Arts and Society in Flanders and the Netherlands:
The Low Countries Yearbook 2014

Luc Devoldere (editor)

The Flemish-Netherlands Association 2014
A book review by Danny Yee © 2017
Published in 2014, this "Yearbook" (number 22) of the Flemish-Netherlands Association has eleven essays on the Great War, with the remaining twenty essays — and another twenty brief "chronicle" entries — fairly evenly split between literature, the visual arts and social history, in what I assume is the staple subject material of the series.

There are essays on the poetry and songs of the Great War, poppies and the Meenin Gate, and on occupied Belgium, Belgian refugees in Britain, the Belgian-Dutch border, the Belgian royal family and the wartime Netherlands. Other historical pieces consider the Netherlands and the Holocaust, the Belgian car industry, the history of Nijmegen, the influence of Holland on the Pilgrim Fathers, population shrinkage, and language and dialect. The writers and poets covered include Herman Koch, Hendrik Conscience, Koen Peeters, Menno Wigman, and F. Springer; the artists and designers treated include Cornelis van Haarlem, A.F.Th. van der Heijden, Folkert de Jong, Wim Crouwel, Oscar Jespers, Erik van Lieshout and Karel Dierickx.

One nice feature is that the essays on the arts all include fairly extensive colour illustrations, of the design or art or sculpture being discusssed, and the essays on literature include excerpts from poems or fiction. This helps to make them accessible even by complete outsiders. The approach is sub-scholarly, with only a couple of the essays providing references, and broadly accessible. It's an eclectic collection, but it gave me a glimpse of topics I would otherwise never have stubled over, and in the end I skipped only a few of the pieces on specific artists.

September 2017

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%T Arts and Society in Flanders and the Netherlands
%S The Low Countries Yearbook 2014
%E Devoldere, Luc
%I The Flemish-Netherlands Association
%D 2014
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9789079705177
%P 315pp