Boundaries and their Meanings in the History of the Netherlands


Traditionally, the term boundary applies to the demarcation between a physical place and another physical place, most commonly associated with lines on a map As the essays in this volume demonstrate, however, a boundary can also function in a more broadly conceptual manner. A boundary becomes not an “imaginary line” but a tool for thinking about how to separate any two elements, whether ideas, events, etc., into categories by which they become comprehensible and distinct. The scholar contributors seek not simply to discern the boundaries, but, and perhaps more importantly, to understand the process of delination, and its consequences. With its maverick history and grass-root political traditions, the Netherlands provides an auspicious setting to examine the historical function of boundaries both real and imagined.
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Biographical Note

Benjamin J. Kaplan (B.A. Yale University 1981, Ph.D. Harvard University 1989) is Professor of Dutch History at University College London and has a joint appointment at the University of Amsterdam. His most recent book is Divided by Faith (Cambridge, Mass., 2007).

Marybeth Carlson is Associate Professor of History at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, where she specializes in European Social History. She is currently at work on a comparative study of eighteenth century revolutions.

Laura Cruz is an Associate Professor of History at Western Carolina University. She is the author of The Paradox of Prosperity (Oak Knoll, 2008) and several articles about economic culture in the seventeenth century Netherlands.

Table of contents

Introduction: “Boundaries: Real and Imagined”, Laura Cruz and Hubert P. van Tuyll

I. The Golden Age
Divided Loyalties: States-Brabant As a Border Country, C.O. van der Meij
Geography Unbound: The World According to the Dutch circa 1700, Benjamin Schmidt
The Dutch at Deshima and the Visual Vocabulary of Exploration, Mia M. Mochizuki
The Transnational Dispersal of the Walloon Military Aristocracy in the Era of the Dutch Revolt: The Example of the Tserclaes of Tilly, John Theibault
The Geographic Extent of the Dutch Book Trade in the 17th Century: An Old Question Revisited, Laura Cruz
Pragmatic Agents of Empire: Dutch Intercultural Mediators among the Mohawks in Seventeenth-Century New Netherland, Mark Meuwese

II. The Modern Age
Neutral Borders, Neutral Waters, Neutral Skies: Protecting the Territorial Neutrality of the Netherlands in the Great War, 1914-1918, Maartje M. Abbenhuis
Last Chance: Belgium at Versailles, Hubert P. van Tuyll
The Dutch Border Areas 1933-1945: Inducement for Incidents Or Object of Structural Historiographical Neglect?, Bob de Graaff
‘Our National Community’: The Dominance of Organic Thinking in the post-war Netherlands, Martin Bossenbroek
Dwinegeri: Multiculturalism and the Colonial Past (Or: The Cultural Borders of Being Dutch – part I), Susan Legêne


This book will be of interest to historians of the Low Countries and its colonial empire as well, early modern and modern European historians, and those interested in interesting theoretical tools in historical methodology

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