The sentence was chosen from a report about illiteracy in the European Union. And Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, who chaired the experts, doesn't conform. "We need to act now", she says. The Europeans we're talking about are 15 years-old.

In the Netherlands, 10 per cent of the population suffers from Funcional Illiteracy. It means, a low performance when reading and writing, which prevents them from having an active participation in society. "You wouldn't expect a problem like this in a country like the Netherlands, would you?", says princess Laurentien, who came to Lisbon to participate in the VI International Conference of the National Reading Plan.
Commited to prove that illiteracy is not "exclusive of the developing countries", Laurentien van Oranje says that "Europe needs to wake up to this problem". Because of that, she accepted the role to lead the High Level Group on Literacy of the European Commission, who wrote the report "1 in 5 europeans has difficulties in reading the world" (published in September) and presented it to ministers of education of the EU, in Cyprus.
Before that, in Portugal, she had the opportunity to show it to Nuno Crato [our minister of education] and, during her presentation at Gulbenkian, she caused smiles in the audience when suggesting to the minister: "Tell your colleague of the finances that is worth investing in literacy. Talk about that when you holiday together". This because princess Laurentien believes that "mobilizing the different ministers and putting literacy in the centre of many policies will help to solve the problem faster".
She reminds that "it's the first time that literacy is analised this way on a european level and Europe has many segmented policies that, because they don't take literacy into acount, won't achieve their goals". And she gives Público two examples: fighting poverty ("if you can't read and write properly, it's almost impossible to get out that spiral") and investment on online technologies ("there won't be people connected if they cannot read and write properly"). She reinforces the idea that this report " is a warning sign", it means "Wake-up".
To Laurentien, we have to find ways to reach these people and find what they need. Then, we have to insist on convincing them to overcome themselves and colaborate in their own grown.
But, do the governments really wish an informed and exigent population? "Every speech says: «We want a competitive and innovative Europe». We cannot achieve it without it being based on knowledge", she said to Público, the day before the conference. "We talked with the different countries of the EU and all of them revealed to us they haven't noticed the importance of literacy. I work on this subject for 10 years and it was very hard to put it in the political agenda. In the Netherlands, we achieved it. We have to go step by step."
Even when the governments are obsessed with deficits, GDPs and debts? "We have to make them to understand that the idea is not to invest in social policies instead of literacy or education policies instead of literacy. Literacy is a component of all areas and has to cross all policies". Companies, employers and other social agents will benefit from this. "Employers will have more motivated employess, healthier, less absent and that pay more attention to security. We know it is this way. We need to attrat more companies to the cause of literacy. It keeps being the money who rules the world."
The influence of Laurentien is on many different activities and institutions. In 2004, she created the Dutch Reading and Writing Foundation. In 2009, she became UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development and was patron of Amsterdam World Capital of the book. She is also president of the European Cultural Foundation and "gave a huge support in the beginning of the portuguese National Reading Plan", remembered Isabel Alçada, the first commisary of the plan, now substituted by Fernando Pinto do Amaral.
But what drives a princess to devote herself so much to combat illiteracy? "I didn't change just because I became a princess, just because I married with a prince. I'm the same person as before, but now I have one more responsability. To be a public figure".
Laurentien has a degree in political science from the University of London and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California and worked in CNN.
A hard personal experience, of exclusion and lonelyness when she was young made her sensible to the situation of people who "don't know how to read the world". "When I was 16 , I went to Japan with my parents. I left the dutch system and start the french one without knowing a word. It was very dificult not to be able to communicate with my coleagues in school, who weren't very interested in understanding me. I felt very isolated. I didn't feel sorry for myself but it was a tough experience".
Since then, she does everything she can "so that everyone feels included." And now she can more. "Not knowing a language leads a person to feel lonely and unhappy. The same happens with who doesn't know how to read and doesn't read well. One becames shy, tries to hide, becames unsecure and doesn't trust. I don't whish that to anybody."

I'll continue the translation later today when I have more time

2nd part of the translation

Another personal history: "Someone very close to me, recognized two years ago that he/she couldn't read properly. He/she was so sad about it that when he/she revelead started to cry. I know him/her for years and never imagined that"
Princess Laurentien has no doubts that "to read and to write are not just technical competences that you learn and that's it. They are the key to allow citizens to feel they're part of the society" That's why she keeps putting her efforts on it. "If somehoe we can make them feel that they matter, their confidence increases and they'll start to believe it's possible. That's what I want to everybody. Confidence and the ability to believe. Even from the strategic and political points of view, you can improve many things this way".
But it won't be easy to convince a child that to read and to write is important and that knowledge is precious when he/she sees the job of his/her parents, teachers or journalists for example, being completely undervalued. "What we can say to that child is that no matter if he wants to be a fireman, the worker of a factory or anyother job, it will always be easir to achieve it if he masters the written word. I'm conscious of the hard times we face, but we can't give up. In the moment we start to give up of education, we're lost. The written word is of a central importance in today's societies."
The way is start to think about literacy from the birth and it's known we need to start from there. But there are misconceptions. "Reading programs usually aim at children and assuming that there will be an adult reading for them, when they go to bed, for example. But many times, there is a high percentage of adults who cannot read to children. And then the programs doesn't work."
The justification to the fact that Europe let itself reach these unexpected levels of illiteracy is the excess of trust we gave to the systems, she thinks. "We thought that having everything working, like acess to education, kindergarden, schools, qualified teachers, the work was done. But we were wrong." Many aspects were ignored. "We didn't thought about quality, we didn't tought about what to do with different cultures. We took everything for granted. And we created a tabu: people who started to have these problems didn't talk about it. They thought they're the only ones and started to hide. We need to wake up Europe and break that tabu."

Ending her meeting with Público, princess Laurentien of the Netherlands wants to talk about her new book for children, Mr. Finney. "If you had asked me about what I expect the role of Mr. Finney to be in Portugal, I would have said that I hope it will motivate children to talk about environmental problems with their parents. I believe in the power of children's speech, it's very coherent and efficient. They will force their parents to look at the mirror and to question themselves".
She wants to bring this discussion to schools too, thus she visited Escola Francisco Arruda, in Lisbon. "We cannot teach only how nature works. Mr. Finney asks more than he explains." She says she made a pact with the children she met. "I asked them that the next time they see garbage in the floor, they would pick it up. We sealed our pact with shaking hands. They said they would do it."
Nuno Crato [minister of education] also promised that the next holidays he will show the report to Vítor Gaspar [minister of finance]


sorry for 3 posts in a row.

So, I translated princess Laurentien interview. My english is not perfect and I didn't have many time so some things probably don't make sense. But I guess you can understand the overall of the interview...
Hope you all enjoy it
Last edited by a moderator:

Thank you so much, julliette! You've made every effort translating that long text - and it's been as interesting as promised!
you're welcome, iceflower :) I confess I didn't usually followed Laurentien's activities but since she has been in Portugal earlier this year to present her book and I read about her work with environment and literacy I've been kind of fascinated with her. What an amazing women...
Top Bottom