In opdracht van de tijd? (De) Nederlandse cultuur in Europese context 1650-2000
Keywords:Historiography, Cultural history
D. Fokkema, F. Grijzenhout, Rekenschap 1650-2000
What value does the 'benchmarking' concept (IJkpunten) bring to Dutch history? Can the selection of the first 'benchmark' and the subsequent benchmark-years convincingly be defended and if so, on what grounds? What do the results of these inquiries on benchmark-years tell us about the specific features of Dutch culture? These three key questions form the basis of the review of the IJkpunten-project as a whole. The author argues that the implementation of the project has in part been more satisfactory than its defective theoretical base would have led us to expect, but that the series as a whole also shows a number of glaring shortcomings, such as an inadequate justification of the choice of the benchmark-years and insufficient communication between the various authors concerning the use of crucial terms and concepts. Although 'specific' features of Dutch culture are hinted at, a systematic, comparative analysis of these matters has not been pursued. Finally, it is suggested that the volumes of IJkpunten-project, considering their manifest focus on the importance of harmony, consensus, consultation and candid debate in Dutch history and their relative disregard for the role of coercion, violence, conflicts and tensions between different groups in Dutch society, can be taken as a quintessential product of the prevailing beliefs and opinions in the Netherlands in the 1990s.
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