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Lemniscaat is one of the oldest and most well known children's book publishers in Holland. Founded in 1963 and still independent today, Lemniscaat represents a unique, high quality list of authors and illustrators. Over the last fifteen years we have published a list of high quality picture books in the US.
From the moment we started publishing in the US, our picture books have received many awards and have been acknowledged as exceptional by renowned American publications as Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews.
Lemniscaat publishes a rich and internationally appealing collection. Award winning fiction and picture books reflect the colourful and inspiring international heritage the Dutch, at the crossroads of Europe, are famous for. A strong list of beautiful and engaging books for all ages. The wide variety of authors and illustrators published at Lemniscaat are rewarded nationally and internationally for their high quality work.
Our authors and illustrators are inspired by artists from all over the world. The Lemniscaat list is not a typical Dutch list, it is a reflection of the colourful European heritage. Our illustrators are inspired by great artists as Van Gogh, Seurat, Vermeer, Mirò and Picasso. Through picture books, Lemniscaat opens the doors to this enchanting rich European culture.
Lemniscaat is an internationally established publisher, selling rights to a broad range of publishers worldwide and also buying them from all over the world. Throughout the years, unique publishing relationships have been established to widespread the Lemniscaat list beyond borders.
Lemniscaat has it's own list in the Netherlands, China, Italy and the US.
A short history of lemniscaat
Children's toys or children's books, that is the question.
Or at least that was the question Jean Louis Boele van Hensbroek faced when he wanted to start his own business.
How It All Started
Fourty seven years ago, Jean Louis Boele van Hensbroek signed the papers of his publisher's house-to-be: Lemniscaat. But much water had passed under the bridge before it came to that signature.
After a lifelong service at a major multinational, Jean Louis Boele van Hensbroek was denied a major promotion. He took a summary resignation. But with nine children to feed, he had to come up with an idea to make a living. Fast.
His wish was either to start a toy factory or become a publisher of children's books. His father used to be an important literary critic and historian of literature, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise when he, after being advised by friends, decided to start a publisher's house.
It was his wife Marijke, who came up with the name and the symbol for this new exciting venture: Lemniscaat - the lemniscate being an eight-shaped figure symbolising the balance between imagination and reality.
The Secret of Success
The Boele van Hensbroek couple became aware of the fact that getting a publisher's house up and running was tougher than they expected. Starting a small list with picture books and esoteric non-fiction, they could hardly cope.
But in the early seventies Lemniscaat turned overnight into a prominent award-winning publishing company with juvenile fiction authors like Thea Beckman en Jan Terlouw, and picture books illustrators like Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. Ever since then the name "Lemniscaat" is synonymous with "quality".
One Big Family
If you ask authors and illustrators what distinguishes Lemniscaat from other Dutch publishers, they will answer: "the personal touch".
Lemniscaat is a small, warm-hearted company, where editors, designers, representatives and p.r. persons work closely together. Where, for instance, they have lunch together every day. Where every talent is guided in a personal way. Where authors and illustrators are invited to come around the publisher's private home - an old farm, turned home - and have dinner at his kitchen table.
Lemniscaat is truly one big family.
The Soul of Lemniscaat
It is hard to describe what connects the Lemniscaat titles, for it is a feeling - a deep feeling of passion for real life people - authors, illustrators and readers - and for fictional characters.
A book is only worth the Lemniscaat sign if it is unique, if it creates a world of it's own.
A world vibrant of vivid colours, painted for real in picture books, or painted in words in children's books or young adult fiction.
A world where one doesn't shy away from burdensome topics, but where a spirit of humour and the ability to put things in perspective, will leave the reader with a contented feeling - whether he has laughed his head of, shed a tear, or both.
In short: a World of Wonder.
In 1986 Jean Louis Boele van Hensbroek assigned Lemniscaat to his eldest son: Jean Christophe.
Jean Christophe Boele van Hensbroek made some changes in the publisher's house basic thoughts. By now, the esoteric titles on it's list have almost disappeared. Lemniscaat's list now mainly consists of picture books, children's books and young adult fiction, philosophy and non-fiction on social justice topics.
Lemniscaat's Driving Force
Jean Christophe Boele van Hensbroek's fuel is enthusiasm! He flourishes if he can come up with new ideas, discover new authors or find new ways to enhance his publisher's house. Every now and then he will drive his personnel mad, overwhelming them with ideas which seem impossible to accomplish - but whoever said "the difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer" must have had a man like Jean Christophe in mind.
Not only did he come up with ideas like the Month of Philosophy - which is now widely celebrated in the Netherlands - he also thought up free children's books-subscriptions through e-mail (a chapter a day), put Lemniscaat books on mobile phones, started ‘Give a book for free' on the internet, launched the yearly campaign 'Give Me a Book' which gives children the chance to collect a classics library for € 1 per book, and realised - together with Karadi Tales, India - maybe his most beautiful project until today: picture books for the blind.