A REPUBLIC TOPPED WITH A ROYAL CROWN
The Netherlands monarchy is everybody’s food for conversation. Some say it is a necessary, unifying force in a deeply divided society. Others will maintain it is the last stronghold of elitism in an egalitarian society and should be done away with. These platitudes tell us more about the anxieties and ambitions in the political class and the public at large than about the monarchy as such. Ultimately, the monarchy is an institution as any other. The Dutch crown has largely been shorn of its traditional governing and warrior roles and was reinvented as an imperial, ceremonial, welfare and family monarchy under the matriarchs Emma, Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix. When we keep an eye on the varied means whereby the Netherlands throne has survived and adapted, we should keep in mind that the political class and various emancipatory groups were deeply involved in the process.
Professor Coen Tamse’s analysis of the monarchy's present and recent past will tell us as much about the ideas, attitudes and myths of politicians and their electorates as it will do about the strategies of individual monarchs and their advisors.
Coen Tamse is emeritus professor of the history of Dutch political culture.
This lecture is organized in collaboration with the Dutch Studies Programme of the University of Groningen and is the kickoff of Curious about the Dutch?, a lecture series on Dutch culture and society. Every Wednesday evening, Dutch Studies organizes a free lecture, meant for foreign students and every non-Dutch visitor to Groningen. More information: http://www.rug.nl/let/dutchstudies