The Low Countries

Deze Engelstalige blog, gelinkt aan het jaarboek The Low Countries, brengt nieuws over taal, cultuur en maatschappij in de Lage Landen voor een breed buitenlands publiek.

  • 20 juni 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 juni 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 mei 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 maart 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. 

  • 14 maart 2018

Belgium and the Netherlands: Small Welfare States in the European Union

Belgium and the Netherlands: Small Welfare States in the European Union

The persistent differences between the Netherlands and Belgium illustrate precisely that the European Union does not create uniformity among its member states”, writes former Belgian minister and current professor at the University of Amsterdam Frank Vandenbroucke in an interesting article about these two small welfare states, that can be successful in the European Union, but must not be ‘small’ in their view of the EU” . 

This article, which you can read in full in this blog post, is a summary of the Pacification Lecture Vandenbroucke delivered on 11 November 2017 in Breda. The complete lecture can be found, in Dutch, on www.pacificatielezingen.org.

Translated by Lindsay Edwards / Photo © Jeroen Oerlemans

  • 27 februari 2018

Scottish Poetry Festival StAnza Focuses on the Low Countries

Scottish Poetry Festival StAnza Focuses on the Low Countries

StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival, will focus on Dutch and Flemish poetry this year under the title ‘Going Dutch’, with special attention for the languages and cultures of the Low Countries: Dutch, Flemish and Frisian. 

A number of award-winning Dutch, Flemish and Frisian poets are among the big names from the literary world who will read and perform, including Ester Naomi Perquin, Jan Baeke, Thomas Möhlmann, Frank Starik, Tsead Bruinja, Sigrid Kingma, Geart Tigchelaar, Lies Van Gasse (photo), Maud Vanhauwaert and Andy Fierens.