The International Relevance of Dutch History: Closing Comments
The contributions in this issue discuss the question of the relevance of Dutch history to an international public. The authors wish to avoid ‘exceptionalism’, but point – with the exception of the piece that examines the Holocaust – specifically to the particular in the Dutch past, focusing thereby on evergreen themes such as the Golden Age, the Dutch colonial empire and the role of religion. A great deal of attention is hereby devoted to the long perspective and the peculiar nature of Dutch ‘civil society’.
The aim is not so much to focus on what is unique to the Netherlands – and certainly not to hold up the Netherlands as an example – but rather to attempt to explain the Netherlands on the basis of general issues drawn from historiographical debates. In this sense, the yardstick applied is the international world. Another striking feature of the contributions is that an analysis that takes a longer view – path dependency, ‘cultural freezing’ (Schrover) and traditions – is back with a vengeance.
This article is part of the special issue 'The International Relevance of Dutch History'.
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