Commemorating a ‘Foreign’ War in a Neutral Country The Political Insignificance of World War 1 Memory in the Netherlands
Keywords:History, Netherlands, First World War
The recent creation of a First World War museum exhibit at Huis Doorn reflects the increased Dutch attention paid to this war, accompanying the international Centenary efforts, although the neutral Netherlands had not been actively involved in the military events of wwi. This initiative, on a small estate where the former German emperor Wilhelm II lived after the defeat of Germany in 1918, was not a natural outcome of the dynamics of Dutch historical culture.
This article raises the question of how wwi became increasingly emphasised in the early twenty- first century, and to what extent this reflects a profound change in the national historical culture, which previously displayed no strong connections to wwi. While familiarity with wwi has grown among the Dutch media and the wider public, governmental interest remained limited (very different from the case of wwii), making it rather difficult to actually speak of politics of memory.
This article is part of the forum 'Commemorating War 100 years after the First World War'.
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