Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage and Identity

The Afterlife of the Dutch Golden Age

The domain will direct the heritage studies approach towards the afterlife of the Dutch Golden Age.

When former Prime Minister Balkenende praised the so-called ‘VOC-mentality’ in 2006, he responded to a continuing tradition in which Dutch social and cultural policies have tried to acquire legitimacy through claiming the seventeenth century. With the eighteenth-century waning of Dutch commercial capacities came a cultural nostalgia that continued, through nineteenth-century historicism, to the Second World War and, apparently, the present day.

The subproject will chart how in an international context, also other countries have made similar claims, from Nazi-Germany (Rembrandt as a German) and the Soviet Union (Rembrandt as a communist) to, even recently, Britain, the US, and Brazil. Approaching this afterlife from the critical perspectives of memory studies and identity studies will become increasingly relevant as Dutch society, in Balkenende’s wake, seeks to define its self-images in the seventeenth-century mirror.

23 January 2014