Colloque et exposition : Memory contested

Memory contestedFrom 24 January to 20 May 2014, the exhibition Memory Contested, Tales of the Revolt, 1566-1700 can be visited at the exhibition gallery of Leiden University Library. On 23 January, a symposium and a festive opening will be held.


Like they still are today, in the seventeenth century Netherlands war memories were often contested. The Dutch Revolt against the King of Spain which broke out in 1566, first became a civil war before turning into a war between two states. In the North, a new state was founded, the Dutch Republic. In 1585, the Southern regions were reconciled with the king and the Catholic Church.


Contesting stories

Once divided, the Northern and Southern Netherlands each developed their own take on the Revolt. Princes, churches, cities and families, all told their own tales about the past. Both courage and victimhood became a source of prestige and states. People honoured their heroes, and shuddered over the villains, but also invoked the past for political gain.

This exhibition shows how seventeenth-century people kept the past alive. They not did so in books and manuscripts, but also in songs and plays, prints and paintings, gable stones and stained glass. Northerners and Southerners, Calvinist and Catholics: all cherished their own version of the past.



This exhibition is a result of the research project Tales of the Revolt. Memory, oblivion and identity in the Low Countries, 1566-1700 , that was directed by Judith Pollmann. On 23 January, she and her research team will present their findings in short interactive sessions. This symposium is not a meeting of academics, but is open to everyone who is interested in the subject. The symposium starts at 1.00 p.m. at the University Library on 27 Witte Singel, Leiden.



Following on the symposium, the exhibition will be festively opened with a double interview with Judith Pollmann and Bart van der Boom, who works on modern war memories, by Dennis Bos of the Department of History, with community singing on the basis of ‘Beggar songs’ led by dr. Olga van Marion. Finally, a short introduction to the exhibition by the compilers, Marianne Eekhout en dr. Erika Kuijpers.
This exhibition was curated by Marianne Eekhout and Erika Kuijpers, who are members of the research team in the NWO VICI project: Tales of the Revolt. Memory, oblivion and identity in the Low Countries, 1566-1700 , in collaboration with Anton van der Lem, curator of rare books at Leiden University Library.


Program (Dutch spoken)


13.00     Welkom
13.05      Judith Pollmann: ‘Oorlogsherinneringen of de kunst van het vergeten’
13.35      Jasper van der Steen: ‘Ruzie maken over het verleden’
14.05      Marianne Eekhout: ‘Uithangborden, kogels en zilverwerk: de gevel als plaats van herinnering’
14.35      Pauze
14.45      Johannes Müller: ‘Herinneringen aan de Opstand in ballingschap’
15.15      Erika Kuijpers: ‘De oorlogsherinneringen van een Brabantse pastoor’
15.45      Einde symposium


16.00    Welkom
16.05     Dubbelinterview Judith Pollmann en Bart van den Boom door Dennis Bos
16.35     Community singing onder leiding van Olga van Marion
16.50     Inleiding en opening tentoonstelling door Marianne Eekhout en/of Erika Kuijpers
17.00    Bezoek tentoonstelling en borrel

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