Category Archives: Presentations

The Corn Shed of the World: Paper at the RSA

Poland-Lithuania represented by i.a. bags of grain and a woman with a cornucopia, on a Dutch frontispiece from 1734.

On the 18th of March, I presented a paper at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, which took place in Toronto, Canada, from the 17th to the 19th of March. My paper was entitled ‘The Corn Shed of the World: The Evolution of a Seventeenth-Century Dutch Image of Poland-Lithuania’.  As stated in my abstract:

The Dutch Republic owed much of its wealth to the trade in Baltic grain, most of which came from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The importance of this trade is clear from both economic and political developments. There is however also plenty of textual and visual evidence, which has not yet been taken into account. Using a variety of seventeenth-century sources, such as pamphlets, letters, travel accounts, poems and engravings, I will show how widespread the Dutch understanding of Poland-Lithuania’s pivotal role was, and how a Dutch image of Poland-Lithuania as a granary and fertile land of plenty developed over time. It will become clear that the Polish-Swedish wars of the 1620s and 1650s, as well as Dutch migration to Prussia, were crucial in this process. In addition, Joost van den Vondel and the Amsterdam agenda played a vital part in presenting Poland-Lithuania as “the corn shed of the world.”

Foreign Eyes on the Republic: A conference in Nijmegen

On the 21st and 22nd of February 2019, researchers from both the Netherlands and abroad took part in a conference entitled ‘Foreign Eyes on the Republic: European Perspectives on the Republic and the Dutch in the Long Eighteenth Century’, organised by Alan Moss and myself at Radboud University in Nijmegen. The conference was funded by the Dutch-Belgian Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies and aimed to consider various perspectives of foreigners on the Dutch Republic during the long eighteenth century.

In my own paper, I made a comparison between the topics discussed in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Polish travel accounts of the Dutch Republic. A full description of all papers can be found on the conference’s website.

Lezing: Een Poolse Prins bij Breda

Op 22 januari gaf ik een lezing in het Design Museum te ‘s Hertogenbosch. Ik verzorgde de openingslezing in een reeks erfgoedcolleges, georganiseerd door de Erfgoed Brabant Academie. Ondanks de sneeuw was er een goede opkomst. Mijn lezing ging over het bezoek van de Poolse kroonprins Ladislas Sigismund Vasa aan het Beleg van Breda in 1624, alsmede over het literaire voortleven van die gebeurtenis in met name de Poolse literatuur. Ik schreef er al eerder een korte blog over, naar aanleiding van een artikel dat ik aan het onderwerp gewijd heb.

Dutch views of the Polish-Lithuanian state system

At Queens’ College, Cambridge, together with Lotte Jensen and Fons Meijer

This week, I presented a paper at the Monarchy and Modernity since 1500 conference, organised by the University of Cambridge on January 8 and 9. My paper was entitled A(n Im)perfect System. Dutch views of the Polish-Lithuanian Political System in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. I discussed why the state system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – even though it was similar to popular rebulican theories formulated in the Northern Netherlands around the year 1600 – was apparently never considered a serious option by Dutch political thinkers. I argued that this was due to the negative opinion the Dutch had of Polish-Lithuanian nobles, who were said to enjoy too much freedom and mistreat their farmers. In the eighteenth century, the ‘chaotic’ Polish Sejm meetings gave rise to the idea that Poland-Lithuana was an anarchic state, rather than a model of freedom. Since then, a disorderly situation is often called ‘een Poolse landdag’.

Two colleagues from Radboud University Nijmegen also presented a paper. Prof. dr. Lotte Jensen and Fons Meijer MA analysed the responses of four Dutch kings to major natural disasters during the nineteenth century. See Dealing with Disasters for more information.

Polish Tourism in Seventeenth-Century Brabant

On the 18th of October, I will give a presentation at the De Schattelijn theater in Geertruidenberg, about seventeenth-century Polish tourism in Brabant. Using original source material, I will discuss why members of the Polish nobility traveled to Brabant, and which destinations were particularly popular. Special attention will furthermore be given to Crown Prince Ladislas Sigismund’s visit to the Siege of Breda in 1624.