In the upcoming months we will update these Frequently Asked Questions.
Why the eighteenth century?
In the history of the Dutch Republic, the eighteenth century is often seen as one of both economic and cultural decline, following what is commonly known as the Dutch Golden Age. To what extent did contemporary foreigners share this view? The conference aims to shed light on this question by bringing together a wide range of international experts and discussing a variety of sources. Such a dialogue will help establish the differences and similarities between the many perceptions of the United Provinces during the long eighteenth century. At the same time, this analysis will demonstrate whether these ‘foreign eyes’ perceived a significant break with the past. Did visitors focus on elements of decline or did they echo seventeenth-century testimonies, lauding the Republic’s past and present accomplishments? Even though the United Provinces gradually lost their principal role on the international political scene, the memory of their finest hour was still very much alive. Moreover, throughout the eighteenth century the Dutch made wide strides in the fields of science and medicine. Leiden was still famous for its university, while Amsterdam continued to play a vital part in international trade. By considering both longer historical developments and particular case-studies and moments of conflict, the conference hopes to contribute to a nuanced view of the Dutch Republic during the long eighteenth century, as seen through ‘foreign eyes’.