Agency, Prestige and Politics: Dutch Collecting Abroad and Local Responses

  • Pieter ter Keurs
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)


European collecting abroad was more than simply a cultured activity of the elite and a search for beautiful things. Instead, collectors have always worked within national and local political and economic networks. This chapter discusses the various roles of local communities, politicians and middlemen in the process of Dutch collecting in early nineteenth century Indonesia and the Mediterranean. In that period, European nationalism led to unprecedented desires for the expansion of horizons through travel and the collection of trophies from outside Europe. This was partly a search for the roots of European culture (related to the Romantic Movement) and partly triggered by status and prestige, but economic reasons were also important. Although local incentives to participate in this drive to collect were usually not documented, we can begin to identify reasons why local informants engaged with collectors.


Nineteenth Century National Museum Early Nineteenth Century Egyptian Antiquity European Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Professor Ruurd Halbertsma for the discussions we had about Jean Emile Humbert and Anne-Solène Rolland for her work on Müller’s texts. I also thank the anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of this chapter who made some sensible remarks for improvement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Collections and ResearchNational Museum of AntiquitiesLeidenThe Netherlands

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