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Imagining Global Amsterdam

Imagining Global Amsterdam: History, Culture, and Geography in a World City

Edited by Marco de Waard
Copyright Date: 2012
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  • Book Info
    Imagining Global Amsterdam
    Book Description:

    Imagining Global Amsterdambrings together new essays on the image of Amsterdam as articulated in film, literature, art, and urban discourse, considered within the context of globalization and its impact on urban culture. Subjects include: Amsterdam's place in global cultural memory; expressions of global consciousness in Amsterdam in the 'Golden Age'; articulations of Amsterdam as a tolerant, multicultural, and permissive 'global village'; and globalization's impact 'on the ground' through city branding, the cultural heritage industry, and cultural production in the city.

    Written by an interdisciplinary team of scholars, and united by a broad humanities approach, this collection forms a multifaceted inquiry into the dynamic relationship between Amsterdam, globalization, and the urban imaginary.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1513-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Introduction

    • 1. Amsterdam and the Global Imaginary
      (pp. 9-24)
      Marco de Waard

      A young woman – immersed, it appears, in her reading – sits on a large, beanbagshaped stone chair on Amsterdam’s Dam Square. Her pose, if not exactly comfortable, seems balanced enough, although she may have had to put herself into a squat first over her sizeable black travelling bag. Behind her we see a museum poster, one of a series put up there by the Amsterdam (Historical) Museum to advertize its collection when a large bank building was temporarily fenced off in 2009 and 2010. The scene on the poster forms a striking contrast with the calm of the woman’s...

  5. Part I: Historicizing Global Amsterdam

    • 2. Imagining Social Change in Early-Modern Amsterdam: Global Processes, Local Perceptions
      (pp. 27-44)
      Ulrich Ufer

      This chapter considers some of the different kinds of ways in which citizens in seventeenth-century Amsterdam experienced palpable social changes in the city as the effects of larger global processes. From its sixteenth-century status as a relatively unimportant fishing port, by the early seventeenth century Amsterdam had risen to the status of a centre of global power, a change that took place within the span of a few decades only. In the course of the seventeenth century the city would develop further into a potent, in some accounts even hegemonic commercial empire (ca. 1625-75), whose proto-industrial capitalist economy and innovative...

    • 3. Amidst Unscrupulous Neighbours: Amsterdam Money and Foreign Interests in Dutch Patriotic Imagery
      (pp. 45-66)
      Dorothee Sturkenboom

      Any discourse articulating the idea that other countries may profit from the content of Dutch purses is bound to affect the Dutch: that much became clear in June 2005, when in a national consultative referendum a majority of Dutch citizens voted against the treaty that meant to establish a constitution for Europe. When Dutch media tried to explain the nationwide rejection afterwards, among the factors they highlighted were the economic arguments that had been deployed against a constitution – and against the European project more generally – in national public debates during the previous months. Campaigners for a no-vote had...

    • 4. Visualizing Commerce and Empire: Decorating the Built Environment of Amsterdam
      (pp. 67-82)
      Michael Wintle

      In considering the ‘imagining of Amsterdam’ in the context of globalization, the focus of this book falls on how the city has at various times been involved in and affected by globalizing tendencies in politics, economics, and, more especially, culture. The present chapter, taking an historical approach, will consider some of the ways in which Amsterdam has vieweditselfover several centuries in the light of various waves of globalization. It is concerned with Amsterdam’s view of its own position in the world, including its position in the emerging Dutch nation, as a European capital, and as the centre of...

    • 5. Romance and Commerce: Imagining Global Amsterdam in the Contemporary Historical Novel
      (pp. 83-100)
      Joyce Goggin and Erinç Salor

      The central undertaking of this essay is to address the topic of Amsterdam-based historical fiction, and to ask how two different subgenres of the contemporary historical novel – the visually oriented, ‘museumized’ heritage novel on the one hand, and the cyberpunk-inflected ‘history-of-science’ novel on the other – present aspects from Amsterdam’s ‘Golden Age’ past to present-day audiences. Specifically, this essay seeks to relate examples from those two subgenres to the cultural heritage industries that have become such a vital feature of the current cultural and economic landscape. At the centre of our concern is the nexus between the global economy,...

    • 6. Dutch Decline Redux: Remembering New Amsterdam in the Global and Cosmopolitan Novel
      (pp. 101-122)
      Marco de Waard

      This chapter examines the idea of (New) Amsterdam as alieu de mémoireof early-modern global finance, trade, and commerce from the perspective of recent theories of cosmopolitanism and global citizenship, considered here more especially in their bearings on novelistic representation and literary form. Put briefly, what is at issue here is the question how the remembrance of an older capitalist world system – in this case, the Dutch commercial empire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – exerts an impact on, and may contribute formatively to, the articulation of cosmopolitan and ‘globally conscious’ subjectivities in the present. Far from...

  6. Part II: Amsterdam Global Village:: (Inter)National Imaginings

    • 7. Form, Punch, Caress: Johan van der Keukenʹs Global Amsterdam
      (pp. 125-142)
      Patricia Pisters

      After many years of travelling the world with his camera, in the early 1990s documentary filmmaker Johan van der Keuken expressed his surprise at the many changes that had taken place in his hometown of Amsterdam: ‘To tell the truth, I didn’t recognize all the cultures that had settled there in the past few decades, nor the subcultures and “gangs” that had sprung up’. At the same time, he realized that ‘my city, Amsterdam, was the place where everything that I could see everywhere else was represented’, and that in order to understand the world, all he needed to do...

    • 8. Rembrandt on Screen: Art Cinema, Cultural Heritage, and the Museumization of Urban Space
      (pp. 143-168)
      Marco de Waard

      In 2006, Amsterdam and Leiden celebrated Rembrandt Year. For both cities the quatercentenary of Rembrandt’s birth formed a major chance to showcase the ‘Golden Age’ painter and his orbit – and, in so doing, to shore up their status as centres for cultural heritage and destinations for cultural tourism. Amsterdam especially stood in dire need of an opportunity like this. If in previous decades its position in the European market for tourism and travel had weakened in the face of sharply increased inter-city competition, by the mid-1990s its reputation as a ‘theme park’ devoted to ‘sex and drugs’ seemed difficult...

    • 9. Imagining a Global Village: Amsterdam in Janwillem van de Weteringʹs Detective Fiction
      (pp. 169-186)
      Sabine Vanacker

      From its very origins in the nineteenth century, crime fiction has been unequivocally and fundamentally international in outlook. Indeed, its early beginnings – the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Eugène Vidocq, Eugène Sue, Émile Gaboriau, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler – were the result of a dialogue between at least three national literatures, while, more recently, Swedish, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, and Hispanic literatures have become widely influential. Because crime fiction strongly depends on the use of classic formulas, conventional plot lines, and various generic traditions – classical detective fiction, the hard-boiled tradition, and the police procedural,...

    • 10. Amsterdam, City of Sirens: On Hafid Bouazzaʹs Short Story ʹApollineʹ
      (pp. 187-198)
      Henriette Louwerse

      When in 1996 Hafid Bouazza published his debut collection of short storiesDe voeten van Abdullah(Abdullah’s Feet), it caused quite a stir.¹ Besides the obvious literary qualities of the collection, it was the author’s background that so excited its readers. Hafid Bouazza, born in Morocco, the son of one of the many ‘guest labourers’ who came to the Netherlands in the 1970s, had arrived there at the age of seven, young enough to be regarded a second-generation migrant. It is worth remembering what the literary landscape was like in the mid-1990s. The first writers born outside of the Netherlands...

  7. Part III: Global Amsterdamʹs Cultural Geography

    • 11. Amsterdam and/as New Babylon: Urban Modernityʹs Contested Trajectories
      (pp. 201-218)
      Mark E. Denaci

      As so many of the contributions to this volume attest, the meaning of Amsterdam’s mythologized status as a bulwark of freedom, tolerance, and permissiveness is currently subject to much critical debate: who has access to which freedoms, and what kinds of risks might these freedoms involve? Is Amsterdam’s celebrated permissiveness too limited, and therefore reserved for only certain segments of its population and city users, or does it extend too far, leaving society vulnerable to various forms of predation from within and from without? As the terms ‘access’, ‘population’, ‘limited’, ‘extend’, ‘far’, ‘within’, and ‘without’ suggest, most of these debates...

    • 12. Amsterdamʹs Architectural Image from Early-Modern Print Series to Global Heritage Discourse
      (pp. 219-238)
      Freek Schmidt

      Amsterdam offers different groups of enthusiasts many distinct itineraries. Certainly, the average tourist trajectory along the canals differs from the pilgrimage made by architecture aficionados to Berlage’s Plan Zuid. What is more, the visitor’s gaze has changed over the course of time, converging with and responding to other viewing practices. This chapter will investigate the multifaceted, everchanging image of Amsterdam architecture and its reception by disparate audiences, and it will re-examine the relationship between architectural images – i.e., two-dimensional visual representations of parts of the city and its buildings – and the actual sites. In doing so, the focus will...

    • 13. Amsterdam Memorials, Multiculturalism, and the Debate on Dutch Identity
      (pp. 239-254)
      Jeroen Dewulf

      Imagining Amsterdam at the beginning of the twenty-first century naturally implies a focus on the new population groups that have profoundly changed the city’s identity since the 1960s. In an increasingly globalized world, it might be tempting to discuss the social impact of immigration exclusively from a deterritorialized, transnational perspective. Approaching Amsterdam as just another ‘station in a worldwide circuit’ (de Swaan 1991, 137), however, runs the risk of overlooking how the city’s history shapes a locally specific reaction to the global flows of people, commodities, and goods that can be seen to course through its body. In a globalizing...

    • 14. Graphic Design, Globalization, and Placemaking in the Neighbourhoods of Amsterdam
      (pp. 255-272)
      Bharain Mac an Bhreithiún

      Our experience of urban life in a city like Amsterdam consists of the interaction of many factors that work together to create a sense of place: the layout of streets and squares, the architectural façades, and the layers of carefully designed lettering and imagery that cling to the fabric of the city. This chapter deals with how graphic design in the urban environment of Amsterdam contributes to the creation and maintenance of this sense of place, or what cultural geographers term thegenius lociof the city. More specifically, it considers the strugglewithinvisual culture to assign a range...

    • 15. A Global Red-Light City? Prostitution in Amsterdam as a Real-and-Imagined Place
      (pp. 273-288)
      Michaël Deinema and Manuel B. Aalbers

      Only a decade since the Dutch parliament ratified the legalization of prostitution, the sex-oriented Red Light District, prominent symbol of Amsterdam’s ‘progressive’ liberality and permissiveness, has come under heavy fire. The Amsterdam city council has formulated a comprehensive strategy to alter the character of the historic city centre: launched in 2007, Plan 1012 aims to restructure and clean up this inner-city neighbourhood which includes the Wallen, the city’s largest red-light district. A strong reduction of window prostitution is one of the spearheads of the restructuring plan. Why have local authorities turned against the red-light district, Amsterdam’s great tourist draw, heralded...

    • 16. Global Eros in Amsterdam: Religion, Sex, Politics
      (pp. 289-304)
      Markha Valenta

      How should we think about religion in the city? For a long time, we (scholars, moderns, cosmopolitans) simply did not. The city was heterodox, industrial, liberating, avant-garde, sexy, and sexual. Religion was conservative, dogmatic, moralistic, boring, unsexy, and anti-sex. Religion was all the things the city was not. The more modern the city became, the more religion appeared left behind, in the country of bygone times. To become episodic and decorative. A cathedral, as on a postcard, to admire and then pass by, as you might a pretty woman on the street. Or religion appeared irrelevant, something simply to walk...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 305-308)
  9. Index
    (pp. 309-316)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 317-317)