Stepbrothers: Southern Dutch Literature and Nation-Building under Willem I, 1814-1834
Janneke Weijermars, University of Groningen
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815-1830) was a creation of the Congress of Vienna, where the map of Europe was redrawn following Napoleon’s defeat. Dutch language and literature were considered the essential tools to smoothly fuse the North and South – today, the Netherlands and Belgium respectively. King Willem I tried a variety of measures to stimulate and control literary life in the South, in an effort to encourage unity throughout his kingdom.
Janneke Weijermars describes the driving force of this policy and especially its impact in the South. For some authors, Northern Dutch literature represented the standard to which they aspired. For others, unification triggered a desire to assert their own cultural identity. The quarrels, mutual misunderstandings and subsequent polemics were closely intertwined with political issues of the day. Stepbrothers views the history of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands through a literary lens.