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‘Dat nooit meer’ – ‘Never Again’


James Kennedy ,

Royal Netherlands Historical Society (editorial secretary), NL
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Peter Romijn

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In October of 2011 the Dutch historian and journalist Chris van der Heijden defended his dissertation Dat nooit meer – ‘Never Again’ which came out at the same time in a trade edition. In his 900-page magnum opus, supervised by the historians Hans Blom and Ido de Haan, Van der Heijden attempted to reconstruct ‘the aftermath of the Second World War in the Netherlands’. To do this, he offered a ‘thick description’ of incidents, affairs, public events and contemporary historiography, which together
constructed the culture and politics of memory about that war. Van der Heijden’s work immediately generated controversy in the Netherlands. Various historians at the public defence of the dissertation expressed
fundamental criticisms of the book, a trend also evident in the media and in several reviews. The disapproval addressed the author’s method, use of sources and interpretative framework (or lack thereof), often in strong terms. Van der Heijden started a web-based blog to answer his critics and a heated debate continued for some time.
How to Cite: Kennedy, J. & Romijn, P., (2013). ‘Dat nooit meer’ – ‘Never Again’. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review. 128(2), pp.71–72. DOI:
Published on 21 Jun 2013.


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