Urbanization, Culture and the Dutch Origins of the European Enlightenment
The Dutch Republic currently plays a prominent role in the big debates on the origins and nature of the European Enlightenment. However, relatively little attention has been devoted to the role played by urbanization in this. This contribution focuses on the specific form of urbanization that took place in Holland, and a compelling relationship is established between urbanization in the coastal provinces and a series of political and religious issues that were of decisive importance in the early European Enlightenment. The high watermark of this Dutch contribution can be found in the period 1680-1730. After this, and closely related to the decrease in urbanization and the social problems associated with economic decline, the Dutch Enlightenment would acquire a character all of its own, unfamiliar to other Europeans.
This article is part of the special issue 'The International Relevance of Dutch History'.
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