The decision to cancel was very difficult but as you will understand the effect of COVID-19 on our world has been far-reaching.
The Dutch Antiquarian Booksellers Association, NVvA took considerations into account such as:
- Will international travel be re-established by September from all destinations and can flights get booked at reasonable rates?
- Will quarantine measures still be in place, both in the the country of destination and after return?
- Are there still any health risks to participants, in particular to elderly travellers or travellers with health issues?
- What social distancing rules are in place; will they be lifted by then as otherwise dinners and transport are not possible?
- Are group visits allowed to museums and other institutions again?
At this point, too many questions are left unanswered which makes it impossible for the NVvA and the congress organising team to continue with the final stages of the preparations.
Frank Rutten of Antiquariaat Brinkman in Amsterdam and head of the organising committee wrote to ILAB: “After two years of planning, we decided to cancel the congress. We would have very much liked to show our city to you all. But the situation now makes it impossible to continue planning and we do not want to cause any risk to our visitors. We thank all booksellers and ILAB for the fine and warm cooperation and hope to see you in Amsterdam one day.”
All registered booksellers have been contacted already and will get their registration fees refunded in full. If anyone has a question, please get in touch with the team in Amsterdam: [email protected]
The Amsterdam Fair Organisers Committee wrote: "With great sadness we have to inform you that we have decided to cancel the Amsterdam Book Fair 2020. The reason is that the circumstances are yet unclear to foresee what the rules and regulations will be concerning the COVID-19 virus. We hope to welcome you back in 2021 for the 40th edition of the Amsterdam book fair."
Sally Burdon, ILAB President wishes to add: “After all of the work the Dutch association has done in arranging such an exciting programme, I can only begin to imagine how disappointing and disheartening the decision to cancel must have been. The planning took more than 2 years and I know our Dutch colleagues were looking forward so much to welcoming us to Amsterdam.
Taking into account the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ILAB Committee feel sure the NVvA have made the correct decision.
The ILAB Presidents’ Meeting 2020 will now take place in a digital format.
I wish to express ILAB’s deep gratitude to the NVvA especially to the Congress organising commission, and to NVvA President Gert Jan Bestebreurtje for the invitation to come to Amsterdam and for the huge amount of work they and their colleagues have done for us all. It was a wonderful programme and I am sure you were all looking forward to it, I know I was! I do hope the NVvA's work will have inspired many booksellers to go to The Netherlands and visit our colleagues when we are able to travel again."
As Frank Rutten wrote to the ILAB Committee last week: “Keep the spirit alive!”
We thank everyone for the cooperation in these difficult times.
AMOR LIBRORUM NOS UNIT.