Cool, Calm and Collected The Dutch and their Emotions in Pre-Modern Times

Koninklijke Bibliotheek Den Haag
4 November 2011

Registration by way of an e-mail to:, or by telephone: +31 (0)70 3140363

The conference ‘Cool, Calm and Collected’ aims to enhance the burgeoning History of Emotions in the Netherlands. Speakers at the conference will present their current research, integrating the study of emotional standards in advice literature with the study of actual emotional practices in ego documents, chronicles and archival sources. The fields covered will range from politics, philosophy and the urban feud to religion, the stage and the visual arts. The conference will not only be of interest to specialists in the history of emotions but also to the greater historical community.

Although the history of emotions was already suggested as an interesting topic by Lucien Febvre and Johan Huizinga it has been taken up seriously as a subject of historical study only fairly recently. Initially, historians limited themselves largely to the study of documents that prescribed emotional ideals and standards. Researchers are now going beyond such texts. They are currently identifying transformations in emotional ‘communities’ and ‘styles’ on the basis of letters, autobiographies and memoirs, as well as a variety of narrative, archival and visual sources. Historians are also emphasising performativity, i.e. what emotions actually do. At the institutional level, in Europe two important research centres have been started: in London the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions (Thomas Dixon, director); in Berlin the ‘Forschungsbereich Geschichte der Gefühle’ (Ute Frevert, director). This conference seeks to establish a more solid footing for the history of emotions in the Netherlands and join in with these international trends.

The speakers at the conference will discuss the emotional styles of the Modern Devouts and the cult of pugnacity in Late Medieval feuds. Focusing on the seventeenth century, they will reconsider the performativity accorded to the emotions in painting, the theater, and pietist religious movements. For the eighteenth century, speakers will analyse the Dutch ‘cult of sensibility’, the contemporary appreciation and navigation of the sentiments. The day will be closed with a lecture by Dorothee Sturkenboom. She is a pioneer in the study of emotions in the Netherlands and will relate the emotional history of the Dutch to contemporary and more recent views on their ‘national character’.

The conference’s keynote lecturer, the well-known British historian Thomas Dixon, will discuss the latest developments in the field.

The organisers: Wessel Krul, Herman Roodenburg, and Catrien Santing.

The conference will take place in the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) in The Hague.

The conference fee is € 30,- (€ 25,- for members of the KNHG and € 15,- for students and PhD students) and includes lunch. The conference fee should be transferred to account number 6934391 (IBAN: NL25 INGB 0006 9343 91, BIC: INGBNL2A) of Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap in The Hague.

Registration by way of an e-mail to:, or by telephone: +31 (0)70 3140363.


09.45 – 10.00 Welcome Catrien Santing (University of Groningen), chair
10.00 – 10.15 Introduction Herman Roodenburg (Meertens Institute – KNAW)
10.15 – 11.00 Keynote lecture Thomas Dixon (Queen Mary, University of London) History in British Tears: Some Reflections on the Anatomy of Modern Emotions

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee and tea

11.15 – 11.45 Mathilde van Dijk (University of Groningen) ‘Just some silly Beguine’: being pious and showing it in the Devotio Moderna
11.45 – 12.15 Matthijs Gerrits (Leiden University – Fryske Akademy) Anger and Feuding in the Late Medieval Northern Low Countries

12.15 – 13.30 Lunch

13.00 – 13.30 Annual Meeting Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap

13.30 – 14.00 Kristine Steenbergh (VU University) Vondel and the Role of Emotions in the Public Sphere
14.00 – 14.30 Eric Jan Sluijter (University of Amsterdam) The Changing Representation of the Passions in History Paintings by Rembrandt and his Amsterdam Colleagues
14.30 – 15.00 Fred van Lieburg (VU University) The Use of Emotions by the Hotter Sort of Protestant

15.00 – 15.15 Coffee and tea

15.15 – 15.45 Wessel Krul (University of Groningen) Phlegmatic Excitement. The Dutch and the Discovery of the Emotions in the 18th Century
15.45 – 16.15 Edwina Hagen (VU University) The Passionate Politics of Rutger Jan and Catharina Schimmelpenninck: Dialogue between the Head and the Heart
16.15 – 16.45 Dorothée Sturkenboom (independent scholar) The Dutch Temperament: An Enigma to be Explained…

16.45 – 17.30 Reflections by Dixon, Roodenburg and Santing, followed by Plenary Discussion

17.30 – 18.00 Drinks

Citer ce billet
Piroska Nagy (2011, 2 novembre). Cool, Calm and Collected The Dutch and their Emotions in Pre-Modern Times. Les émotions au Moyen Âge, carnet d'EMMA. Consulté le 22 mai 2024, à l’adresse