A few days ago I watched an episode of College Tour, a Dutch talk show in which students get to ask famous people questions. The guest this time was Dan Brown, who had just released his new book Inferno. It started, and the voice of the host came out of the speakers: “we are here in the wonderful Rijks Museum, because we all hope it will inspire Dan Brown on writing his next book”.
But why would we all hope this place will inspire Brown? Was it merely a friendly thing to say to the author or are there other interests at play? Publicity for the museum?
In all of Brown’s books cities play a central role. They are more than just a décor, because whole storylines are interwoven with their history, architecture and culture. Therefore the books encourage many of its readers to visit the cities portrayed in them. They want to see where Robert Langdon, the protagonist, has been. Wonderful places, like the Louvre in Paris, which played a huge role in the Da Vinci Code, and the Boboli gardens in Florence, featuring in Brown’s most recent book. His newest book helped, Florence, Venice and Istanbul get a fair share of publicity.
The tourist industries in these cities are enjoying all the extra attention and know just what to do, make fan tours. In the cities mentioned above, For example, Dan Brown tours have emerged, so admirers don’t have to miss anything.
With this increased attention, one can argue that the writings of Dan Brown have some kind of Olympic effect, but without the necessary massive investments of such mega events. People have been talking and writing about these benefits (on twitter, a newspaper and even another talk show). No wonder Amsterdam wants in.