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history

Griepvirus
history Leo van Bergen
8 min reading time

Like A Scythe across the Country

A hundred years ago the world encountered a Spanish flu pandemic which cost an estimated 50 to 100 million lives. But in the Netherlands it was long underestimated by the government. Medical historian Leo van Bergen sketches the devastation caused by Spanish flu between 1918 and 1920.

Series: Our Colonial Legacy
1_HO.2011.54.1_Fauteuil-Mobutu-Iviart-Izamba-2010-02
history Kiza Magendane
13 min reading time

A Museum of Compromise

After five years of renovation and decolonisation, the AfricaMuseum in Tervuren opened again. Dutch writer of Congolese descent, Kiza Magendane visited the museum with mixed feelings.

Schermafbeelding-2018-10-22-om-09.47.16
history Luc Devoldere
3 min reading time

The Great War Revisited

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War, numerous events have been held. This anthology brings together some of the finest essays we have published.

For subscribers
history

Birth of a Nation. Belgium and the Treaty of London

On April 19 1839 the European Great Powers signed the 24 Articles of the Treaty of London and by doing so legally dissolved the ‘United Kingdom of the Netherlands'. From then on Belgium and the Netherlands would go their separate ways. It was a painful break that had been building up over many years, and its effects would reverberate for many decades to come.

For subscribers
history

The First Replica of the Halve Maen

Helping to celebrate Henry Hudson's arrival 400 years ago on the shores of what is now New York, will be a replica of his ship the Halve Maen. This ship has been sailing up and down the Hudson River for many years. Captain Chip Reynolds witnessed the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11 2001 while his Halve Maen was moored in the Hudson in New York City. This is the second replica of the Halve Maen, after the first came to a sad end in upstate New York.

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history

Unveiling Dutch America. The New Netherland Project

The Dutch period in North America began in 1609 with Henry Hudson's exploration of the river that would be given his name. In 1614 the New Netherland Company was licensed by the States General of the United Provinces for fur trading in the newly discovered region, and in 1621 the West India Company was chartered to trade in Africa, Brazil, and North America. The Company sent the first colonists to New Netherland in 1624, and by 1664 the population is estimated at around 9,000. While it's clear that there was a lot going on in Dutch America, it has undeservedly remained a historical backwater. The reason was the lack of usable primary source materials for critical examination and interpretation. But the story of New Netherland warranted a more extensive analysis. But how was that to be achieved? The answer was the creation in 1974 of the New Netherland Project, leading to Charles Gehring's translations of the surviving seventeenth-century Dutch records. This was a turning point in American historiography, and the work still goes on after thirty-four years. To understand the true importance of this work it is necessary to see how things were before.

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history

The ‘Pirenne Phenomenon'

It is hard to imagine an academic historian today receiving the kind of public acclaim that befell the Belgian Henri Pirenne (1862-1935). He provided the Belgian nation with a common past in which trade and manufacturing brought people together, regardless of ideological or linguistic differences. In this he really was a man of the nineteenth century.

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history

The Oldest Share Certificate in the World

A Dutch student discovered in 2010 a VOC (Dutch East India Company, set up in 1602) share certificate, in fact the oldest in the world (1606). The holder of this share, the Enkhuizen town messenger Pieter Harmensz, had to wait to 1612 for his first dividend.

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history

‘We Can Get the Witch-Doctor but We Cannot Get God' Witchcraft in the Low Countries

During the troubled years 1550-1650 there was in the Low Countries an intermittent and rather inefficient attack on alleged witches by legal means, and a relatively modest persecution very largely driven by local demands rather than by the rulers. The courts in the new Republic in the North soon refused to pass death sentences while the death rate in the South was significantly higher. Virtually all trials took place in normal secular courts, with only minimal clerical involvement. The greatest historical interest of Low Countries' witchcraft lies in the wealth of surviving evidence for witchcraft as a shared belief system across all social groups below the educated elites.

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history

Versatile Uniformity. The Life of Jacob Revius (1586-1658)

The seventeenth century theologian and writer Jacob Revius was a Calvinist, apprehensive about what he thought would be the disastrous consequences of the philosophy of Descartes, inevitably leading to denial of the importance of God.

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history

In Flanders Fields Museum Revisited

While Flanders prepares to devote the years 2014-2018 to large-scale commemoration of the First World War, the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres shows a completely new scenography and a total area 50 % larger than when it opened in 1998. It was a good idea to incorporate the Cloth Hall's bell-tower, destroyed in the war and rebuilt, into the museum circuit.

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history

From Bruges to Amsterdam. The Roots of Stock Exchange Trading in the Low Countries

Daily trading on the exchange was an Bruges invention. In and around an inn owned by the Van der Beurse family, traders of many nations came together to perform transactions. In the sixteenth century Bruges lost its primacy as principal trading centre in Europe to Antwerp. After the fall of Antwerp in 1585, international trade once again moved on to a new location, Amsterdam. There started the system of share dealing.

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history

The Establishment of the Orange Monarchy in 1813-1815. A National Myth

In November 1813 Napoleonic rule in the Dutch provinces collapsed after the defeat of the imperial armies near Leipzig. The Prince of Orange returned from England, where he had been exiled. The establishment of the monarchy is falsely presented as a national liberation after a period of foreign domination. Furthermore it is a myth that King William built his state from scratch.

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history

Along the Limes. The Frontier of the Imperium Romanum in the Netherlands

A traveller follows the Roman limes in the Netherlands from Katwijk to Xanten (Germany). He passes through Leiden, looks for fortresses and finds a historical theme-park where he meets Roman soldiers. He examines the outlines of the Roman military camp in Utrecht and looks over the river Waal in Nijmegen, feeling like general Drusus.

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history

Germania, Romanitas and Belgitude. Borders and Border Issues

The putative border between Germanic and Romanic Europe is, like any cultural generalisation, a nice jeu d'esprit. Add belgitude, a notion invented by Henri Pirenne as an interface between both. Happily most Europeans know what it is to live near a border and the best are those who know how to live with them.

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history

Pinkster in New York

No other Dutch tradition represents better the utopian vision of an harmonious society than New York’s Pinkster festival. James Cooper describes the festival in his novel Satanstoe (1845).

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