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Patriotic poetry and verse : Dutch

  • Literature (poetry/verse)Dutch
  • Author:
    Jensen, Lotte
  • Cultural Field:
    Texts and stories
  • Text:

    From 1780, Dutch patriotic poetry and verse increased significantly. As a response to the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-84), and the general economical and moral decline patriotic poems and songs celebrating the fatherland were produced in increasing quantities; the Batavian Republic, proclaimed under French tutelage in 1795, saw much national ancestry-worship in narrative poetry. Cornelis Loots, for instance published heroic poems such as De overwinning der Nederlanders bij Chattam (1799) and De volkswoede, toegezongen aan de nagedachtenis van de gebroeders De Witt (1802).

    The celebratory tone waned as Napoleon’s influence grew. During the French reign (1806-13) national-historical themes of the so called “resistance poets” had an anti-French national drift: Adriaan Loosjes (De laatste zeetogt van den admiraal De Ruiter, 1812), again Loots (De Hollandsche taal, 1810), and the work of Loots’s brother-in-law J.F. Helmers and of Hendrik Tollens.

    During the first years of the reign of King William I, who was installed in 1815, most patriotic poetry was written in his honour. Willem  Bilderdijk, who during the French regime had supported King Louis Napoleon, now celebrated Dutch independence in Hollands verlossing (“Holland’s liberation”, 1813) and Vaderlandsche uitboezemingen (“National effusions”, 1815). A new national anthem was written by Tollens, Wien Neêrlandsch bloed in de aders vloeit (“Those of Netherlandic blood”, 1817). Tollens would also become the champion of domestic poetry (huiselijkheidspoëzie), in which homeliness was depicted as the primary characteristic of the Dutch.

    The Belgian Secession (1830-39) gave a new impetus to Dutch patriotic poetry. A considerable amount was dedicated to the naval officer Jan van Speyk, who fell in the port of Antwerp in 1831 (e.g., once again, Cornelis Loots, Bij den vrijwilligen heldendood van Van Speyk, 1831); the episode also inspired many playwrights and painters.

    In the late 1830s and 1840s patriotic poetry and verse gradually became subject to criticism. Liberals around the periodical De gids (founded in 1837), criticized the hackneyed pathos and exaggerated chauvinism of contemporary poets, and argued for a more profound and thoughtful way of expressing patriotism. E.J. Potgieter, one of the founders of De gids, used the heroic past as a means to criticize present-day moral and social decline. Besides many patriotic poems he also published a collection of Romantic songs about the voyages of exploration of the 17th-century captain Willem Ysbrants Bontekoe (1840). A broader reading public was successfully and enduringly addressed in Jac.P. Heije’s national folk-songs and children’s songs (1861, 1865).

    Word Count: 393

    Antwerpen (BE)

    Bilderdijk, Willem

    Helmers, Jan Frederik

    Potgieter, Everhardus

    Tollens, Hendrik

    Heije, Jan Pieter

    Loots, Cornelis

    Speyk, Jan van

    Bontekoe, Ysbrants

    Loosjes, Adriaan

    Literary historicism : Dutch

    Visual arts : Dutch

    1816 – Tollens, Hendrik: Those of Netherlandic blood (Wien Neêrlands bloed)

    Loots, Cornelis 1799 De Overwinning der Nederlanders, by Chattam; aan hun voorgesteld op het einde der agttiende eeuw

    Loots, Cornelis 1802 De volkswoede, toegezongen aan de nagedachtenis van de gebroeders De Witt

    Loots, Cornelis 1814 De Hollandsche taal

    Bilderdijk, Willem 1813 Hollands verlossing

    Bilderdijk, Willem, Bilderdijk, Katharina Wilhelmina 1815 Vaderlandsche uitboezemingen

    Loots, Cornelis 1831 Bij den vrijwilligen heldendood van Van Speyk

    Potgieter, Everhardus 1840 Liedekens van Bontekoe

    Heije, Jan Pieter 1865 Al de volksdichten

    Heije, Jan Pieter 1861 Al die kinderliederen

  • Article version:
  • Berg, Willem van den (1999). “Verbeelding van het vaderland: Het denken over het vaderland in de letterkunde van de eerste decennia van de negentiende eeuw”, in Sas, N.C.F. van (ed.) (1999). Vaderland: Een geschiedenis van de vijftiende eeuw tot 1940 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP), Imagining the fatherland: Thinking about the fatherland in literature of the first decades of the nineteenth century: 309-342

    Jensen, Lotte (2008). De verheerlijking van het verleden: Helden, literatuur en natievorming in de negentiende eeuw (Nijmegen: Vantilt)

    Jensen, Lotte (2013). Verzet tegen Napoleon (Nijmegen: Vantilt)

    Kloek, Joost (1999). “Vaderland en letterkunde, 1750-1800”, in Sas, N.C.F. van (ed.) (1999). Vaderland: Een geschiedenis van de vijftiende eeuw tot 1940 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP), 237-274

    Krol, Ellen (1999). “«Verdienste blinkt op Neêrlands troon»: Gelegenheidsgedichten rond de komst van Willem I”, De negentiende eeuw, 23 .1: 23-35

    Zonneveld, Peter van (1981). “De Belgische Opstand en de Nederlandse literatuur”, De negentiende eeuw, 5 .4: 200-211

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    All articles in the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe edited by Joep Leerssen are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://www.spinnet.eu.

    © the author and SPIN. Cite as follows (or as adapted to your stylesheet of choice): Jensen, Lotte, 2018. "Patriotic poetry and verse : Dutch", Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, ed. Joep Leerssen (electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms, https://ernie.uva.nl/), article version, last changed 17-08-2018, consulted 28-03-2020.