Europe has always been multilingual, but since the Romantic era, this empirical truth has been denied, erased, or ignored. Contemporary globalization reconfigures the standard language ideology that has long been central to the continent’s self-understanding and political organization. This article explores some of the paradoxes of European multilingualism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries by way of the work and authorship of the Frisian poet Tsjêbbe Hettinga. Specifically, my focus is on the tension between the international geographies of his poetry and the uneven distribution of recognition in Fryslân, the Netherlands, and the wider world. Hettinga’s career shows the difficulties authors writing in regional or minority languages face to become more widely known, yet it also makes clear the profound consequences of the kind of breakthrough Hettinga experienced during the 1993 Frankfurt Book Fair. Hettinga’s career is reflective of the changing relations between language, people, and in contemporary Europe. This article is part of the Global Perspectives Media and Communication special issue on “Media, Migration, and Nationalism,” guest-edited by Koen Leurs and Tomohisa Hirata.

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