Andries Beeckman’s ‘The Castle of Batavia’ and 17th-Century Dutch Colonialism

The Dutch occupied this city, as well as several others in Asia, for centuries. A Castle on Colonial Soil The air feels humid with a thick layer of clouds covering most of the blue in the sky. Tall palms stand in unnaturally precise rows and shade a busy marketplace of exotic goods and colorfully dressed[…]

Leprosy and the Colonial Gaze in the Dutch West and East Indies, 1750–1950

Leprosy and compulsory segregation were connected through the ‘colonial gaze’. Abstract This article is looking at colonial governance with regard to leprosy, comparing two settings of the Dutch colonial empire: Suriname and the Dutch East Indies. Whereas segregation became formal policy in Suriname, leprosy sufferers were hardly ever segregated in the Dutch East Indies. We[…]

Peasant and Nestrobber: Bruegel as Witness of His Times in 16th-Century Antwerp and Brussels

In ‘Peasant and Nestrobber’, Bruegel was engaged with the troubles of his time. Abstract Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Peasant and Nestrobber (1568) remains one of his most challenging paintings. By the time of its creation Bruegel had already innovated by treating ordinary people as subjects suitable for the attention of a serious painter. In this[…]

Fishing for Souls: Water Technology and the Dutch Baroque

Examining how issues of representation and aesthetics impacted the environmental history of early modern Europe. Early modern interaction with water, be it through coastal flooding, stranded sea-life, or trial by ordeal, was one of the totemic means of decoding and countering divine power. Water was woven into the fabric of cultural life: it was an active[…]