“Kuijer combines serious subject matter and razor-sharp realism with warmth, subtle humour and visionary flights of fancy. His simple, clear and precise style accommodates both deep philosophical insight and graceful poetic expression,” the jury said.
The author, aged 69, will receive his prize and a cheque for five million kronor ($740,000) at a ceremony in Stockholm on May 28.
Kuijer made his debut as a children’s author in 1975 and has published over 30 titles, mostly aimed at pre-teen readers.
“His commitment extends to social and religious issues alike, and the consistent message of his books is one of tolerance, understanding and broad-mindedness,” the jury said.
His works have been translated into more than 10 languages, including English, Swedish, German, Italian and Japanese.
Some of his works include “Het boek van alle dingen” (2004, The Book of Everything), “Florian Knol” (2006) and a series of five books about a girl named Polleke, starting with “Voor altijd samen, amen” (1999, Together Forever, Amen).
Kuijer has won a number of literary prizes, including the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children’s Literature Award) on two occasions and a number of Dutch children’s literature prizes.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was created by the Swedish government after Lindgren’s death in January 2002, and claims today to be the world’s largest prize for children’s and young people’s literature.
Previous winners of the honour include Kitty Crowther of Belgium, Maurice Sendak of the United States, and Philip Pullman of Britain.