Why The Dutch Are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands
By: Ben Coates
*A SCOTSMAN TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR* Stranded at Schiphol airport, Ben Coates called up a friendly Dutch girl he'd met some months earlier. He stayed for dinner. Actually, he stayed for good. In the first book to consider the hidden heart and history of the Netherlands from a modern perspective, the author explores the length and breadth of his adopted homeland and discovers why one of the world's smallest countries is also so significant and so fascinating. It is a self-made country, the Dutch national character shaped by the ongoing battle to keep the water out from the love of dairy and beer to the attitude to nature and the famous tolerance. Ben Coates investigates what makes the Dutch the Dutch, why the Netherlands is much more than Holland and why the colour orange is so important. Along the way he reveals why they are the world's tallest people and have the best carnival outside Brazil. He learns why Amsterdam's brothels are going out of business, who really killed Anne Frank, and how the Dutch manage to be richer than almost everyone else despite working far less. He also discovers a country which is changing fast, with the Dutch now questioning many of the liberal policies which made their nation famous.A personal portrait of a fascinating people, a sideways history and an entertaining travelogue, Why the Dutch are Different is the story of an Englishman who went Dutch. And loved it.
Newly independent in 1585, the increasingly prosperous and politically powerful Dutch Republic experienced a tremendous rise in the production of artwork that was unparalleled in quantity, variety, and beauty. Now back in print, this classic book (originally published in 1996) examines the country’s rich artistic culture in the seventeenth century, providing a full account of Dutch artists and patrons; artistic themes and techniques; and the political and social world in which artists worked.Distinguished art historian Mariët Westermann examines the “worldly art” of this time in the context of the unique society that produced it, analyzing artists’ choices and demonstrating how their pictures tell particular stories about the Dutch Republic, its people, and its past. More than 100 color illustrations complement this engaging discussion of an extraordinary moment in the history of art.
Your in-depth guide to the very best of Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp. Make the most of your trip to this beautiful destination with our DK Eyewitness Travel Guide.Packed with insider tips to make your trip a success, you'll find a guide to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp's stunning architecture and its scenic drives that let you experience the best hotels, bars, and shops that this region has to offer. Try local delicacies at fantastic restaurants, bars, and clubs, and enjoy the great views in spots that will take your breath away. We have the best hotels for every budget, plus fun activities for the solitary traveler or for families and children visiting Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp: • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance. • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights. • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums. • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area. • Area maps marked with sights. • Detailed city maps include street finder indexes for easy navigation. • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights. • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp truly shows you these places as no one else can.Recommended: For a pocket guidebook to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Brussels, Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp, which is packed with dozens of top 10 lists, ensuring you make the most of your time and experience the best of everything.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide. Visit TravelDK.com to learn more.
Tulipomania : The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused
By: Mike Dash
A vivid narration of the history of the tulip, from its origins on the barren, windswept steppes of central Asia to its place of honor in the lush imperial gardens of Constantinople, to its starring moment as the most coveted--and beautiful--commodity in Europe.In the 1630s, visitors to the prosperous trading cities of the Netherlands couldn't help but notice that thousands of normally sober, hardworking Dutch citizens were caught up in an extraordinary frenzy of buying and selling. The object of this unprecedented speculation was the tulip, a delicate and exotic Eastern import that had bewitched horticulturists, noblemen, and tavern owners alike. For almost a year rare bulbs changed hands for incredible and ever-increasing sums, until single flowers were being sold for more than the cost of a house. Historians would come to call it tulipomania. It was the first futures market in history, and like so many of the ones that would follow, it crashed spectacularly, plunging speculators and investors into economic ruin and despair. This colorful cast of characters includes Turkish sultans, Yugoslav soldiers, French botanists, and Dutch tavern keepers--all centuries apart historically and worlds apart culturally, but with one thing in common: tulipomania.
The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age
By: Simon Schama
Schama explores the mysterious contradictions of the Dutch nation that invented itself from the ground up, attained an unprecedented level of affluence, and lived in constant dread of being corrupted by happiness. Drawing on a vast array of period documents and sumptuously reproduced art, Schama re-creates in precise detail a nation's mental state. He tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. He tells us how the Dutch celebrated themselves and how they were slandered by their enemies. "History on the grand scale...An ambitious portrait of one of the most remarkable episodes in modern history."--New York Times"Wonderfully inclusive; with wit and intense curiosity he teases out meaning from every aspect of Dutch seventeenth-century life."--Robert Hughes
Bottoms Up in Belgium: Seeking the High Points of the Low Land
By: Alec Le Sueur
After moving to Belgium, one man makes it his personal quest to prove that his new home is not as boring as the world thinksUntil 1993, Alec had never been to Belgium, so it came as some surprise when in August that year he found himself at the altar of a small church in Flanders, reciting wedding vows in Flemish. It was the start, for better or for worse, of a long relationship with this unassuming and much maligned little country. He decided to put worldwide opinion to the test: is Belgium really as boring as people say it is? Immersing himself in Belgian culture—and sampling the local beer and "cat poo" coffee along the way—he discovers a country of contradictions; of Michelin stars and processed food, where Trappist monks make the best beer in the world, and grown men partake in vertical archery and watch roosters sing (not necessarily at the same time). This colorful and eccentric jaunt is proof that Belgium isn’t just a load of waffles.
Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City
By: Russell Shorto
An endlessly entertaining portrait of the city of Amsterdam and the ideas that make it unique, by the author of the acclaimed Island at the Center of the World Tourists know Amsterdam as a picturesque city of low-slung brick houses lining tidy canals; student travelers know it for its legal brothels and hash bars; art lovers know it for Rembrandt's glorious portraits. But the deeper history of Amsterdam, what makes it one of the most fascinating places on earth, is bound up in its unique geography-the constant battle of its citizens to keep the sea at bay and the democratic philosophy that this enduring struggle fostered. Amsterdam is the font of liberalism, in both its senses. Tolerance for free thinking and free love make it a place where, in the words of one of its mayors, "craziness is a value." But the city also fostered the deeper meaning of liberalism, one that profoundly influenced America: political and economic freedom. Amsterdam was home not only to religious dissidents and radical thinkers but to the world's first great global corporation. In this effortlessly erudite account, Russell Shorto traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam, showing how such disparate elements as herring anatomy, naked Anabaptists parading through the streets, and an intimate gathering in a sixteenth-century wine-tasting room had a profound effect on Dutch-and world-history. Weaving in his own experiences of his adopted home, Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually engaging story of Amsterdam.
The Netherlands in a Nutshell: Highlights from Dutch History and Culture
By: Brand: Amsterdam University Press
Many think they know the legends behind tulipmania and the legacy of the Dutch East India Company, but what basic knowledge of Dutch history should be passed on to future generations? This overview of historical highlights, assembled by a number of specialists in consultation with the Dutch general public, provides a thought-provoking and timely answer. The democratic process behind the volume is reminiscent of the way in which the Netherlands has excelled for centuries at collective craftsmanship, and says as much about the Netherlands as does the outcome of the opinions voiced. The Netherlands in a Nutshell offers a mine of information for visitors to the Netherlands, and should appeal to anyone interested in the history of this fascinating and multi-faceted land in the heart of Europe.
Traces the life and career of one of the world's greatest painters and analyzes Rembrandt's paintings, discussing the artist's use of light and assessing his powerful and perceptive portraits. Original.
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.Praise for The Diary of a Young Girl“A truly remarkable book.”—The New York Times“One of the most moving personal documents to come out of World War II.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer“There may be no better way to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II than to reread The Diary of a Young Girl, a testament to an indestructible nobility of spirit in the face of pure evil.”—Chicago Tribune“The single most compelling personal account of the Holocaust . . . remains astonishing and excruciating.”—The New York Times Book Review“How brilliantly Anne Frank captures the self-conscious alienation and naïve self-absorption of adolescence.”—Newsday
In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist
By: Pete Jordan
Pete Jordan, author of the wildly popular Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States, is back with a memoir that tells the story of his love affair with Amsterdam, the city of bikes, all the while unfolding an unknown history of the city's cycling, from the craze of the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, to the bike-centric culture adored by the world todayPete never planned to stay long in Amsterdam, just a semester. But he quickly falls in love with the city and soon his wife, Amy Joy, joins him. Together they explore every inch of their new home on two wheels, their rides a respite from the struggles that come with starting a new life in a new country. Weaving together personal anecdotes and details of the role that cycling has played throughout Dutch history, Pete Jordan’s In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist is a poignant and entertaining read.
Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens
By: Mark Lamster
Although his popularity is eclipsed by Rembrandt today, Peter Paul Rubens was revered by his contemporaries as the greatest painter of his era, if not of all history. His undeniable artistic genius, bolstered by a modest disposition and a reputation as a man of tact and discretion, made him a favorite among monarchs and political leaders across Europe—and gave him the perfect cover for the clandestine activities that shaped the landscape of seventeenth-century politics. In Master of Shadows, Mark Lamster brilliantly recreates the culture, religious conflicts, and political intrigues of Rubens’s time, following the painter from Antwerp to London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome and providing an insightful exploration of Rubens’s art as well as the private passions that influenced it.
Most British travel writers head south for a destination that is hot, exotic, dangerous or all three. Harry Pearson chose to head in the opposite direction for a country which is damp, safe and of legendary banality: Belgium. But can any nation whose most famous monument is a statue of a small boy urinating really be that dull? Pearson lived there for several months, burying himself in the local culture. He drank many of the 800 different beers the Belgians produce; ate local delicacies such as kip kap (jellied pig cheeks) and a mighty tonnage of chicory and chips. In one restaurant the house speciality was 'Hare in the style of grandmother'. 'I didn't order it. I quite like hare, but had no wish to see one wearing zip-up boots and a blue beret.' A TALL MAN IN A LOW LAND commemorates strange events such as The Festival of Shrimps at Oostduinkerke and laments the passing of the Underpant Museum in Brussels. No reader will go away from A TALL MAN IN A LOW LAND without being able to name at least ten famous Belgians. Mixing evocative description and low-grade buffoonery Harry Pearson paints a portrait of Belgium that is more rounded than a Smurf after a night on the mussels.
The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of At the Edge of the Orchard and Remarkable Creatures Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin FirthTracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . . . even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.
The term "the Renaissance" is associated with the artistic bounty of Italy-but the massive cultural transformations remaking the world were affecting art throughout northern Europe as well. In The Art of the Northern Renaissance, Professor Catherine Scallen leads an intensely visual exploration using more than 300 images-paintings, woodcuts, engravings, etchings, sculptures, drawings-by well-known artists Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel, and others, to show the glorious art of the Northern Renaissance.