About us

Dating back to 1926, the annual judging of the Dutch Best Verzorgde Boeken is the oldest of its kind in Europe. Due to several interruptions, the selection of books published in 2014 is the 56th one.

The somewhat old-fashioned expression best verzorgd (best cared for) has never been dropped because of the fact that what the judges award in the first place, are books, not just their design. Each well-made book is a meeting between form and content, the result of a cooperation between a commissioner (mostly a publisher), a designer and the printing industry. The contribution of the various participants is ever-changing.

Each year Dutch publishers, designers and printers submit over 300 books to be judged. The panel consists mostly of a publisher, two designers and a printer or binder, the fifth panel member being alternately a bookseller, a book historian, a museum curator or a writer on the subject.


The rules and criteria by which the judges are tied are kept to a minimum. The panel members are invited to select books that are excellent in their physical appearance and in doing this they are to keep an eye on the correlation between form and content. Thus each panel is free to develop its own vision, to decide which annual report or desk agenda is to be considered a book and which is not, and to select certain books which it deems not to be missed in spite of certain shortcomings.


The annual selection consists of 33 books at maximum. In the selection trade books are matched to museum publications, corporate editions to private initiatives.

The books are being exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and at several other places in the Netherlands and abroad. Recently the number of exhibitions tends to increase. During the last years the Best Dutch Book Designs have been on show in Stockholm, Ljubljana, Hongkong and Tokyo.


On top of that the selection finds its way each year to a bi-lingual book, The Best Dutch Book Designs / De Best Verzorgde Boeken. This catalogue presents the selected books in words – the judges reporting on each book separately – images and technical data. These elements are presented in a different way each year due to the book being designed by a different graphic designer. The contribution of the Dutch graphic industry in the production of this catalogue is not to be overseen.

Organiser of the yearly competition is the Foundation De Best Verzorgde Boeken, in which professional organisations of the book trade, the designers and the graphic industry cooperate.

The Best Dutch Book Designs is sponsored by Igepa Nederland, BNO/Pictoright (Amsterdam) en L. van Heek Textiles (Losser). 



Rules for the annual selection of The Best Dutch Book Designs - Revised November 2016.

The object of the Stichting De Best Verzorgde Boeken is annually to select a minimum of thirty and a maximum of thirty-three books deemed to distinguish themselves by the whole of their artistic design, typography, illustrations, printing and other aspects of their technical production and presentation; consideration is also given to the relationship between form and content.

The purpose of the competition is to focus attention on and promote appreciation of book design and production in general and the Dutch book in particular. The Stichting also hopes the challenge will encourage publishers and other commissioners of printed books to give higher priority to the design and technical production of their publications. 

The list of publications selected by an independent panel of judges will be circulated to the media and at a later date the books themselves will be highlighted in an exhibition to which publicity will be given both in the Netherlands and abroad. Details and illustrations of all the books selected, together with the judges' report, will be published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition.  



In these rules the following terms shall have the meanings set forth against them:the Stichting: Stichting De Best Verzorgde Boeken;books: books and other products produced as an edition, on paper or an equivalent medium, which in the opinion of the judges may be deemed equivalent to books;selection: the inclusion of a book or books in the list referred to in clause 8 below.



1 The annual selection consists of a minimum of thirty and no more than thirty-three books particularly distinguished by the care taken in their design, typography, illustrations, printing and other technical aspects.

2. To be eligible for selection a book must fulfil at least two of the three following requirements. Irrespective of the language in which it is published, it must have been:

a.  published by a publisher established in the Netherlands;

b.  designed by a person of Dutch nationality or resident in the Netherlands;

c.  printed by a printing business established in the Netherlands.

1. The judging panel (or panel of judges) consists of an odd number of judges with a minimum of five.
2. Judges will be appointed by the Board of the Stichting.
3. Where possible, the panel of judges will include:
a.  two graphic designers;
b.  an expert drawn from the printing industry;
c.  an expert drawn from the book-publishing sector;
d.  an expert in the field of graphic design or book design and production in general. 

4. Judges are appointed for two judging years spread over no more than four calendar years, subject to an extension of one year spread over no more than two calendar years.

5. Appointment to the panel of judges takes effect on 1 November except in the case of an interim appointment.

6. Reappointment is permitted five years following the end of a previous appointment.

7. The panel appoints a chairman from among its number.

8. The Director of the Stichting acts as non-voting secretary to the judges.

9. Members of the panel receive from the Stichting a remuneration for their work as judges. They also receive travel expenses on the basis of 1st class public transport plus any hotel etc. expenses.

10. Decisions by the panel are taken by a simple majority of the members present.

11. The panel may consult advisers. Requests for the appointment of an adviser must be addressed to the Director of the Stichting, whose decision is binding.


1. The Stichting invites publishers, clients, graphic designers, printers and anyone else involved in the production of books to submit books for consideration. 

2. Individual members of the judging panel may also make direct requests for the submission of one or more titles, subject to the condition that those responding to such an approach accept these rules with the exception of clause 5 section 4, which in such cases is inoperative.


1. Books submitted for consideration must be accompanied by a completed form made available in digital form. 

2. The form referred to in section 1 above must be returned to the office of the Stichting together with two copies of the book concerned.

3. The proposer of a book for inclusion in the list must declare their willingness, in the event that the book in question is selected, to provide the Stichting, free of charge, with up to six copies thereof for exhibitions, media contacts and archiving.

4. A book submitted will not be actively considered for inclusion until the requisite entry fee has been paid. The entry fee is €75 for the first book submitted and €50 for each book submitted thereafter by the same submitter. These amounts are exclusive of value added tax at the prevailing rate (21% at the time of this revision). Final year students at colleges in the Netherlands and those who graduated from a college in the Netherlands in the preceding year are exempt from entry fees, subject to the condition that in the additional information field in the entry form they state the name of the college, the year, and the name of their supervisor.



In the case of multivolume publications a single volume or the entire publication may be submitted and selected. Following the selection of a single volume the remaining volumes of the same publication cease to be eligible for selection.



1. Submission for selection is open to any book published in the calendar year preceding the year of the competition.

2. Any book submitted will be deemed to have been published in the year stated in the book itself unless the submitter provides evidence that it was published in another year. 


1. In any year the panel of judges for that year will compile a list of the Best Dutch Book Designs from the books submitted before the closing date and time for submissions; this list will be made known to the Board of the Stichting no later than 15 March.

2. In arriving at their selection the judges will give due consideration to the differences that may arise from the nature of the books submitted, and in order to ensure a level playing field the panel may institute particular categories in which books will be selected.



1. Precluded from selection by the judges are all books in whose production one or more of the judges was involved. Such books are judged by a shadow panel.

2. The shadow panel is appointed, as and when necessary, by the Board of the Stichting. Its members are as far as possible selected in the same way as set out in 3.3 above. Whenever possible its members are former members of the panel of judges for The Best Dutch Book Designs.

3. The provisions made in these rules regarding members of the panel of judges apply mutatis mutandis to the members of the shadow panel. No member of the shadow panel may take part in the judging of a book if they have been involved in its production.

4. The shadow panel makes its recommendations known to the Stichting before the main panel of judges has completed its work.

5. The panel of judges has the right to reject the recommendations of the shadow panel in whole or in part if it believes rejection is necessary in the interests of maintaining a balanced composition of the overall selection.




1. The panel of judges ensures that the selection is accompanied by a report in which, in addition to its assessment of each book selected, it states the criteria applied in arriving at the final list.

2. No correspondence will be entered into regarding either the selection made by the panel of judges and the submissions made by the shadow panel or the text of the judges' report.

3. The public announcement of the books selected and release of the judges' report will be made at a time determined by the Board of the Stichting.

4. In advance of the announcement and release referred to in the preceding section no public statements regarding them will be made by members of either the panel of judges or the shadow panel.


In all cases not provided for by these rules or regarding which no agreement can be arrived at regarding the application of these rules, the panel will consult the Director of the Stichting. Any ruling given by the Director of the Stichting will be binding on the panel.


The registration is closed

The registration is closed.
The next chance to be part of the competition will be the edition of 2018. At the end of this year (beginning of December) the registration shall be open again. 

Are you interested in joining and do you want a reminder when the registration starts, please send an email to info@bestverzorgdeboeken.nl


Panel members The Best Dutch Book Designs

2017 - designers Yolanda Huntelaar andMichaël Snitker, Freek Kuin (creative director Robstolk printers), Marije Sietsma (director Loopvis Publisher) and Suzanne Bogman (Head Department Publications Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam).

2016 - designers Yolanda Huntelaar and Remco van Bladel, Freek Kuin (creative director Robstolk printers), Eelco van Welie (director nai010 publishers) and Carolien Glazenburg (curator graphic desing Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).

2015 - Koen Brams (sometime director, Jan Van Eyck Academie, sometime editor-in-chief, De Witte Raaf), Luc Derycke (publisher, MER Paper Kunsthalle, designer), Carolien Glazenburg (curator, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Freek Kuin (creative director, Rob Stolk printers, Amsterdam), Wouter Roelants (bookseller and publisher)

2014 – Hans Bockting (graphic designer with Bockting Ontwerpers, Amsterdam), Carolien Glazenburg (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Bregitta Kramer (print coordinator, book binder and teacher in printing techniques, Diemen), Joris Kritis (graphic designer, Brussels) and Astrid Vorstermans (publisher with Valiz, Amsterdam).

2013 – Hans Bockting, Johan Holterman, Bregitta Kramer, Hanca Leppink, Marlies Visser

2012 – Johan Holterman, Ada Lopes Cardozo, Rob van den Nieuwenhuizen, Marlies Visser, Peter de Winter

2011 – Jan de Boer, Frederike Huygen, Fokko Tamminga, Astrid Vorstermans

2010 – Jan de Boer, Vanessa van Dam, Ada Lopes Cardozo, Erna Staal, Fokko Tamminga

2009 – Volken Beck, Frederike Huygen, Ben Laloua, Paul van Mameren, Nina Post

2008 – Volken Beck, Vanessa van Dam, Nina Post, Fokko Tamminga, Julius Vermeulen

2007 – Kees van den Hoek, Ben Laloua, Pieter Tielen, Julius Vermeulen, René van der Vooren

2006 – Paul Hefting, Kees van den Hoek, Esther Noyons, Brigitte Slangen, Julius Vermeulen


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Stichting De Best Verzorgde Boeken
Herengracht 166
NL-1016 BP  Amsterdam
The  Netherlands
Phone ++31 20 626 4971
Fax     ++31 20 623 1696

website design: Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht
programming: Thijs Gadiot, Amsterdam