The Low Countries

This English-language blog, which is linked to the yearbook, The Low Countries, offers news about language, culture and society in the Low Countries for a broad foreign public.

  • 4 July 2018

An Almost Hidden Medieval Estate in Bruges: The Adornes Estate

An Almost Hidden Medieval Estate in Bruges: The Adornes Estate

The history of the Adornes Domain is impressive: for six centuries it remained in the hands of the same family, even surviving the French revolution. Today the seventeenth generation is subject to Duke and Duchess Maximilien and Véronique of Limburg Stirum, patrons of the Jerusalem foundation and managers of the domain since 2000. Their motto is ‘Sharing to bring to life – bringing to life to preserve.’ They have also opened the domain to visitors, socio-cultural projects and exhibitions. A living heritage.

 
  • 29 June 2018

Ons Erfdeel to launch English-language web platform, appointing Tom Christiaens

Ons Erfdeel to launch English-language web platform, appointing Tom Christiaens

In spring 2019 the Flemish-Dutch cultural institution Ons Erfdeel vzw will begin an ambitious English-language web platform: www.thelowcountries.eu.

This platform will provide information, commentary and reflection on culture and society in the Low Countries. 

Tom Christiaens will take up position as the platform’s coordinator and editor on 1 September 2018.

Tom Christiaens (1971) studied journalism in Ghent and Utrecht. He has worked as an editor for various media organisations, from magazines and newspapers (De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad) to television (Focus-WTV). He has written various contributions to Ons Erfdeel’s publications. At Howest (Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen, a college in West-Flanders) he was the founder and coordinator of youth radio and media lab Quindo. He currently works as a cross-media editor at De Morgen.

  • 26 June 2018

Picturing Reality: The Association for Low Countries Studies’ Biennial Conference Also Celebrates 70 Years of Dutch at Sheffield University

Picturing Reality: The Association for Low Countries Studies’ Biennial Conference Also Celebrates 70 Years of Dutch at Sheffield University

The Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS) is holding its 12th conference, entitled ‘Picturing Reality’, at the University of Sheffield from 28 to 30 June.

Talks set the Low Countries in an international context, touching on connections with Syria, Iran, Poland and the UK and Ireland, and involving discussion of literature by a wide range of authors including Harry MulischKader AbdolahIlja Leonard PfeijfferHerman Koch and Erwin Mortier, as well as linguistic issues such as the status of Belgian Dutch (‘Flemish’) in broadcasting and Italian translation of Dutch-language literature. 

The ALCS conference is an international event, with speakers from 4 continents and 11 different nations. This year, it also celebrates 70 years of Dutch at Sheffield University.

  • 20 June 2018

A Renaissance Masterpiece Returns to Antwerp after Almost 450 Years

A Renaissance Masterpiece Returns to Antwerp after Almost 450 Years

The Plantin Polyglot Bible, produced by the Plantin Printing workshop in Antwerp almost 450 years ago for King Philip II, is a monument of biblical scholarship. On 11 July, a copy will be auctioned by Christie's - London.

But before it is being auctioned, this monumental masterpiece will be on public view for two days (21 and 22 June 2018) at the very place it originated from, at the presses that printed it: the Plantin Museum.  

  • 14 June 2018

Is Justice Blind? Art and Law in the Low Countries 1450-1650

Is Justice Blind? Art and Law in the Low Countries 1450-1650

Call for Justice is the opening exhibition of the refurbished Museum Hof van Busleyden in the Flemish town of Mechelen, Belgium.

The Museum is being relaunched as a museum devoted to the Burgundian and early Habsburg culture in the Netherlands. It is housed in the former home of the important jurist and member of the Burgundian Great Council, Hieronymus van Busleyden. Erasmus and Thomas Morus were guests at this house.

Call for Justice explores the rich and fascinating interaction between art, judicial practice and the idea of justice in the Netherlands between the middle of the fifteenth and the middle of the seventeenth century.

Discover work by artists such as Quinten Massys, Maarten van Heemskerck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens and Antony van Dyck.

The Museum Hof van Busleyden reopens officially on 17 June 2018. Call for Justice runs until 24 June 2018.

  • 31 May 2018

How a Flemish Franciscan rescued philosopher Edmund Husserl’s archive from Nazi Germany

How a Flemish Franciscan rescued philosopher Edmund Husserl’s archive from Nazi Germany

What do Stein, Heidegger, Levinas, Sartre, Ricoeur and Derrida have in common? The Jewish German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), whose archive was rescued by a Flemish Franciscan, Herman Leo Van Breda. Journalist and author Toon Horsten reconstructed the life of his distant family member and with it wrote an unexpected shadow history of the continental philosophy of the twentieth century.

_by Luc Devoldere

  • 27 April 2018

Why the Netherlands is totally orange today

Why the Netherlands is totally orange today

The whole Dutch nation is covered in orange today as it King Willem-Alexander's birthday. But do you know why the Dutch wear orange hats and eat orange cakes instead of, let's say, yellow ones or red ones?

You can find out in the article Orange: a Colour that Unites and Divides, that was published in the 2011 issue of The Low Countries Yearbook. Read it in this blog post.

  • 24 April 2018

The Low Countries Yearbook 26 Is Out - What Do You Think About Its Digital Future?

The Low Countries Yearbook 26 Is Out - What Do You Think About Its Digital Future?

The 2018 issue of The Low Countries yearbook is out now. The theme of this volume is: ‘About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters’ - Dutch and Flemish Artists Around the Globe. Find out more here

The theme of this yearbook was developed jointly with CODART, the international network of curators of Dutch and Flemish art which this year celebrates its twentieth year.

This twenty-sixth edition of The Low Countries will be the last ever in print. With pride – and a little melancholy – the editorial board looks back on those twenty-six volumes.

But don’t worry. From next year you can find us at www.thelowcountries.eu where we will continue with the same fervour and depth to publish information, comment and essays about the Low Countries. For more people. We still have a lot more to tell. 

In this context, we would like to hear your opinion on what should be located on such a web platform.

You can fill out the survey here.

Thank you in advance for your willing cooperation.

  • 10 April 2018

Van Gogh’s Japonism on View in Amsterdam

Van Gogh’s Japonism on View in Amsterdam

The exhibition Van Gogh & Japan is on view at Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam until 24 /6/2018.

Like Monet and Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was impressed by Japanese prints which had flooded the European market since the mid nineteenth century. Landscapes, portraits and street scenes inspired him. He was indisputably influenced by the pronounced colours and abstract figures, prominent composition, robust contour lines and motifs abruptly cut off by the edge of the picture.

In the end Japan became a kind of personal ideal for the painter. Sunny southern France was his mirror for Japan, where he found a model for an artisanal alliance with painter colleagues. In 1888 he painted a self-portrait, with a thin face, close-cropped hair and eyes somewhat askance, like a Japanese ascetic. Nevertheless he continued to opt for his own wilful style over the refinement of the Japanese prints.

  • 19 March 2018

The Clever Letter Thief - Ten Years after the Death of Hugo Claus

The Clever Letter Thief - Ten Years after the Death of Hugo Claus

Exactly ten years ago today, the Flemish writer Hugo Claus passed away. He was 78 years old.

For many, Hugo Claus is the greatest Flemish writer of the second half of the 20th century. In 1986 he received the triennial Dutch Letters Prize, the highest literary distinction in Dutch. A prolific author, he has worked in many fields, publishing over twenty novels, dozens of plays and thousands of poems. He has also exercised his talents as a painter and film director.

Claus had the art of varying the registers better than anyone else, happily alternating the tragic, the sublime, the classical, the burlesque and the flatter obscene. His favourite themes were love for the mother, the difficult contact with the father (absent), sexuality (incipient), the feeling of guilt linked to the Catholic faith, and Flanders during and after the war.

Read four of his poems and a portrait of this clever letter thief in this blog post.