In the build-up to the celebration of 300 years Treaty of Utrecht (1713-2013) the Province installed a Chair in order to investigate the legacy of the Treaty of Utrecht for our modern-day world. During a sold-out conference on 15 April about the role of art and culture for conflict resolution, Utrecht University presented the insights resulting from the Treaty of Utrecht Chair.
The Treaty of Utrecht guest professors have pointed out that peace for some often implies a lack of freedom for others. That was true in 1713 and it still is today. “The Treaty of Utrecht boosted international slave trade and colonialism. The consequences are still present in our society”, says Rosi Braidotti, director of the Centre for the Humanities.
This year the Treaty of Utrecht celebrates its 300th anniversary. Music ensemble Camerata Trajectina, of which Prof. Louis Grijp (endowed professor of Dutch song culture) is the artistic leader, presented the cd De Vrede van Utrecht. Muziek uit de Spaanse Successieoorlog on 24 April during the international conference ‘Performances of Peace’. Together with Musicology students, Grijp has searched the Dutch ‘Liederenbank’ (song database) and found a surprising amount of music that turns out to be related to the Treaty of Utrecht and the preceding war.
UU historian Dr David Onnekink and former UU professor Renger de Bruin wrote the book De Vrede van Utrecht (1713). Thanks to the Treaty of Utrecht the French expansion was brought to a halt. The Treaty is still considered the cradle of modern international relations. Through the lens of this war and the resulting peace, this book analyses the political and cultural constellation of the Early Modern world.
On 29 November His Majesty King Willem-Alexander received the biographies of the Dutch kings William I, William II and William III. The three books are a joint initiative of Utrecht University, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Boom Publishers. Under the responsibility of Utrecht University and with funding from the Cultuurfonds, a four-year study into the three kings was conducted. The biographies’ authors, Jeroen Koch, Dik van der Meulen and Jeroen van Zanten, have been given the unique opportunity to study the archives of the three kings in the Royal House archive. The book presentation marked the start of the celebration of 200 years Dutch Orange monarchy.
Historian Dr Martin Bossenbroek (Political History) is the winner of the Libris Geschiedenis Prijs 2013 (Libris History Prize) with his book De Boerenoorlog. The prize is awarded to a historical study that appeals to a wide audience. Bossenbroek tells the story of the Boer War, that was fought from 1899 to 1902 in southern Africa between the British and the Boer republics Transvaal and Orange Free State. The crucial part played by the Dutch is also discussed in the book.
From the jury report: “Seemingly effortlessly, Bossenbroek succeeds in transporting the reader to another time. It makes De Boerenoorlog almost an epos.”
Economic historian Prof. Bas van Bavel has been awarded a grant of 2.25 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) to fund his research into the resilience of pre-industrial societies. Van Bavel will carry out research into the factors that determine the extent to which a society is resilient to shocks and disasters. It has been demonstrated that wealth and technology alone are not sufficient factors which can prevent disasters. Factors relating to how society is organised also play a crucial role. This is the focus of Van Bavel’s research, in particular the strength of the society regarding the exchange, allocation and use of land, labour and capital.
Distinguished Professor Rosi Braidotti received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the university of Linköping, Sweden, on 17 May. The university bestowed the high distinction of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa on her for her groundbreaking philosophical work, in particular in the field of gender studies.
Among the books that generated a lot of attention this year were: Wereld in woorden.Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur 1300-1400 by Distinguished Professor Frits van Oostrom, and Nederland en het poldermodel by economic historians Prof. Maarten Prak and Prof. Jan Luiten van Zanden.
Frits van Oostrom shows a colourful parade of authors and texts. Wereld in woorden opens a new window to the illustrious 14th century: the age of the plague and other disasters, but also an age of prospering creativity - as becomes apparent from the Dutch literature from this period.
In Nederland en het poldermodel, Maarten Prak and Jan Luiten van Zanden trace the origins and the development of the ‘poldermodel’, the consensus model that is often considered to be typically Dutch, in a constantly changing world.
The European Commission has awarded a 3.75 million Euros grant to Utrecht University for the research project EUscreenXL. The project will contribute to the realisation of the European Digital Agenda by making more than 1.000.000 audiovisual sources, mostly professional TV programming, accessible for European citizens, professionals and researchers. Prof. Eggo Müller (Media and Communication) will act as the coordinator of the three-year project starting in March 2013.
The Spel van de Gouden Eeuw (Game of the Golden Age) was developed under the direction of economic historians Dr Oscar Gelderblom and Prof. Joost Jonker. Players put themselves in the place of a starting merchant in 17th-century Amsterdam. The game can be downloaded for free on iPhone and iPad.
Become a wealthy magnate in the Golden Age by investing, doing business, managing your reputation and responding adequately to risks such as the sack of Antwerp, privateers taking VOC-ships, or the plague. While playing the game, you learn everything about how the financial market functioned in the 17th century.
The two-year Dutch-Flemish Master’s programme Literair vertalen (Literary Translation) had its festive start in the Antwerp City Hall on 20 September. After 20 years the Dutch-speaking region now has an academic programme in literary translation again. This international joint programme of Utrecht University and KU Leuven is the first two-year programme at Master’s level in Europe where students acquire practical experience in literary translation at an academic level and at the same time conduct research in this field. Among students there is already great interest in this new programme.
What does it mean to be Dutch, in the past centuries and now? The website ‘Ware Bataven’ (True Batavians) contains five extensive lessons for secondary school pupils (havo/vwo) about the formation of Dutch identity, pride and mythologisation in various historical texts. How have we defined ‘being Dutch’ throughout the centuries, and how do these images still affect our present-day views? How have texts helped us again and again to construct a Dutch identity?
The digital lessons were developed by three Utrecht students as part of their thesis: Ineke van Gelder (Master student of Dutch language and culture and teacher at a primary school), Jolien Brussen and Matti Gortemaker (both Master students of Medieval and Renaissance studies). Dr Feike Dietz has supervised the project.
On 19 April a delegation of the Dutch Parliament visited the first matching event of Taal en cultuurstudies at Utrecht University. Jasper van Dijk (SP), Michel Rog (CDA), Pieter Duisenberg (VVD) and Mohammed Mohandis (PvdA) were present at a tutorial for secondary school pupils who intend to enrol in the TCS programme and who therefore have to participate in a matching event. Utrecht University is the first Dutch university to focus on matching, in order to help students find a fitting study programme.
How can you interpret thousands of tweets, or see at a glance what’s important in a data set containing millions of items? In the Utrecht Data School, students analysed ‘big data’ for companies, non-profit organisations and governments. The Utrecht Data School is initiated by the programme New Media & Digital Culture (Assistant Professor Dr Mirko Tobias Schäfer, student Thomas Boeschoten, alumnus Lisette van Blokland), to form a bridge between academia and society.