Paper $38.50 ISBN: 9789089641007 Published July 2010 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

Discovering the Dutch

On Culture and Society of the Netherlands

Edited by Emmeline Besamusca and Jaap Verheul

Edited by Emmeline Besamusca and Jaap Verheul

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

304 pages | 60 color plates | 6 3/10 x 9 1/2 | © 2010
Paper $38.50 ISBN: 9789089641007 Published July 2010 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

What are the most salient and sparkling facts about the Netherlands that those interested in its history need to know? This volume tackles the heart of this question of Dutch identity through a number of essential themes that run through the culture, history, and society of the Netherlands. Running the gamut from the Randstad to the Dutch Golden Age, from William of Orange to Anne Frank, Discovering the Dutch uses a series of charming vignettes written by academic experts in their fields in order to address historical and contemporary issues such as immigration, tolerance, and the struggle against water, as well as issues of culture—painting, literature, architecture, and design among them.

Cynthia P. Schneider, former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands

“Like the paintings of Holland’s Golden Age, the Dutch themselves have many layers of meaning. Discovering the Dutch unravels the mysteries and contradictions of these people, to whom we owe the foundations of western principles of democracy and justice. Did you know that Hans Brinker was more American than Dutch? Want to understand how the Dutch Calvinists literally bet their houses on a tulip bulb? Read this book for these and other fascinating insights.”

Jonathan Israel, author of The Dutch Republic

“Judicious, useful, expert and concise—it would be hard to imagine a better guide to the cultural and historical reality of Dutch society today.”

Russell Shorto, author of Descartes’ Bones and The Island at the Center of the World

“From Rembrandt to Anne Frank, pancakes to coffee shops, canal houses to modern design, this volume explores myths and explodes misconceptions about the Netherlands and ‘Dutchness.’ Whether you are planning to spend a week in Amsterdam or are writing a dissertation on Dutch culture and history, this is a very useful volume.”


Map of the Netherlands


Emmeline Besamusca & Jaap Verheul

·        Neither Wooden Legs nor Wooden Shoes: Elusive Encounters with Dutch Identity

Wiljan van den Akker


1        Citizens, Coalitions and the Crown

Emmeline Besamusca

·        Princess Máxima: Enchanting the Monarchy

·        Binnenhof: Traditional Heart of a Modern Democracy

2        The Economy of the Polder

Jan Luiten van Zanden

·        Bulbs, Flowers and Cheese: The Agricultural Face of an Urban Economy

·        Royal Dutch Shell: Corporate Legacy and Colonialism

3        Dilemmas of the Welfare State

Lex Heerma van Voss

·        Labor Productivity: Balancing Work and Leisure

·        Pensions: Well-Deserved and Well-Funded

4        Randstad Holland

Ben de Pater & Rob van der Vaart

·        The Amsterdam Canal Ring: Urban Heritage of the Golden Age

·        The Port of Rotterdam: A Logistical Hub of Europe

5        Idealism and Self-Interest in World Politics

Duco Hellema

·        Hollanditis: The Politics of Pacifism

·        Srebrenica: A Catastrophic Peace Mission


6        From the Periphery to the Center

Marco Mostert

·        The Roman Limes: A Cultural Meeting Place

·        Hebban Olla Vogala: The Beginnings of Literature

7        The Golden Age

Maarten Prak

·        The Tulip Bubble: Horticultural Speculation

·        William of Orange: Founding Father

8        A Tradition of Tolerance

Wijnand Mijnhardt

·        Hugo Grotius: Founder of Enlightenment Thought

·        Baruch de Spinoza: Philosopher of Liberty

9        Politics between Accommodation and Commotion

Ido de Haan

·        Pillarization: Segregation and Consensus

·        Pim Fortuyn: Libertarian Populist

10    The Second World War – Dilemmas of Occupation

Christ Klep

·        Auweis: The Danger of Identity Registration

·        Anne Frank: Icon of the Holocaust

Art & Culture

11    The Making of Rembrandt and Van Gogh

Ghislain Kieft & Quirine van der Steen

·        Vermeer: Interior Fantasies

·        Mondrian: Is this Art?


12    Style and Lifestyle in Architecture

Rob Dettingmeijer

·        The Rietveld Schröder House: Icon of Architecture for the Modern Age

·        The Royal Tropical Institute: Architectural Symbol of Colonialism

13    Literature, Authors and Public Debate

Frans Ruiter & Wilbert Smulders

·        Multatuli: Anti-Colonial Literature

·        The Assault: Writing the Second World War

14    Three Feminist Waves

Rosemarie Buikema & Iris van der Tuin

·        Joke Smit: Mobilizing Female Discontent

·        Dolle Mina: Second-Wave Feminism and the Media

15    Excellence and Egalitarianism in Higher Education

Jeroen Torenbeek & Jan Veldhuis

·        Aletta Jacobs: Emancipation through Education

·        University College: Challenging Academic Traditions

Contemporary Issues

16    Religious Diversification or Secularization?

David Bos

·        The Portuguese Synagogue: Monument of Asylum

·        Mosques in the Polder: Corner Stones or Stumbling Blocks?

17    Immigration and Multiculturalism

Hans Entzinger

·        Indonesian Rijsttafel: Sharing the Table

·        Ahmed Aboutaleb: Multicultural Mayor

18    Law in Action

Freek Bruinsma

·        Coffeeshops: From Permissiveness to Control

·        Subsidies: Good Intentions, Bad Results

19    Living with Water

Rob van den Vaart

·        The Beemster Polder: Masterpiece of Designed Reclamation

·        The Great Flood: Inducement for the Delta Works

20    In Foreign Eyes

Jaap Verheul

·        Hans Brinker: Morality Behind the Dikes

·        Frau Antje: Ambassador of Dutchness


About the Authors



For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Amsterdam University Press. RSS Feed