To refer to this article use this url: http://journalofdutchliterature.org/vol02/nr02/a01


Journal of Dutch Literature, volume 2, number 2, December 2011

The Dutch against Napoleon. Resistance Literature and National Identity, 1806-1813

Lotte Jensen, Radboud University, Nijmegen

Abstract


Literature must be considered as an important source for investigating the opposition against the Napoleonic Empire; throughout Europe there was a strong hidden flow of literature aimed at undermining the French military regime. This article discusses the case of Dutch resistance literature between 1806 and 1813 and argues that studying this type of literature fundamentally changes our perspective on those years. Not only can it be seen as an example of literary activism against Napoleon, it also offers us new insights in the rise of Dutch national thought and nationalism. Special attention is paid to the work of Jan Fredrik Helmers, Cornelis Loots, Hendrik Tollens and Adriaan Loosjes.


To what extent can literature be used as a source for gaining historical knowledge?[1] This question has challenged historians and literary historians ever since the development of ‘history’ as a scholarly discipline. The answer tends to be moderately positive: literature may reveal specific information that can increase our historical knowledge of a certain time, but we should always take the specific character of literature into account.[2] In some cases, however, literature seems to be indispensable for a correct view of a certain period.

This article discusses the case of Dutch resistance literature between 1806 and 1813 and argues that studying this type of literature fundamentally changes our perspective on these years. Not only does it offer us new insights in the rise of Dutch national thought and nationalism, it can also be seen as an example of international literary activism against Napoleon, which culminated during this period. Throughout Europe, poets, novelists and intellectuals engaged in a common cause to oppose Napoleon’s tyranny. The literary scholar Joep Leerssen has convincingly argued that their activities may be described as a manifestation of ‘political Romanticism’: these authors were inspired by Romantic attitudes as well as political ideals.[3] Dutch resistance literature – a neglected chapter in Dutch literary history – should be read against this international background.

Status Quaestionis


Between 1806 and 1813 the Dutch were officially ruled by the French: the country was first led by King Louis Napoleon, one of Napoleon’s brothers (1806-1810), only to be subsequently annexed by the French emperor (1810-1813). The general current historical view is that the Dutch people willingly submitted to these years of French reign. This view is mainly based on the influential archival study by H.T. Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken (1905-1922), which has been largely uncritically followed in recent historical surveys.[4] The historian Johan Joor, however, has recently challenged this view by looking at local municipal archives. He has found a great deal of evidence showing that local groups did in fact oppose the French regime by organising local demonstrations and revolts.[5] Although their impact should not be overestimated, Joor’s study suggests that the current historical consensus needs revisiting.

Joor’s research did not include literature but it must be considered as an important, if not the most important, source to support the thesis that the Dutch people protested against their French rulers. The historian N.C.F. van Sas has pointed at the importance of poets and literary societies in spreading patriotic feelings during these years.[6] Many well-known authors such as Johannes Kinker, Hendrik Tollens and Jan Fredrik Helmers published anti-French patriotic works. They criticised French rulers by pointing to the glorious past of the Dutch nation and suggesting that it could once again become the powerful nation it had been in the seventeenth century. They wrote extensively about the superior qualities of the Dutch nation, its culture and its inhabitants, in order to deal with the existential crisis. It is an interesting paradox: just when the existence of the Dutch nation was seriously threatened – it officially ceased to exist between 1810 and 1813 – it became omnipresent in poetry, theatre plays and novels.

The resistance literature of this period, however, still remains largely terra incognita. Only on very rare occasions, in times of war and during commemorations, have literary historians looked back at previous periods in which resistance literature flourished.[7] Nowadays, this type of literature is usually neglected because its aesthetic value has been questioned. Indeed the tone is often very bombastic and monotonous and, for present-day readers at least, there seems little to enjoy. This attitude does not take into consideration the nature of most literature written in pre-modern times, whose main goal was to intervene in social and political debates and to influence public opinion. It was concerned with ethics rather than aesthetics. It should be noted that the term ‘resistance literature’, at least in the Netherlands, is mostly associated with the Second World War (1940-1945). It is just as relevant, however, to the period 1806-1813, because it points to a widespread and vivid hidden stream of literature aimed at undermining the French military regime.[8]

The subversive role of literature undermining Napoleon’s empire tends to be overlooked in other European countries as well. Resistance against Napoleon is usually described in terms of social revolt or upheaval.[9] Nevertheless, literature was an important tool for protesting against the French invaders and for spreading patriotic feelings.[10] A study of this type of literature should therefore be included when trying to assess the significance of popular revolt against Napoleon. Moreover, the results might shed a new light on nation-building and nationalism in Europe around 1800.[11]

Concepts like ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ have been used in varying and sometimes contradictory ways by scholars. Here, I follow the definitions given by Joep Leerssen in his study National Thought in Europe. A Cultural History (Leerssen 2008), which are based on the common ground established by the main authorities in this field, such as Hans Kohn, Elie Kedourie, Ernest Gellner, Anthony Smith and John Breuilly.[12] The nation is defined as ‘a subjective community established by shared culture and historical memories’. It not only involves ‘a sense of belonging together’ but also of ‘being distinct from others’. It can refer to local, regional and supra-regional communities, and ‘with an emphasis either on the social, the cultural or the racial aspects’. In addition, Leerssen makes a distinction between ‘nationalism’ and ‘national thought’. Nationalism points at the political ideology or doctrine of nationalism, which emerges in the nineteenth century and which takes the modern nation-state as the constitutive unity. ‘National thought’, finally, includes ‘all pre-nineteenth century source traditions and ramifications of the nationalist ideology’ and refers to ‘a way of seeing human society primarily as consisting of discrete, different nations, each with an obvious right to exist and to command loyalty, each characterized and set apart unambiguously by its own separate identity and culture’. National thought is both wider and less specific than the nationalist ideology, and enables us to trace the idea that people belonged to the same ‘nation’ or ‘national’ community to earlier stages of history.

In revealing the cultural foundations of modern European nation-states, increasing attention has been paid to the role of literature. It has convincingly been shown that it is in the field of literature that national identities are first and foremost formulated effectively because literature often works with discursive patterns of self-identification, convincing images and commonplaces.[13] Dutch resistance literature against Napoleon presents us with unique material for studying the emergence of Dutch national thought and nationalism around 1800, because it contains many statements about the supposed essence and character of the Dutch people and their culture. Through literature, a shared national self-image and a sense of collective togetherness were constructed, which implied the exclusion of others (especially the French).

In what follows I shall examine the content and ideology of Dutch resistance literature between 1806 and 1813, and its place and function within the development of Dutch national thought and nationalism in a politically turbulent period of war, pressure and transformation. First, however, I will make some preliminary remarks about the historical context and the implementation of censorship during the Napoleonic years.

The Napoleonic Era: Historical Demarcations and Censorship


Louis Napoleon was made king of Holland on 5 June 1806. This date marks the beginning of a new era: the Batavian Republic became a monarchy under French rule. Many far-reaching political measures were introduced, including the centralization of the domestic government and the implementation of two new codifications. However, Louis Napoleon’s reign can also be seen as a continuation of the political changes already under way.

From 1780 onwards, Dutch politics was determined by two opposing parties: the Orangists, who supported the Stadtholder Willem V, and the Patriots, who opposed hereditary succession of the stadtholder and sought more democratic rights. The Patriot movement gained many followers through the political press: newspapers and weekly magazines played a crucial role in spreading revolutionary ideals throughout the nation.[14] In 1787 the Stadtholder succeeded in suppressing the opposition with the help of the Prussian army, which led many Patriots to flee to France. In 1795 the Dutch Patriots took power and proclaimed the Batavian Republic. In the following years, several fundamental constitutional changes were introduced, which were laid down in the Staatsregeling voor het Bataafsche Volk (Constitution of the Batavian People, 1798) and in the constitutional revisions of 1801 and 1805. The Constitution of 1806 upheld many elements from the Constitution of 1805 so that the transition to Louis’ reign went rather smoothly and was not a complete departure from the preceding period.[15]

Louis Napoleon’s reign had two faces: on the one hand, he endeavoured to be a ‘bon roi’ and to improve and protect his kingdom. It was an important part of his political programme to stimulate Dutch cultural life and in fact he positively influenced the artistic and intellectual climate of his kingdom. He promoted theatre to a prominent role and bestowed considerable subsidies on Dutch theatre every year. He also gave a new impetus to cultural institutions such as The Royal Library in The Hague and the State Museum for Paintings in Amsterdam; in 1808 he founded The Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts in Amsterdam. On the other hand, he was compelled to take many unpopular measures in order to meet the needs of Napoleon, who demanded both financial support and soldiers. On various occasions people protested against these measures, for example when Louis, on behalf of his brother, forced orphan boys to join the French army.[16] Maria Aletta Hulshoff, who published a pamphlet to protest against this type of compulsory military service, was exiled for four years.[17]

The subversive power of the press was recognized by the French authorities. During the reign of Louis Napoleon the freedom of the press was considerably restricted.[18] On 14 July 1806 a decree was issued obliging all printers to send two copies of each book to the Royal Library in The Hague. They also had to send a copy of journals and any other printed material to the Directorate of Justice and Police where a Chef de Bureau examined all material. It was the responsibility of the publisher, printer and writer to ensure that nothing harmful to the state and society would be published.[19] However, many printers ignored these laws and, on 27 June 1807, the directors of various departments were warned about the consequences of not abiding by these rules. These warnings did not have much effect but the Royal Decree of 22 April 1809 did. This Decree imposed large penalties on booksellers who continued to break the law. After the annexation of the Dutch nation in 1810, French laws were applied to the Dutch departments. This was also the case with the Decree of 5 February 1810 which governed censorship. It was forbidden to print anything critical of the French empire and strict procedures had to be followed during the printing process. The number of printers with a license drastically decreased.[20] Meanwhile, publishers and writers tried to find ways to circumvent these rigid rules. Some were quite successful and managed to publish a substantial number of anti-French publications.

Before discussing the contents and ideology of Dutch resistance literature (1806-1813), it is worth noting that anti-French remarks can also be found in literature written in the years before. Between 1795 and 1806, authors visibly harboured growing feelings of discomfort and unease regarding French influence. The Batavian Revolution of 1795 was initially welcomed by the Dutch Patriots, but it soon became clear that the new Batavian Republic merely functioned as a puppet state of the French empire. Authors like Cornelis Loots, Arend Fokke Simonsz and Pieter Witsen Geysbeek gradually became more critical and warned their fellow countrymen that Dutch independence and identity were under threat. The Amsterdam poet Jan Fredrik Helmers – an enlightened cosmopolitan who strongly rejected the revolution – claimed that the Netherlands had already been buried in 1795 and wrote ‘Lijkzang op het graf van Nederland, 1795’ (‘A funeral song on the grave of the Netherlands, 1795’). This poem was primarily directed against the Batavian Revolution but also contained critical remarks of foreign countries like France and Spain, which had threatened Dutch independence in the past. In short: anti-French sentiments were not a new phenomenon,[21] but they were intensified when a French king ascended the throne in 1806 and were exacerbated when the nation was annexed by the French emperor in 1810.

Resistance Literature: Recurring Themes


There are two main themes in the anti-French Dutch resistance literature: the Dutch language and the great national past. The Dutch language was considered to be the pulse of the nation: it was the medium which united the Dutch people and which gave them the right to exist. Due to the growing political influence of the French, the position of the Dutch language was seriously undermined.[22] After the annexation, the country was divided into Departments and central government was moved to Paris; all official documents and correspondence with the highest authorities had to be drafted in French. National newspapers and announcements became bilingual, and schools were obliged to teach French.[23] Dutch poets saw it as their special duty to keep the Dutch language, and thus their national identity, alive and well. This special interest in the nation’s language was given an extra impulse from 1780 onwards by the Romantic belief that a nation’s culture, and in particular its language, are the manifestation of its soul and essence.[24]

The great national past was the other key theme. By celebrating national heroes and depicting great military victories from the past, authors tried to create a positive self-image. They preferred episodes from the Dutch Revolt or the Eighty Years’ War against Spain, events which had led to the recognition of the United Provinces as a sovereign state. By drawing parallels between the past and the present they suggested that the Dutch nation would also be able to conquer the French oppressors.[25]

Both themes – language and the great national past – play a prominent role in the work of Dutch resistance authors. Some are still well-known today, such as Rhijnvis Feith and Hendrik Tollens, but the majority have fallen into oblivion, for example Adriaan Loosjes, Johannes Immerzeel, Marten Westerman, Cornelis van der Vijver, Cornelius van Marle, Nicolaas van der Hulst, Petrus Bosscha and Adam Simons. Since a complete survey of Dutch resistance literature would go beyond the scope of this article, I shall briefly discuss the work of four authors who may be considered as the principal authors of Dutch resistance literature during the French period: Loots, Helmers, Tollens and Loosjes.[26]

Cornelis Loots (1764-1834) wrote a considerable number of poems about national heroes from the past.[27] He used history as a means to criticise French rule, for example in De Batavieren, ten tyde van Cajus Julius Cezar, wegens het hen voorgeslagen staatsverbond der Romeinen (The Batavian people, during the reign of Gaius Julius Caesar, and the proposed alliance of the Romans, 1805, reprinted in 1813). He compared the oppression of the Romans with the destructive behaviour of the French. They claimed to be peaceful yet enslaved other nations. He also published anti-French poems about the heroic national past in the weekly newspaper De ster (The star, 1806). This periodical was filled with anti-French propaganda, and contained many negative references to Napoleon Bonaparte. Loots was nearly imprisoned for his contributions, but the French authorities decided only to arrest the publisher of the newspaper.[28]

Loots’s most influential poem was De Hollandsche taal (The Dutch language). He recited this poem in several literary societies towards the end of 1810 but did not publish it until 1814, probably because it contained too many anti-French elements. This work celebrates the Dutch language, which Loots considered to be the soul of the nation. The tone gradually becomes more and more intense and reaches a climax when he encourages his fellow poets, Helmers, Kinker and Tollens, to cry their battle cries out loud:

Come on, Dutch sons! Come on, heroes!
Girded with arms of intelligence;
You, who, in the field of literature,
Never surrendered to stronger enemies:
O, Helmers! Kinker! Come on, o choirs
Of bards! Shout your battle cries out loud!
Come on, Tollens! Blow the trumpet […].[29]

Loots argues that poets have a duty to become engaged because they have the skills to combat the enemy through words. In other words, literature was to be used in the struggle against the French because it was a powerful weapon.

His brother-in-law, Jan Fredrik Helmers (1767-1813), also contributed to the anti-French periodical De ster. He published a fragment of a tragedy about the destruction of the Greek city Corinth by the Romans in the year 146 BC. The parallel with the present time must have been obvious to the readers; copies of the manuscript were circulated in which the Greek names had been replaced by Dutch names.[30] In De ster he also disclosed parts of a poem that would become the single most important resistance poem during the French occupation: De Hollandsche natie (The Dutch nation). The complete version of this poem appeared in 1812. It offers an overview of Dutch history, paying specific attention to William of Orange (1533-1584), the sea heroes of the seventeenth century, the colonial empire, and national poets and painters. Many passages can be read as anti-French statements, such as the description of the French king Louis XIV, who invaded the Dutch Republic in 1672. Helmers manipulated the existing anti-Louis XIV discourse in a way that encouraged the reader to draw a parallel between the past and the present.[31]

The printing process of De Hollandsche natie was very complex and took over a year. Helmers had to delete many passages before he was authorised to publish the text. In 1814, after Napoleon’s defeat, the original version was published. This allows us to compare both versions and to see what was deemed unacceptable by the censors. Most deleted passages deal with domineering nations and kings of the past: the Romans, the Spanish king Philip II and the French king Louis XIV. Helmers strongly rejects their attitude and compares them to a despicable band of robbers. Other deleted passages refer to the misery into which the Dutch nation had fallen since the French had taken over the country and describe the power and strength of the Dutch people. Yet even with all these deletions it remains a mystery how Helmers received permission to publish his poem at all. It was still an exalted celebration of the moral superiority of the Dutch. Even the title – The Dutch Nation – could be interpreted as a controversial statement.

A question arises about the scope of the concept of ‘nation’ in Helmers’s poem. In other words, should we see his poem as a form of local protest, concentrated on the province of Holland or even more narrowly on the city of Amsterdam where he lived? Or did the poem refer to a national community and have national impact? Although he pays much attention to Amsterdam as the heart of the nation, I believe that his poem did have an impact on a national scale. He received letters praising the work from many parts of the country (Zwolle, Rotterdam, Apeldoorn). Moreover, in his poem Helmers refers not only to Amsterdam and the province of Holland but explicitly includes the other provinces. In a passage about the Batavian ancestors he calls the tribes of neighbouring provinces (Groningen, Friesland, Gelderland) members of the same family.[32] His poem was, in the end, meant to be a true national epic, written in the tradition of the great epic poems of Torquato Tasso and Luis de Camões. After Napoleon’s defeat, Helmers’s epic was reprinted many times and remained very popular until the second half of the nineteenth century.

Even more popular were the patriotic poems of Hendrik Tollens (1780-1856). He became immensely popular with a series of national-historical romances which featured Dutch historical figures and great events of the past, namely Jan van Schaffelaar (1807), Albrecht Beiling (1809), Kenau Hasselaar (1811), Herman de Ruiter (1812) and Het turfschip van Breda (The Siege of Breda, 1813). The men and women he depicts were all willing to sacrifice their lives and die for a greater cause. Tollens thus propagated virtues of loyalty and patriotism as a means to challenge French domination. Kenau Hasselaar, for example, defended the city of Haarlem against Spanish troops in 1572-1573 with an armed group of women, while Herman de Ruiter blew himself up in 1570 when Spanish troops had conquered the castle of Loevestein.

In his romance about the siege of Breda, Tollens extols the liberation of the Dutch from foreign domination. In 1590, Dutch soldiers successfully conquered the city of Breda by hiding their men in a ship filled with peat. A parallel with the present time could easily be drawn by the audience:

We speak of the ship filled with peat in Breda,
And of the bravery of Prince Maurits.
This bravery filled the Spaniards with great fear,
And was painful to their pride,
And lifted the heavy weight of foreign oppression
From our shoulders.[33]

The popularity of Tollens’s poems did not go unnoticed by the French censor. Tollens was criticized for abusing literary romances for his own nationalist purposes: ‘This poet is one of the most prominent Dutch writers. He particularly excels at the genre of romance, which they call ballad after a kind of French poem that we no longer use and has nothing to do with the genre of romance. The Dutch have taken possession of the word and have applied it to something completely different’.[34]

Tollens also wrote a poetical manifesto in 1812, which he dedicated to his fellow poet Cornelis Loots. In this poem, written in the form of a letter, he complains about the fact that most Dutch poets imitate foreign poets such as Voltaire and Racine. Instead, they should be proud of their own literary heritage and emulate the great seventeenth-century poet Joost van den Vondel: ‘Conquer territories, put aside foreign oppression, / Found your own Dutch school, develop your own Dutch taste’.[35] Tollens’s poem is filled with negative references to slavery and censorship. He encourages poets to resist all foreign influence and write original Dutch poetry. Although Tollens’s appraisal of Vondel should be put into the context of longer canonization processes, it gets new meaning in the context of the incorporation into the French empire: this seventeenth-century poet, who was never afraid of speaking his mind and entering public debates, should be an example to contemporary poets.[36] Again, literature is considered to be a powerful tool to oppose French domination.

Interestingly, Tollens also wrote many poems about daily life, his so-called ‘homely poetry’. These were considered to be harmless by the French authorities. Nevertheless, I would like to suggest we re-read these poems because these seemingly innocent sketches about family life might contain hidden messages. For example, his poem about the first teeth of his youngest son seems plain and simple at first glance, but there is a second layer in the poem which gives it a wholly new and anti-French meaning. In fact, the poem is about loyalty, purity, honesty and having a clear conscience. These key themes might have had a subversive meaning in times of war.[37]

The reader should also be aware of double messages in the work of the bookseller and publisher Adriaan Loosjes (1761-1818). His vast body of work includes plays, novels, poetry, essays, pamphlets and periodicals. His national-historical plays and novels are of particular interest because a longing for independence and freedom is expressed under the veil of the past. For example, in Loosjes’s tragedy Kenau Hasselaar (1808), the heroine is represented as a brave and compassionate woman who defends the freedom of the Dutch Republic. In the comedy Laurens Koster (1809), Loosjes argues that the art of printing was invented by Laurens Coster, a citizen of the city of Haarlem, instead of the German printer Johannes Gutenberg. In the play the invention is stolen by the German servants working at Coster’s printing press. Loosjes distinguishes between the Dutch people, who are virtuous, tolerant, hard-working folk, and foreigners (read: the French), who are mean and loathsome. Again, the contemporary message is clear: the Dutch should rely on their own qualities and condemn foreign ‘robbery’.

This nationalistic ideology is even more obvious in Loosjes’s novels. In 1808 he published a voluminous novel entitled Het leven van Maurits Lijnslager (The life of Maurits Lijnslager). The protagonist is a seventeenth-century merchant whose life is described from the cradle to the grave. The book is divided into three parts: the first is about his adolescence, in which he makes a grand tour of Europe and gains knowledge about other cultures. He concludes that the Dutch are superior to all these nations on an artistic, scientific, economic and moral level. Remarkably enough he does not travel to France, as if the country were not even worth a visit. The second part is devoted to his family life. He marries a virtuous woman, with whom he has six children, and engages in a flourishing career as a merchant. When the country needs him, he enters into military service. In the third part he plays a significant role in city politics before retiring and enjoying the achievements of his grandchildren. In short, Maurits is presented as the ideal Dutchman: he is intelligent, virtuous, tolerant, pious, patriotic, a real family-man, industrious and brave. Readers are expected to identify with the main character and develop these typically Dutch traits themselves.[38]

This novel could easily be interpreted as offensive by the French authorities, as is confirmed by the fact that a second edition was banned by the censors in 1812. Under the prevailing political circumstances it was best not to reprint the novel, according to the head of the Paris Direction, Fr. R.J. de Pommereul.[39] This infuriated Loosjes and prompted him to write a protest poem:

Crushed by French Tyranny,
That even oppresses the smallest sigh of a Dutch heart,
MAURITS is being taken with violence from me.
This much Freedom was lost on Batavian territory.
But one day French violence will disappear from the Dutch land,
No reprint of MAURITS will be needed,
Completely cured from foreign taste
Everyone will become a MAURITS himself.[40]

It is noteworthy that Loosjes postulates a direct link between his novel and real life: the perfect Dutchman would, after the liberation from French oppression, be a replica of the protagonist, Maurits Lijnslager.

Considering that a reprint of Maurits Lijnslager was forbidden, it is somewhat surprising that in 1812 Loosjes did get permission to publish a lengthy poem about one of the greatest Dutch sea heroes: Michiel de Ruyter. In De laatste zeetogt van den admiraal De Ruiter (The Last Sea Journey of Admiral De Ruyter, 1812), Loosjes describes the battle of the Spanish fleet, assisted by the Dutch, against the French near Messina (Sicily) in 1676. In the course of the battle De Ruyter was wounded in the leg and lost his life. Loosjes’s narrative poem contains many derogatory adjectives to describe the battle against the French and it therefore does not come as a surprise that he was forced to delete many passages that took too obvious a stance for liberty and against oppression. In 1814 he published a full list of the changes he had been forced to make by the Amsterdam and Paris authorities.[41] However, despite the amendments, this poem was an obvious celebration of Dutch patriotism. How is it possible that the censors agreed to have this work published?

A letter of Loosjes to the censor in Paris, Hendrik Jansen, may give the answer. In this letter, dated 2 September 1811, Loosjes asks him for advice on the question of censorship: he wants to publish a patriotic poem about a Dutch sea hero and would like to know whether there is a way to circumvent the rigid rules. Would it be possible, Loosjes suggests, for Jansen to be the censor and, if so, would he then consider being very lenient with his corrections? We do not know Jansen’s answer, but the letter gives us a unique insight into the actual practice of censorship: it shows that authors and publishers tried to find ways around it.[42]

Concluding Remarks: Resistance Literature, National Thought and Nationalism


Voices of protest against the Napoleonic regime abound in Dutch literature between 1806 and 1813: the above-mentioned works of Loots, Helmers, Tollens and Loosjes are not the exception, but rather part of a larger body of Dutch literary resistance texts. They were not directly aimed at concrete measures but contained general criticism against the growing influence of the French. They also propagated typically Dutch values such as simplicity, honesty, piety and tolerance by pointing to the bravery and moral superiority of national heroes of the past, and by creating new role models which embodied typically Dutch characteristics. Maurits Lijnslager, for example, embodied the ideal Dutchman and was put forward as an example for the Dutch people. Dutch language and history were the key elements in creating this unifying and positive self-image. In short, poets and novelists were the gatekeepers of Dutch national identity in times of oppression.

Joep Leerssen has recently pointed out the dynamic relationship between the Napoleonic Wars and the rise of nineteenth-century nationalism. He argues that the ideology of nationalism has its roots in the eighteenth century, which saw the rise of the Romantic belief in the nation’s cultural individuality. It reached the point of no return in the Napoleonic era when intellectuals and poets such as Kleist, Schlegel and Körner joined the common cause of resisting Napoleonic tyranny. Leerssen describes their literary activities as a manifestation of ‘political Romanticism’: they were not only inspired by Romantic ideals and attitudes but also by political ideas.[43] The cult of the great national past was a reaction to the overwhelming innovations Napoleon had imposed on the territories he conquered; these innovations went hand in hand with the destruction of traditional values and led to a nostalgic cultivation of the national past. French domination and, consequently, the cultivation of national cultures were at the heart of the nascent ideology of cultural nationalism.

Dutch resistance literature (1806-1813) should be read against this background: the poems, plays and novels of Loots, Helmers, Tollens and Loosjes cultivated the great national past and sought to spread nationalistic sentiments amongst the Dutch people. Literary historians, however, are not inclined to label this group as ‘Romantic poets’, and with reason: these works have little to do with the characteristics that are usually associated with the Romantic movement, such as the primacy of feelings, individualism, aesthetics, nature and folklore. Nevertheless, there are also good reasons to situate them amongst broader European trends of political Romanticism and ‘literary historicism’, which points at ‘the presence of the literary preoccupation with culture’s rootedness in the national past’.[44] Moreover, some elements in the Dutch poets’ works might indeed be associated with Romantic ideals, such as their focus on specific characteristics of the Dutch language and their engagement with typical Dutch (folk)tales (e.g. Tollens’ romances about the Revolt).[45]

The interest the Dutch poets show for their national past was not entirely new: a growing literary interest can already be seen from 1770 and onwards, when an increasing amount of patriotic poetry and verse was published.[46] However, compared with the earlier period, there are some important differences. Firstly, the national past was represented in a conciliatory way: internal political and religious struggles were erased from collective memory. The reason for this was obvious: unity was needed in order to resist foreign oppression and to cope with the existential crisis. Helmers, for example, paid respect to the stadtholders Willem and Maurits, princes of Orange, as well as their opponents, such as Hugo de Groot and Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. Loosjes deliberately praised all great men of the national past, despite their political and religious differences. In his novel Maurits Lijnslager, enemies of the past were united into a single coherent and harmonious tale about the nation’s Golden Age. This conciliatory attitude towards the past would also become predominant in the years following Napoleon’s defeat.[47] Secondly, the emphasis on Dutch language as the pulsing heart of the nation seems to be a new topic in poetry. This might be explained by the special duty the poets imposed on themselves as the gatekeepers of national identity and may be connected with the rise of ‘political romanticism’ elsewhere in Europe.

The degree to which this protest against French domination might be considered national (in the sense that it took place on a national scale) or even ‘nationalist’ (constituting the ideology of nationalism) might be questioned. Clearly, the old confederation of seven provinces did not become a unity overnight. Moreover, Joor has shown that most revolts were organized on a local rather than a national scale. He therefore supports the view of the historian Broers in his influential study Europe under Napoleon (1996): ‘It was a popular struggle, uniting every level of society, but it was about preserving the past, a past in which the nation-state had no part’.[48] However, if one looks at issues of national thought and nationalism from a cultural and literary perspective, these activities were indeed embedded in a national context. Literature was a powerful means for spreading anti-French propaganda and was used to celebrate the moral and cultural superiority of the Dutch nation as a whole. Therefore, it seems plausible that anti-French resistance literature did contribute to the shaping of Dutch national consciousness during the Napoleonic period and paved the way for the emergence of nationalist ideology in the course of the nineteenth century.[49] This is confirmed by the fact that many works were distributed and read on a national scale. De Hollandsche natie, for instance, reached a wide audience.[50] Moreover, the Dutch people embraced the work of resistance poets after their liberation from the French and it remained popular for a long time. In 1815, directly after the restoration of Dutch independence, both Tollens and Loots were knighted by the first Dutch king, Willem I. The new king considered them to be true national poets who had been loyal to their country during the French occupation. In other words: their status of national poets was a direct reflection of their courage and loyalty during the Napoleonic years.

Let me end this plea for a fresh look at Dutch resistance literature – and consequently resistance literature of other European nations during the Napoleonic era – with a quotation from the poet Johannes Kinker. Shortly after the annexation in 1810 he wrote a poem entitled ‘Quiet encouragement’ (‘Stille bemoeding’). The message was clear: although the Dutch nation had formally ceased to exist, it was more alive than ever. As long as the Dutch language was spoken, the nation would still exist because the language was the heartbeat of the nation:

The Fatherland exists, whatever be its fate!
It still raises its face, without any shame,
As long as its beautiful language is not lost,
As long as we hear the sound and the power of its speech,
Holland will shine in the firmament of the nations![51]

These words reflect the essence of Dutch resistance literature during the French regime between 1806 and 1813: it was the place where national values, and hence Dutch national identity, were shaped, reshaped and kept alive.

Notes


1. This article has been awarded the Golden Medal of Honour (‘Gouden Erepenning’) by Teylers Tweede Genootschap (Haarlem) in 2011. I would like to thank Jos Gabriëls and Annie Jourdan for their comments and reading suggestions.

2. See the recent debate on this topic: Simon Barker and Jo Gills (eds), Literature as History: Essays in Honour of Peter Widdowson (London: Continuum, 2010). Dutch examples are discussed in E.K. Grootes, ‘Zeventiende-eeuwse literatuur als bron van historische kennis’, in De zeventiende eeuw, 1 (1985), pp. 3-11; Dorotheé Sturkenboom, ‘Gespleten beschavingsteksten. Lezen op de millimeter als methode voor de sociale geschiedenis’, in Tijdschrift voor Sociale Geschiedenis, 26 (2000), pp. 289-308.

3. On ‘political Romanticism’ and literary activism, see Joep Leerssen, National Thought in Europe. A Cultural History in Europe (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008), pp. 105-126.

4. See H.T. Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken der algemeene geschiedenis van Nederland van 1795 tot 1840 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1905-1922), also available online at ING (Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis) at http://www.inghist.nl/retroboeken/gedenkstukken. Examples of historical surveys that support this view are J. Haak, ‘Van Inlijving tot Bevrijding. Het Noorden van 1810-’14’, in Algemene geschiedenis der Nederlanden, Volume IX, ed. by J.A. van Houtte (Zeist / Antwerp etc.: Uitgeversmaatschappij W. de Haan, 1980), pp. 128-60; Joost Kloek and Wijnand Mijnhardt, 1800. Blauwdrukken voor een samenleving (The Hague: Sdu Uitgevers, 2001), p. 34 and Remieg Aerts, ‘Een staat in verbouwing. Van Republiek naar constitutioneel koninkrijk, 1780-1848’, in Remieg Aerts, Herman de Liagre Böhl, Piet de Rooy and Henk te Velde, Land van kleine gebaren. Een politieke geschiedenis van Nederland, 1780-1990 (Nijmegen: Uitgeverij SUN, 2004), pp. 43-60.

5. J. Joor, De Adelaar en het Lam. Onrust, opruiing en onwilligheid in Nederland ten tijde van het Koninkrijk Holland en de Inlijving bij het Franse Keizerrijk (1806-1813) (Amsterdam: De Bataafsche Leeuw, 2000).

6. N.C.F. van Sas, De metamorfose van Nederland. Van oude orde naar moderniteit 1750-1900 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004), pp. 86-96. The importance of the so-called ‘resistance poets’ is also stressed in W.R.E. Velema, ‘The Dutch, the French and Napoleon: Historiographical Reflections on a Troubled Relationship’, in Da Brumaio ai Cento giorni. Cultura di governo e dissenso politico nell’ Europa di Bonaparte, ed. by A. de Francesco (Milan: Guerini e Associati, 2008), p. 45.

7. See J. Koopmans (ed.), Bloemlezing uit de ‘Vrijheids’-litteratuur van ± (1810-1813) (Groningen: Wolters Noordhoff, 1913); C.G.N. de Vooys, Nederlandse letterkundigen tegenover de Franse overheersing (Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij, 1945); W.A.P. Smit, Reprise na 130 jaar ‘over den waren dichter’ (Deventer: Van Hoeve, 1946); J. Haantjes, ‘Lof van Holland. Vaderlandse dichtkunst in en na de Franse tijd’, in Panorama der Nederlandse letteren, ed. by J. Haantjes and W.A.P. Smit (Amsterdam: Amsterdamse boek- en courantmaatschappij, 1948), pp. 274-93. For a recent survey of themes, authors and genres which need further exploration, see Lotte Jensen, ‘Verzetsliteratuur en nationale identiteit, 1806-1813’, in Naties in een spanningsveld. Tegenstrijdige bewegingen in de identiteitsvorming in negentiende-eeuws Vlaanderen en Nederland, ed. by Nele Bemong, Mary Kemperink, Marita Mathijsen and Tom Sintobin (Hilversum: Verloren, 2010), pp. 117-34.

8. See Jeroen Dewulf, Spirit of Resistance. Dutch Clandestine Literature during the Nazi Occupation (New York: Camden House, 2010). Dewulf devotes the first chapter to ‘Resistance Literature in Dutch History’ and draws a parallel between the period of the French occupation and the Second World War.

9. Some recent surveys are: M. Broers, Europe under Napoleon, 1799-1815 (New York: Edward Arnold Publishers, 1996); Collaboration and Resistance in Napoleonic Europe. State-formation in an Age of Upheaval, c. 1800-1815, ed. by Michael Rowe (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Resisting Napoleon. The British Response to the Threat of Invasion (1797-1815), ed. by Mark Philips (Cornwall: Aldershot, 2006); Jörg Echternkamp, ‘“Wo jeder Franzmann heißet Feind…”? Nationale Propaganda und socialer Protest im napoleonisches Deutschland’, in Napoleon. Trikolore und Kaiseradler über Rhein und Weser, ed. by Veit Veltzke (Keulen: Böhlau, 2007), pp. 411-28.

10. This becomes clear in studies about the representation of Napoleon in different European literatures. See, for instance, Charles Chassé, Napoléon par les écrivains (Paris: Hachette, 1921), pp. 13-56; Maurice Descotes, La légende de Napoléon et les écrivains français du XIXe siècle (Paris: Minard, 1967); Napoléon et la literature, special issue of Europe (April-May 1969), no. 480-481; J.-P. Bertaud, A. Forrest and A. Jourdan, Napoléon, le monde et les Anglais. Guerre des mots et des images (Paris: Autrement, 2004). The relationship between Napoleon and Madame de Staël has extensively been documented by Paul Gautier, Madame de Staël et Napoléon , (Paris: Plon-Nourrit, 1921), Henri Guillemin, Madame de Staël et Napoléon ou Germaine et le caïd ingrat (Paris: Seuil, 1987) and Michel Winock, Madame de Staël (Paris: Fayard, 2010). For German literature: Milian Schömann, Napoleon in der deutschen Literatur (Berlin: W. de Gruyter & Co, 1930); Barbara Besslich, Der deutsche Napoleon-Mythos. Literatur und Erinnerung 1800 bis 1945 (Darmstadt: WBG, 2005); Italian literature: Eileen Anne Millar, Napoleon in Italian literature 1796-1821 (Roma: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1977); Britain: Simon Bainbridge, Napoleon and English Romanticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); for the European perspective: Frederic Ewen, Heroic Imagination: The Creative Genius of Europe from Waterloo (1815) to the Revolution of 1848 (Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1984).

11. How Dutch national identity was constructed before and after the Napoleonic age is part of a large research project, directed by Lotte Jensen and funded by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), entitled ‘Proud to be Dutch. The role of war and propaganda literature in the shaping of an early modern Dutch identity, 1648-1815’ (VIDI-dossier 016.114.302). For a description of this project, see www.proudtobedutch.org/.

12. All following quotations are derived from Leerssen, National Thought in Europe, pp. 14-17.

13. See for example Joep Leerssen, ‘The Rhetoric of National Character: A Programmatic Survey’, in Poetics Today 21 (2000) 2, pp. 267-92; Brent O. Peterson, History, Fiction, and Germany: Writing the Nineteenth-Century Nation (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005) and Manfred Beller and Joep Leerssen (eds), Imagology. The cultural construction and literary representation of national characters. A critical survey (Amsterdam / New York: Rodopi, 2007).

14. N.C.F. van Sas, ‘Opiniepers en politieke cultuur’, in De metamorfose van Nederland, pp. 195-221; Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators. Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780-1813 (New York: Knopf, 1977). It should be noted that Schama is one of the few historians to emphasize the resistance of the Dutch people against Napoleon, although he acknowledges that the impact thereof should not be overestimated.

15. Aerts, ‘Een staat in verbouwing’, pp. 43-60; Joor, De Adelaar en het Lam, pp. 49-50. See also the special issue of De negentiende eeuw, 30 (2006), 3-4, Het Koninkrijk Holland, especially the contribution of Annie Jourdan, ‘Staats- en natievorming in de tijd van Lodewijk Napoleon. Nederland als “objet de désir”’, pp. 132-46.

16. Joor, De Adelaar en het Lam, pp. 298-315.

17. Her life and protest against Napoleon are described in Geertje Wiersma, Mietje Hulshoff of De aanslag op Napoleon (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2003).

18. For censorship until 1810, see A. H. Huussen jr., ‘Freedom of the press and censorship in the Netherlands 1780-1810’, in Too mighty to be free. Censorship and the press in Britain and the Netherlands, ed. by A.C. Duke and C.A. Tamse (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1987), pp. 107-26; the special issue on censorship of Jaarboek voor Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis 2 (Leiden: Nederlandse Boekhistorische Vereniging, 1995); J.M. de Meij, ‘De grondrechten in het Koninkrijk Holland’, in Nederland in Franse schaduw: recht en bestuur in het Koninkrijk Holland (1806-1810), ed. by J. Hallebeek and A.J.B. Sirks (Hilversum: Verloren, 2006), pp. 47-76 and Boeken onder druk. Censuur en personvrijheid in Nederland sinds de boekdrukkunst , ed. by M. Mathijsen (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011).

19. A.C. Kruseman, De Fransche wetten op de Hollandsche drukpers 1806 tot 1814 (Amsterdam: P.N. van Kampen & Zoon, 1889), pp. 31-2.

20. For censorship during the years 1810-1813: Kruseman, De Fransche wetten; Émile Roche, La censure en Hollande pendant la domination Française (9 juillet 1810-16 novembre 1813) (The Hague / Paris: D.A. Daamen / Arnette, 1923) and Marita Mathijsen, ‘Manuscriptkeuringen en boekverboden: censuur rond de Franse tijd’, in Boeken onder druk, ed. by M. Mathijsen, pp. 59-74.

21. It can be traced back even further with, for instance, the frequently reprinted book Franse Tiranny (French Tyranny, 1674). See Willem Frijhoff, ‘Verfransing? Franse taal en Nederlandse cultuur tot in de revolutietijd’, in Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, 104 (1989) 4, pp. 592-609 (especially p. 604).

22. Louis Napoleon made some efforts to protect the Dutch language, see Judith Amsenga and Geertje Dekkers, ‘Wat nu?’, zei Pichegru. De Franse Tijd in Nederland, 1795-1813 (Hilversum: Verloren, 2004), p. 69.

23. On the status of the French language in Dutch culture before and during the revolutionary period, see Frijhoff, ‘Verfransing?’, pp. 592-609. I would like to thank Johan Joor and Karin Hoogeland for sharing information with me on this particular topic.

24. Leerssen, National Thought in Europe, p. 126.

25. The celebration of the national past in nineteenth-century Dutch literature is discussed in Lotte Jensen, ‘Literature as Access to the Past. The Rise of Historical Genres in the Netherlands, 1800-1850’, in Free Access to the Past. Romanticism, Cultural Heritage and the Nation, ed. by Lotte Jensen, Joep Leerssen and Marita Mathijsen (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 127-46.

26. The first three names are usually mentioned together, see for instance Van Sas, De metamorfose van Nederland, pp. 87-91. Elsewhere I have argued that more attention needs to be paid to the work of Loosjes in the context of patriotic verse and narrative. See Jensen, ‘Verzetsliteratuur en nationale identiteit, 1806-1813’, pp. 122-26.

27. For a biography, see Lotte Jensen, ‘Loots, Cornelis’, in Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland. URL: http://www.inghist.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/BWN_1780tot1830/lemmata/data/Loots [27/09/2010].

28. Cornelis Loots, Gedichten, vol.1, iv-v (Amsterdam: Johannes van der Hey, 1816-1817). On the anti-French contents of this periodical, see Inger Leemans, ‘“Ein wahres Phänomen von neuem Weltkörper”. Het tijdschrift De ster: van wereldburger tot pacifist’, in De andere achttiende eeuw. Opstellen voor André Hanou, ed. by Cis van Heertum, Ton Jongenelen and Frank van Lamoen (Nijmegen: Uitgeverij Vantilt, 2006), pp. 263-81.

29. Cornelis Loots, Gedichten, vol. 4, 80. Dutch original: ‘Op, Neêrlands zonen! op dan, helden! / Met waapnen van vernuft omgord; / Gij, die nog nooit in, lettervelden, / Voor sterker’ vijand schoot te kort:/ O, HELMERS! KINKER! op, o koren / Van Barden! doet den veldkreet hooren! / Op, TOLLENS! steek de krijgstrompet […]’. Translation by Lotte Jensen.

30. See on this piece M. van Hattum, Jan Fredrik Helmers (1767-1813). Leven en werk van een Amsterdamse wereldburger (Amsterdam: Schiphouwer en Brinkman, 1996), pp. 89-90.

31. For the most recent edition, with introduction, see J.F. Helmers, De Hollandsche natie, ed. by Lotte Jensen, with Marinus van Hattum (Nijmegen: Uitgeverij Vantilt, 2009).

32. Jensen, ‘Verzetsliteratuur en nationale identiteit’, pp. 130-32.

33. ‘Wij [heffen] van ’t Bredasche turfschip aan / En van prins Maurits moed. / Die moed viel Spanje zwaar en bang / En deed haar trotschheid zeer, / En smeet het wigt van vreemden dwang / Van onze schouders neêr’, H. Tollens, C.z., Gedichten (Rotterdam: J. Immerzeel, 1822), vol. 2, p. 31. Translation by Lotte Jensen.

34. ‘Ce poète est un de ceux qui peuvent compter dans la Pléiade hollandaise. Il brille surtout dans la romance qu’on y appelle ballade du nom français d’une espèce de poème à laquelle nous avons renoncé et qui n’a rien du genre de la romance. Les hollandais s’e sont emparés du mot et l’ont appliqué à une chose tout à fait différente’. Cited in P.B.M. Blaas, ‘Tollens en de vaderlandse herinnering’, in P.B.M. Blaas, De burgerlijke eeuw. Over eeuwwenden, liberale burgerij en geschiedschrijving (Hilversum: Verloren, 2000), p. 54. Translation by Lotte Jensen.

35. ‘Win op zijn voetspoor veld; zet vreemd gezag ter zijde; / Sticht Neêrlands eigen school, vorm Neêrlands eigen smaak’, Tollens, Gedichten , vol 2, p. 201. More about this poetical manifesto: Lotte Jensen, ‘Een poëticale dichtbrief van Hendrik Tollens’, in Armada. Tijdschrift voor wereldliteratuur 12, no. 43 (2006), pp. 47-51. Translation by Lotte Jensen.

36. On the canonization of seventeenth-century literature in this period, including Vondel, see Evert M. Wiskerke, De waardering voor de zeventiende-eeuwse literatuur tussen 1780-1813 (Hilversum: Verloren, 1995).

37. Lotte Jensen, ‘Een babytand als oorlogswapen. Geluk in tijden van bezetting’, in Geluk in de negentiende eeuw. Eenentwintig auteurs op zoek naar geluk voor Marita Mathijsen, ter gelegenheid van haar afscheid als hoogleraar moderne Nederlandse letterkunde van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, ed. by Lotte Jensen and Lisa Kuitert (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2009), pp. 74-85.

38. For a detailed analysis of these and other historical novels by Loosjes, see Lotte Jensen, De verheerlijking van het verleden. Helden, literatuur en natievorming in de negentiende eeuw (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2008), pp. 181-92.

39. Kruseman, De Fransche wetten, pp. 159-61.

40. The poem was published in the second edition of Maurits Lijnslager, which appeared in 1814, after the restoration of Dutch independence. See A. Loosjes, Het leven van Maurits Lijnslager. Eene Hollandsche familiegeschiedenis uit de 17e eeuw, vol.1, viii (Amsterdam: A. Loosjes, Pz., 1814). The Dutch original reads: ‘Geheel verpletterd door de Fransche Dwinglandij, / Die zelfs den kleinsten zucht van ’t Hollandsch hart smoren, / Wordt MAURITS herdruk door ’t geweld ontzegd aan mij: / Zoover ging Vrijheid op Bataafschen grond verloren. / Maar dat eens ’t Fransch geweld van Hollands erf verdwijn’, / Dan zal geen herdruk meer van MAURITS noodig zijn; / Van den uitheemschen smaak tot in den grond genezen / Zal elk zijn levend beeld, zal elk een MAURITS wezen’. Translation by Lotte Jensen.

41. A. Loosjes, Bijlage tot den laatsten zeetogt van den admiraal de Ruiter (Haarlem: Loosjes, 1814).

42. Letter of A. Loosjes to H. Jansen, Bibliothécaire de S.A.S. le Prince de Bénévent, Censeur Impérial à Paris, 2 sept. 1811 (Universiteitsbibliotheek van Amsterdam, KVB BLs 1-3). See also Jensen, ‘Verzetsliteratuur en nationale identiteit’, pp. 124-26.

43. Leerssen, National Thought in Europe, in particular pp. 105-26.

44. Joep Leerssen ‘Literary Historicism: Romanticism, Philologists and the Presence of the Past’, in Modern Language Quarterly 65 (2004) 2, pp. 221-43, in particular p. 234.

45. There is an ongoing debate on the influence of Romanticism in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Dutch literary history and the usefulness of this label. It is beyond the scope of this article to give a thorough account of these discussions. One of the most influential and thought-provoking studies on this topic is Marita Mathijsen, Nederlandse literatuur in de romantiek 1820-1880 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2004). For general surveys of Dutch literature around 1800, see Willem van den Berg and Piet Couttenier, Alles is taal geworden. Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur 1800-1900 (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2009); Joost Kloek and Wijnand Mijnhardt, 1800. Blauwdrukken voor een samenleving (The Hague, Sdu, 2001), pp. 455-502.

46. See Joost Kloek, ‘Vaderland en letterkunde, 1750-1800’, in Vaderland. Een geschiedenis van de vijftiende eeuw tot 1940, ed. by N.C.F. van Sas (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1999), pp. 237-74.

47. Cf. Van Sas, De metamorfose van Nederland, pp. 93-4.

48. Broers, Europe under Napoleon, p. 77. Quoted in Joor, De Adelaar en het Lam, p. 690.

49. The same view is held by Wilfried Uitterhoeve, Koning, keizer, admiraal. 1810. De ondergang van het Koninkrijk Holland (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2010), pp. 219-21 and by Wyger Velema. The latter believed that the work of resistance poets gave a voice to ‘a renewed and powerful consciousness of a shared Dutch national identity’. See Velema, ‘The Dutch, the French and Napoleon’, p. 45.

50. Jensen, ‘Verzetsliteratuur en nationale identiteit’, p. 132.

51. Johannes Kinker, Gedichten (Amsterdam: Johannes van der Hey, 1819-1821), vol.2, p. 15. The Dutch original: ‘Het Vaderland bestaat, wat lot ons zij beschoren! / Nog heft het zijn gelaat, en zonder blos, omhoog. / Zoo lang zijn schoone spraak voor ‘t oor niet gaat verloren; / Zoo lang wij nog haar’ klank en volle taalkracht hooren; / Zoo lang blinkt Holland aan der volkren Hemelboog!’. Translation by Lotte Jensen.

Lotte Jensen is Associate Professor of Dutch Literary History at the Radboud University, Nijmegen. She has published widely in the areas of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Dutch literature, press history and women authors. Recently she published De verheerlijking van het verleden. Helden, literatuur en natievorming in de negentiende eeuw (2008), an edition of J.F. Helmers, De Hollandsche natie (2009) and, together with Joep Leerssen and Marita Mathijsen, Free Access to the Past. Romanticism, Cultural Heritage and the Nation (2010).

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