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.

  • 3 januari 2017

The history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans

The history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans

The University Press of Mississippi recently published Jeroen Dewulf’s The Pinkster King and the King of Kongo: The Forgotten History of America’s Dutch-Owned Slaves.

The book recounts the history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans from seventeenth-century New Amsterdam to nineteenth-century New York and New Jersey, developing a new interpretation of the black folkloric tradition of Pinkster, adopted by the African slaves from their Dutch owners’ Pentecostal celebrations.

The Pinkster King won the Richard O. Collins Award in African Studies, the New Netherland Institute Hendricks Award, and the Clague and Carol Van Slyke Prize.

  • 21 december 2016

“If it had all been said before, then not by them” - Dutch Poet Menno Wigman translated

“If it had all been said before, then not by them” - Dutch Poet Menno Wigman translated

Can a contemporary poet be decadent and modern, urban at the same time? The Dutch poet Menno Wigman (1966) is. He is a poet “with the highest density of instant classics” and his poems seem indeed to have always existed when you read them for the first time, as translator David Colmer observes in his preface to the (bilingual) anthology he made of Wigman.

In this blogpost, you can read a poem by Wigman. You will also find an article from the yearbook about this dandy of disillusion's work.

  • 13 december 2016

The Transformation of the Surinamese Insects

The Transformation of the Surinamese Insects

In 1699, along with her daughter, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), travelled to Suriname to carry out research into the reproduction and development of insects. She brought back sixty magnificent illustrations showing exotic insects and plants.

She published an amazing book, showing these illustrations with descriptions, in 1705. This book, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (The Transformation of the Surinamese insects), is now regarded as the product of both a highly gifted artist and an exceptional empirical scientist, one of the first to demolish the prevailing notion of the spontaneous generation of insects from mud.

Lannoo publishers made an awesome facsimile of this book (54 x 36 cm). The reissue is the same size as the original and is enriched with an illustrated introduction about the life, work and significance of Merian.

  • 8 december 2016

A Conference on ‘European Angst’ in Brussels

A Conference on ‘European Angst’ in Brussels

In the past two days, the Goethe Institut in Brussels, together with the Czech Centre, Alliance française, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Polish Institute, organised European Angst, a conference on Populism, Extremism and Euroscepticism in contemporary European societies. Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere had attended this conference, initiated by BOZAR, and reports here.

  • 23 november 2016

International Symposium in London on Dutch Historian Pieter Geyl - A Report by Reinier Salverda

International Symposium in London on Dutch Historian Pieter Geyl - A Report by Reinier Salverda

In the London Institute of Historical Research [IHR], part of the School of Advanced Study in the University of London, a symposium was held on Thursday 17 November 2016 to commemorate the Dutch historian Pieter Geyl (1887-1966), who from 1919 till 1934 occupied the Chair of Dutch History at University College London (UCL).

A report by Reinier Salverda
[UCL, Fryske Akademy, and Deputy editor of The Low Countries]

  • 22 november 2016

David Bowie’s Tintoretto at the Rubens House in Antwerp

David Bowie’s Tintoretto at the Rubens House in Antwerp

Following the sale of David Bowie’s art collection in London on 10th November, a work by Tintoretto and his studio has been granted on long-term loan to the Rubens House in Antwerp.The oil painting depicts an angel warning Saint Catherine of Alexandria of her martyrdom. The work will be on show in the Rubens House from spring 2017.

  • 18 oktober 2016

‘The Low Countries Yearbook’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair

‘The Low Countries Yearbook’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurter Buchmesse is in full swing by now. Flanders and the Netherlands are guests of honour at this year’s edition of the world’s most important book fair.

“This is what we share” is the motto through which Flanders and the Netherlands present themselves in Frankfurt. They share a language, a history and a rich literature and culture.

The Flemish-Dutch cultural institution Ons Erfdeel vzw, publisher of The Low Countries Yearbook, is also in Frankfurt. You can come and visit us in Hall 5.0 - stand C76-C77, where you can find all of our publications.

We will officially present the 2016 issue of The Low Countries, which is devoted to Dutch and Flemish literature, in Frankfurt on 20 October 2016, 12 A.M, CB Lowlands Stage – hall 5.0 C88.

The presentation will bring together Flemish writer Tom Lanoye and Dutch political theorist and historian Luuk van Middelaar.

We also present a new website that contains all articles about Flemish and Dutch authors featured in the previous editions of the yearbook. Over 400 texts on the best-known and most interesting writers of Flanders and the Netherlands can be found here: www.literaturefromthelowcountries.eu.

All articles are offered in open access: you can read the full texts for free.

  • 14 oktober 2016

Spiders’ webs on the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

In Ghent the eight restored exterior panels of the Altarpiece the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in St Bavo’s Cathedral have been displayed to the press and public.

For four years a patient team of restorers have removed dirt, layers of varnish and paintings over the top, working at a painstaking rate of 1cm2 a day. Where necessary they retouched the work with water colour on a layer of varnish, in accordance with the 2016 restoration maxim of reversibility: any intervention must be reversible.

The result is impressive. The polyptych is more dazzling than ever, the perspective sharper, the three-dimensional effect more noticeable, the interplay of light and shadow more prominent.