The Low Countries is one of the world’s most urbanised regions. Since the Middle Ages, advances in mercantilism, industry and land reclamation had spurred Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam toward exponential growth. Meanwhile, claims to political autonomy and religious freedom caused tension with the powers that be, erupting most violently during the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648). Today, many Netherlandish cities retain a unique sense of identity, manifested in dialects, local legends and civic buildings. The diverse and wide-ranging programme features panels on sense and the city, the early modern book trade, the built environment, urban politics and modern times. Day two will include a virtual “show and tell” event showcasing Dutch language collections in the Universal Short Title Catalogue and the British Library. To conclude, we look forward to welcoming our keynote, Elisabeth de Bièvre, author of Dutch Art and Urban Cultures, 1200-1700 (Yale University Press, 2015).
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