Although the Low Countries formed a political unity only for short periods they have been seen by other European nations as a region in its own right. What created some kind of unity, as experienced by the inhabitants? My concept started from the geographical conditions of a delta of three major rivers, in a generally flat area facilitating transport. This was a basic condition for urban growth.
The core questions were therefore – what at different times in the various regions, led to that extraordinary level of urbanisation on a European scale? Why and how did the successive ‘golden ages’ come to an end, and what remained in the previous core areas? Why did some regions remain peripheral? How do the various aspects interrelate – geographical conditions, social and political institutional arrangements, economic developments, and how do cultural phenomena fit into these patterns?
This response is part of the discussion forum 'Four Golden Ages' (Wim Blockmans).