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Miraeus Lecture: The 17th-Century Low Countries: an integrated newspaper market?

Spreker: Arthur der Weduwen
Datum: 24 januari 2018, 19 uur

Nottebohmzaal van de Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Hendrik Conscienceplein 4
B-2000 Antwerpen
Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience

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By the first decade of the seventeenth century it was clear that the two principal states of the Low Countries, the northern Dutch Republic and the southern Spanish Netherlands, were irrevocably separated. During the seventeenth century the two states developed along divergent political, economic and religious paths. Towards the end of the Twelve Years’ Truce (1609-1621) both states saw the concurrent appearance of a Dutch periodical press, pioneered in Amsterdam and in Antwerp. These early newspapers contributed striking developments to the growth of the periodical press throughout Europe. This is a well-known story: but these Dutch and Flemish newspapers have been generally examined from a national perspective, providing the foundation for a Dutch or Belgian narrative of the emergence of the newspaper. Using evidence gathered for my new bibliography of Dutch and Flemish newspapers, I investigate to what extent the seventeenth-century Low Countries saw the development of an integrated, transnational newspaper market. The shared language of the two early modern states played a considerable role in the creation of this news market: newspapers from Amsterdam could be bought in Bruges or Ghent, while Antwerp papers were distributed in the north as well. This international circulation also ensured that newspapers on both sides of the border watched each other closely; they took inspiration from one another; and they criticised one another. The development of the Dutch and Flemish newspaper in the seventeenth century was shaped decisively by their neighbours north and south.


Arthur der Weduwen comes from Amsterdam. He was awarded a BA in History and International Relations from the University of Exeter (2014), followed by an M.Litt in Book History from the University of St Andrews (2015). His doctoral research is a study of state communication in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, focusing specifically on government and municipal attempts to influence public opinion through proclamations and ordinances.

His research interests are grounded in the history of communication, the early modern print world, the development of the state and the growth of a politically-engaged public. He complements his doctoral study with an interest in the emergence of commercial news and advertising: he has published the first complete bibliography of all seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish newspapers (Brill, 2017), and is writing a study of seventeenth-century newspaper advertising in the Low Countries (with Andrew Pettegree).

Arthur is associate editor of the Universal Short Title Catalogue project at St Andrews, with responsibilities for the Low Countries (1500-1700) and a consultant for ProQuest’s Early European Books project.

De Miraeus Lectures zijn een initiatief van de Vlaamse Werkgroep Boekgeschiedenis en worden gesteund door de Vereniging van Antwerpse Bibliofielen en de Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience.