GEOGRAPHICAL IMAGINATION IN DUTCH HISTORICAL SELF-REPRESENTATION – THE CASE OF THE CULTURAL CANON OF THE NETHERLANDS

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ABSTRACT

Canonisation of ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’ shared knowledge and understanding is a contested process. Nevertheless the project of designing a historical and cultural canon of the Netherlands, commissioned by the national government, was successful in the sense that it induced intensive public and academic debate about history and culture and mobilised a plethora of history-related initiatives. In this paper, I shall explore to what extent geographical imagination has played a role in the Dutch historical and cultural canon and in the regional, local and thematic ‘canons’ that followed. It will be concluded that the geographical imagination seems to come quite natural with these attempts towards cultural and historical self-imaging and self-representation.

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