High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Spread the Spark
© Jean-Christophe Guillaume
© Jean-Christophe Guillaume © Jean-Christophe Guillaume

Spread the Spark

On 1 January 2021, Luc Devoldere will pass the torch on to his successor, Hendrik Tratsaert. Ever since 2002, Devoldere has been editor-in-chief and managing director of Flemish-Dutch cultural institution Ons Erfdeel vzw, which is also the driving force behind the the low countries website. With this letter, he bids his readers farewell.

I was always working steady
But I never called it art
I got my shit together
Meeting Christ and reading Marx
It failed, my little fire
But it spread the dying spark
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart

Leonard Cohen

The hunchbacked genius Giacomo Leopardi, born in 1798 in Recanati, a village near Ancona, would often mock the obstinate belief in progress, which flourished in the nineteenth century; he poked fun at the newspapers that would spread the word, and scoffed at the bearded revolutionaries who sat in tearooms, gobbling down ice-cream by the bowl. He once announced the publication of a weekly magazine that would not focus on ‘the growth of industrial wealth, nor the improvement of social structures, or human perfection.’

Although that particular magazine never saw the light of day, in times like these, I keep on dreaming of periodicals, journals, and online platforms that take their readership seriously. I long for publishers who will drag themselves by the hair from the swamps brimming with uncalled-for opinions, who are able to distinguish facts from comments, who distance themselves from the canonisation of emotion and commotion, who are both fearless and free…

This will be my final contribution to this website as your editor-in-chief. On 1 January 2021, Hendrik Tratsaert will take the helm.

All the best. And fare thee well. Keep on reading us. Spread the spark.

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