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.

  • 16 januari 2008

Geert Mak and the rewards of small history

Let’s talk about Europe, those United States of Babel. British comedian Eddie Izzard once said: ‘I grew up in Europe, where history comes from.’ All witticisms aside, he does have a point when we’re talking about the preoccupation with history. Take Geert Mak, for instance, one of the most popular writers in the Netherlands and the author of numerous bestselling books of non-fiction. History and a keen sense of that history are part and parcel of all his books. Cha…

  • 16 januari 2008

There is a house in New Orleans: MVRDV helps to Make It Right

Brad Pitt doesn’t have a house in Amsterdam. A while ago the rumour was being spread that he and Angelina Jolie were going to buy one of those stately houses that line the canals of the Dutch capital. There were even pictures of them standing in an Amsterdam window, but that was a practical joke by the people from Amsterdam’s Madame Tussaud’s: they put the wax effigies of the couple there for a few hours. But there is a house in New Orleans which is Brad Pitt’s. An…

  • 14 januari 2008

A congregation of readers: the world's most beautiful bookshop is in Maastricht

In the forthcoming 16th issue of the yearbook The Low Countries Wiel Kusters writes about his home town Maastricht, a city of political ambiguity, governed by a mayor with remarkable views on drugs policy, but also a very intimate place where history and modern building projects go hand in hand. In the words of a TV producer whom Kusters quotes: ‘a dynamic city, with beautiful backdrops’. Or, as the local tourist and recreation information office puts it: ‘Maastric…

  • 11 januari 2008

The artist who came out of the woodwork: Jan De Cock@MoMa

Someone, somewhere once said that deeds, not stones, are the true monuments of the great. The Flemish artist Jan De Cock has already shown admirable Tatenkraft at the still tender age of 31. Plenty of deeds and no stones at all, as his monuments are in plywood. He has built installations in diverse buildings and institutions concerned with art in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. For Tate Modern, De Cock created a series of installations and sculptures, mimicki…

  • 11 januari 2008

Reality according to Germaine Kruip in London

Fact or fiction? That’s always been a tough one. Fiction may seem infinitely more charming and full of opportunity, but it’s obliged to stick to possibilities, whereas fact isn’t hindered by such uncertainty and vagueness. Anyway…that’s only one way of looking at it. The exhibition Dealing with Reality (which runs until 17 February 2008) at the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem wants to draw attention to the different attitudes toward reality and realism, especially s…

  • 11 januari 2008

Car Culture: Flemish art on the move in Arizona

According to an article jointly written by Nicola Oxley and Nico de Oliveira, which is due to appear in the next issue of the yearbook The Low Countries, the Flemish artist Hans Op de Beeck’s prodigious oeuvre, spanning sculpture, installation, photography, video and drawing, bears witness to his desire to question boundaries between media, and between artist and spectator. The task of the work is to engender familiarity, to unlock the audience’s latent ability to …

  • 9 januari 2008

Music Centre The Netherlands: a joint kitchen for many cooks

G. K. Chesterton once wrote that ‘music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.’ Speaking of cooks, we all know that too many of them means spoiling the broth. And coming back to music: that’s what they must have thought at Music Center the Netherlands. As of January 1, 2008 Gaudeamus merged into this single large music institute in which classical, contemporary, jazz and pop music will all be incorporated. Well…that’s what the press release sa…

  • 9 januari 2008

Welcome to Omega Minor

‘Omega Minor is an ambitious, encyclopaedic novel that penetrates to the core of the traumatic twentieth century – the century of the atom bomb and the holocaust’, writes Sven Vitse about the second novel of Flemish writer Paul Verhaeghen in his article ‘Authenticity is Fiction’. This article will appear in the 16th yearbook The Low Countries, which will be out late April 2008. Dalkey Archive Press, who published the English translation of Omega Minor near the end …

  • 21 november 2007

Notice to Whom It May Concern

Thus beginneth a new blog.Watch this spot: as from the beginning of 2008 it will enlighten you about many a thing Dutch and Flemish. Read and you shall be informed. And for now, while the train hasn't left yet, we leave you with these words by the Flemish poet Jan Van Nijlen (1884-1965), printed in the 2006 issue of 'The Low Countries':And if the train pulls in to some peculiar placeyou'd never even heard of, not once in all your days,then you have reached your goa…

  • 21 november 2007

Notice to Whom It May Concern

Thus beginneth a new blog.Watch this spot: as from the beginning of 2008 it will enlighten you about many a thing Dutch and Flemish. Read and you shall be informed. And for now, while the train hasn't left yet, we leave you with these words by the Flemish poet Jan Van Nijlen (1884-1965), printed in the 2006 issue of 'The Low Countries':And if the train pulls in to some peculiar placeyou'd never even heard of, not once in all your days,then you have reached your goa…