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The Relevance of Dutch History, or: Much in Little? Reflections on the Practive of History in the Netherlands

Author:

Willem Frijhoff

Abstract

This essay presents a series of reflections on the relevance of Dutch history. Taking different angles of approach, it examines in particular the historical image and self-image of the Dutch and the nation’s cultural identity; the role played by the heritage issue in the rise of the new political nationalism; the fascination of foreign historians for Dutch history and their influence on Dutch historiography itself; the role of language in history-writing and the question of whether ‘relevance’ is a meaningful category at all for historians.

 

To conclude, four great themes of Dutch history are identified as of supranational relevance: water management; economy and society, in particular capitalism and colonialism; culture and intellectual life, tolerance and secularity, in particular – but not only – in the early modern era; and the national ambition to show the world an exemplary route to modernity.

 

This article is part of the special issue 'The International Relevance of Dutch History'.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.7114
How to Cite: Frijhoff, W., 2010. The Relevance of Dutch History, or: Much in Little? Reflections on the Practive of History in the Netherlands. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 125(2-3), pp.7–44. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.7114
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Published on 01 Jan 2010.
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