A Sketch of Pieter Geyl
The career of Pieter Catharinus Arie Geyl (1887–1966), one of the most outstanding Dutch historians of the twentieth century, embodied a deep paradox. When in 1940 he was interned as a hostage by the Germans, he had already transformed the understanding of the history of the Low Countries, yet he was virtually unknown outside the Netherlands except to a handful of specialists. Only his activity as a Dutch supporter of the Flemish movement in Belgium during the 1920s and 1930s had brought him local notoriety, especially when he was expelled by the Belgian government. After World War II, he quickly gained international recognition as a historical critic and essayist, while at home his innovative ideas, which a few decades before had been attacked by traditional historians, became part of the generally accepted historical picture.
KeywordsLiberal Democracy Dutch Government Local Notoriety Historical Writing Belgian Government
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