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. ...


Shades of Grey and Steely Blue. Two Photo Books about Two Seas

Flemish photographer Stephan Vanfleteren travelled along the Atlantic Wall, the entire coastal German World War II defence from Norway to Spain. In his own inimitable fashion he shows us the melancholic beauty of these relics. Another Flem...


A Standard Language Is a Dialect With an Army

Have you ever heard of “suburban Flemish” and “Polderdutch”? Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere about the tension between dying dialects, weird "in-between-languages" and overpowering standard languages.


Who Is in Charge of Language?

When it comes to Dutch, editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere states that it is not clear who determines which language norms to respect and which rules to adhere to.


Let Us Be Ungovernable

Where once there was a checkpoint in France, the slogan 'Let us be ungovernable' can be read along the border. Luc Devoldere wonders what the graffiti artists mean by this.


Adam and Eve Spoke Dutch

16th century humanist Jan van Gorp believed that Dutch was the only language that originated directly from the Proto-Human language and was still very similar to it.


A Fleming Is a Belgian Who Speaks Dutch

When it comes to language, Belgium has a complex history. That is beautifully illustrated by the position of French-language literature written at the end of the 19th century by Flemings.


Latin Was the Only Truly European Language

Latin is often denounced for being elitist, but people tend to forget that, before, anyone had to master it as a second language. Therefore, not a single European nation could feel disadvantaged by Latin.


Motorway Museum

Works of art along the motorway: the cross of Fabre, chaos and a cyclops.


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.


Long Live the Crisis of Democracy?

Just going by today’s headlines, the end of Western democracy seems imminent. However, is a crisis not the essence of a democracy?


Framing the Sea. Turning Tides

Can one frame the sea? The Chief Editor tries to, presenting the theme of this issue: sea, water in all its forms, turning tides.


‘Europe, your Time has Come'

The Dutch government had asked the Nexus Institute to organise a series of international conferences during the Dutch presidency of the EU in the second half of 2004, focusing on the values that Europe embraces, the values that it should em...


The Seriousness of Play

In this introduction the Chief Editor presents the themed section of this issue: sports and play in general. He also reflects on twenty years of presenting the culture of the Low Countries to the world.


Explore your Prison

A foreword: Why does someone take the trouble to get up and go somewhere, to travel?



Introduction to the book. How good do people feel in the Low Countries, still after all a prosperous delta area? Comfortably discontented, as one poet writes? How do they cope with the way of all flesh known as ‘ageing', with the welfare-an...


The Unbearable Lightness of Borders

The subject of this book is borders. Historic borders and mental borders. It is the paradox of borders that you must accept them if you want to transcend them.


South Africa Revisited

A foreword to the 18th yearbook and its themed section about South Africa which hosts the Football World Cup in the summer of 2010. In this issue of the yearbook we are talking about South Africa and the Low Countries: how do they view each...



An introduction to the 12th yearbook and its theme


‘On Being Asked For a War Poem’

The subject of the themed section of this book is the Great War. How does one write about that? The poet Yeats said he couldn’t. But all the others did. And how.


The Decorous Dead. The Great War Revisited

A journey through the First World War cemeteries of West Flanders and Northern France. These ‘lieux de mémoire' speak of a war whose last eye-witnesses are fast vanishing from the scene. And so the Great War will finally become part of `gre...


No Paradise without a Surveyor. Landscape in Literature

Geometry won't get you far in Flanders. There the horizon is closer, the roads are not as straight and the water is not such an overwhelming presence. Here everything is on a smaller scale and more cluttered than in the Netherlands. Messier...


Emotion at the Museum. In Flanders Fields

The 'In Flanders Fields' museum is not a traditional museum. It's a 'layered' museum, a museum you can put together yourself, and so it's eclectic and postmodern in the sense that the big stories are replaced by the countless small ones.


Literature from the Low Countries in London

From 21 to 27 March 1999 eighteen Dutch-language writers were guests at the London Festival of Literature. The 'Stichting Frankfurter Buchmesse '93' supported this event with an impressive promotional campaign.


Aalst, a Flemish Provincial Town Like no Other

The author paints a portrait of Aalst. Then he makes a confession. For him, Aalst was first and foremost a smell. When he first came to the town about 35 years ago, it was the all-pervasive, acridsmell of starches – the factory! – that stru...


A Human Theology Edward Schillebeeckx (1914-2009)

This great Flemish theologian played a major role in the renewal of the Church and of theology. Often obliged to defend himself in Rome, he was never condemned. One could say that he felt a freedom with regard to Church structures that enab...


Mirrors, Windows, Reflections

What do we see in the mirrors we look into and the mirrors others hold up to us? To form the theme of this edition we have put together a collection of images: images of Flanders and the Netherlands to be found in other countries and images...


Of Stations Passed

At the beginning of his essay the author descends the majestic stairs of Antwerp Central Station, ‘the Cathedral of the Tracks'. Then he tells us he collects stations and shares some Flemish stations from that collection with the reader. He...


Amsterdam, The Netherlands' Big Apple

Review of a literary guide to Amsterdam (Manfred Wolf (ed.), Amsterdam, A Traveler's Literary Companion. San Francisco: Whereabouts Press, 2001


Émile Verhaeren. The Only National Poet Belgium Has Ever Had

If someone were to be nominated as the greatest Belgian of all time, it would surely have to be Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916). He was a man who wrote in French but who was regarded as a Fleming; and who died in the First World War as a staun...


500 Years Old. The ‘Collegium Trilingue’ in Leuven

When the humanist and patron Hieronymus Busleyden died in 1517, he left enough money to enable an idea cherished by Erasmus finally to be turned into a reality: the founding of a school in Leuven dedicated to the study of the three classic...


Excerpts from a Log Book on the Scheldt and Maas

As the title says, these are supposed to be excerpts from the log the author kept on board of a number of boats during two river trips: one down the Scheldt, and one down the Maas, each time from source to estuary. But the author himself ad...



Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere discusses whatever moves or triggers him in and about the Low Countries, where he lives, resides and works.


Babel in the Low Countries

Which languages have been spoken in the Low Countries? Celtic, Latin, Flemish, Hollandish, Belgian, Dutch? In this series, editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere wonders how we keep on managing in our very own Babel. He contemplates the way we use l...

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