history Leo van Bergen
8 min reading time

Like A Scythe across the Country

A hundred years ago the world encountered a Spanish flu pandemic which cost an estimated 50 to 100 million lives. But in the Netherlands it was long underestimated by the government. Medical historian Leo van Bergen sketches the devastation caused by Spanish flu between 1918 and 1920.

history Luc Devoldere
3 min reading time

The Great War Revisited

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War, numerous events have been held. This anthology brings together some of the finest essays we have published.

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Birth of a Nation. Belgium and the Treaty of London

On April 19 1839 the European Great Powers signed the 24 Articles of the Treaty of London and by doing so legally dissolved the ‘United Kingdom of the Netherlands'. From then on Belgium and the Netherlands would go their separate ways. It was a painful break that had been building up over many years, and its effects would reverberate for many decades to come.

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The First Replica of the Halve Maen

Helping to celebrate Henry Hudson's arrival 400 years ago on the shores of what is now New York, will be a replica of his ship the Halve Maen. This ship has been sailing up and down the Hudson River for many years. Captain Chip Reynolds witnessed the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11 2001 while his Halve Maen was moored in the Hudson in New York City. This is the second replica of the Halve Maen, after the first came to a sad end in upstate New York.

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Unveiling Dutch America. The New Netherland Project

The Dutch period in North America began in 1609 with Henry Hudson's exploration of the river that would be given his name. In 1614 the New Netherland Company was licensed by the States General of the United Provinces for fur trading in the newly discovered region, and in 1621 the West India Company was chartered to trade in Africa, Brazil, and North America. The Company sent the first colonists to New Netherland in 1624, and by 1664 the population is estimated at around 9,000. While it's clear that there was a lot going on in Dutch America, it has undeservedly remained a historical backwater. The reason was the lack of usable primary source materials for critical examination and interpretation. But the story of New Netherland warranted a more extensive analysis. But how was that to be achieved? The answer was the creation in 1974 of the New Netherland Project, leading to Charles Gehring's translations of the surviving seventeenth-century Dutch records. This was a turning point in American historiography, and the work still goes on after thirty-four years. To understand the true importance of this work it is necessary to see how things were before.

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The ‘Pirenne Phenomenon'

It is hard to imagine an academic historian today receiving the kind of public acclaim that befell the Belgian Henri Pirenne (1862-1935). He provided the Belgian nation with a common past in which trade and manufacturing brought people together, regardless of ideological or linguistic differences. In this he really was a man of the nineteenth century.

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