Commemorating a ‘Foreign’ War in a Neutral Country: The Political Insignificance of World War I Memory in the Netherlands

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The recent creation of a First World War museum exhibit at Huis Doorn reflects the increased Dutch attention paid to this war, accompanying the international Centenary efforts, although the neutral Netherlands had not been actively involved in the military events of wwi. This initiative, on a small estate where the former erman emperor Wilhelm II lived after the defeat of Germany in 1918, was not a natural outcome of the dynamics of Dutch historical culture. This article raises the question of how wwi became increasingly emphasised in the early twentyfirst century, and to what extent this reflects a profound change in the national historical culture, which previously displayed no strong connections to wwi. While familiarity with wwi has grown among the Dutch media and the wider public, governmental interest remained limited (very different from the case of wwii), making it rather difficult to actually speak of politics of memory.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDOI 10.18352
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalBMGN - Low Countries Historical Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • World War I
  • Memory
  • Museums
  • dutch history
  • historical culture


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  • Een oorlog in de schaduw

    Translated title of the contribution: A war in the shadowRibbens, K., Oct 2016, Coördinatiepunt, ( blog).

    Research output: Working paper/discussion paperWeb articlePopularizing

    Open Access

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