Tuesday, October 12, 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Water as a way of life (and death): Holland, 20th-16th centuries
Florike Egmond (University of Leiden)
Much of the Netherlands would be under water – and would have been under water for the past 500-800 years – if its inhabitants had not managed to artificially keep out the water of the sea and the rivers that created this delta. This talk focuses on the Dutch river delta as an area comparable in many ways with the Venetian lagoon; it goes back in time from the 20th to the 16th centuries. It looks at how natural disasters shaped a country; at notions of control over nature and of land as a manmade resource; at water as both enemy and safeguard; at early modern perceptions of the sea as a resource; and at a historiographical discourse of technological success that needs revision.