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.

  • 9 juli 2008

Night Vision: Van Gogh@MoMA

And now The Starry Night is kind of the centerpiece of Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night, an exhibition on show at MoMA from September 21, 2008 until January 5, 2009. It’s a joint effort with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where the exhibition can also be seen from February 13–June 7, 2009. As the press release mentions Vincent van Gogh attempted, throughout his career, the paradoxical task of representing night by light. The exhibition is devoted to Van Gog…

  • 17 juni 2008

CFDA Prize for Dries Van Noten: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Fashion and Love Clothes

Ever since he stopped caring about ‘being with it’, his business has only grown. And that’s quite an achievement for a guy who hasn’t spent a dime, pence, euro, nickel, cent or whatever on advertising, because then he would have ‘to increase the prices of the clothes by 5 or 10 percent’. No…it's the small things like apples on the seats for those who attend his shows or slightly bigger things like pregnant Cate Blanchett braving the 2008 Academy Awards Red Carpet i…

  • 30 mei 2008

Erwin Olaf's Photographic Pleasantville

According to the photographer it only took some improvisation, a bit of straightening and the usual digital manipulation to ‘elevate the ordinary’. And elevate he did, complete with Lucille Ball-like happiness, shiny interiors and that optimistic fifties sense of ‘hey.. we got the Russians lurking at us but all’s still well in our little corner of the world’. Thus Olaf, whose work will be on show in The Hague in September 2008, also succeeded in capturing the quest…

  • 30 mei 2008

Dead Writers Society… But Not Quite

According to Christina Rossetti, Spring is ‘when life's alive in everything’, but as far as Dutch literature goes, Spring 2008 seems to have been a particularly good season for the Grim Reaper. The Man with The Scythe had these men of letters on his shortlist and they all got the ultimate award:- Hugo Claus: ‘one of Belgium’s most renowned authors despite his often caustic portrayals of his nation’, according to the New York Times and described in the very first i…

  • 26 mei 2008

Home for the Summer: 'Bruegel to Rubens'

Some guys have all the luck and some girls have to do with…well…less. That’s what Henry VIII’s sister Mary may have been thinking when she received a painting in 1514 of her betrothed Charles V. A letter of 30 June 1514 mentions a portrait of Charles that had been sent to Mary ‘where he is very badly depicted’ (où il est tres mal contrefait), which may relate to the anonymous painting first recorded in the collection of Henry VIII and now part of the British Royal…

  • 9 mei 2008

A Dutch Skyscraper for Manhattan: Ben van Berkel & Five Franklin Place

In the martial arts flick Who Am I (1998) Jackie Chan literally and figuratively kicks ass in Rotterdam. We see him battling it out on Coolsingel and Koopgoot, sliding down the slanted ramp of the Willemswerf Office building, using a traditional wooden shoe as a lethal weapon and having a drink near the Erasmus Bridge. This iconic bridge across the Nieuwe Maas river, nicknamed ‘The Swan’ and linking the northern and southern halves of the city was designed by Ben v…

  • 9 mei 2008

One Stone, Three Birds : Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Paul Verhaeghen

‘A dazzling exploration of the ideas and experiences at the roots of modern life’: that’s how The Independent billed Paul Verhaeghen’s Omega Minor in its shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize earlier this year. Now the Flemish author’s 700-page novel about cognitive psychology, quantum physics, Nazis, Neo-Nazis, stormtroopers and scientists has been awarded said Prize. And a fine Prize it is: 13,500 euros, to be divided between author and translator. …

  • 30 april 2008

From the Low Countries, with Tender Loving Care: TLC no. 16

April 22, 2008 saw the appearance of our sixteenth yearbook The Low Countries. Arts and Society in Flanders and the Netherlands. This edition brings together a number of articles under the title ‘Lust and Love and Low Adventures’. This year we are giving you love. In every shape and form. From courtly love to love for animals. From Plato to porn. From the idyll to the WasteLand. From refined and circuitous to crude and down-to-earth. Famous loves from the past will…

  • 30 april 2008

Virtuosity is the Limit: Leine & Roebana on Tour in the US

With the Dutch choreographer couple Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana the sky may not be the limit, but virtuosity definitely is. As was noted in Carnet: ‘Leine & Roebana keep pushing their dancers to the limits, to the point where control and perfection could easily turn into chaos and failure.’ Dutch dance critic Isabella Lanz remarked in the yearbook The Low Countries (and also in Contemporary Dance in the Low Countries) that music is both their basis and their …

  • 5 maart 2008

Maria Sybilla Merian: Art, Science and Business

The Euro is standing strong, the US dollar is…ummm...well…let’s just say you need quite a fistful of dollars to acquire only a few Euros. It’s a brave new world indeed. So in with the new and out with the old. Like at the start of 2002, when they all fell like flies: the old trusted Belgian Franc, the stylishly designed Dutch Guilder notes, the sturdy Deutschmark and so many other currencies we all got brief flashes from during our travels through Europe. But with …