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.

  • 13 december 2016

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

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

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

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 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:

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. 

  • 14 oktober 2016

Bob Dylan’s Kin in the Lowlands

So Bob Dylan received the Nobel prize in literature. Four years ago, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, The Low Countries Yearbook went looking for the Song and Dance man's kin in in the Lowlands. Our very own Girl from the North Country, Lutgard Mutsaers, came up with this beautiful piece. 

  • 3 oktober 2016

Koen Vanmechelen’s Cosmopolitan Chicken Project In Detroit

The exhibition ENERGY/MASS, showing work by Koen Vanmechelen (b. 1965), recently opened at Wasserman Projects in Detroit’s Eastern Market. The show marks a new phase in Vanmechelen’s Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP), a transdisciplinary project exploring the balance between productivity and diversity. The artist’s work includes photography, sculpture, mixed-media installation, video, and living art, with the current exhibition featuring 2D and 3D artwork alongside live chickens from the CCP.

Read more about Koen Vanmechelen and CCP in this article from The Low Countries Yearbook.

ENERGY/MASS runs from 22 September until 17 December 2016. For further information on the exhibition and CCP see here and here.