Talk:History of the Netherlands

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Population Statistics

In the section on the early Kingdom of the Netherlands, statistics are quoted for the population. It is said that Protestants were only a quarter of the population, while Catholics dominated. Where do these statistics come from? This sounds a little surprising to me, considering that the much more highly industrialized Holland was relatively populous even in 1815, and this province had been thoroughly Protestant since the early 17th century. Were Catholics in all of the Netherlands (united with Belgium) really close to 75% of the total population? Michel van der Hoek 09:22, 30 April 2008 (CDT)

    • Holland was over 1/3 Catholic. The statistics come from History of the Low Countries (1999) ed J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts. p 398 says Catholics were 35-40% of the 2 million population of Netherlands in 1855 (and I assume over 90% among the 3.5 million in Belgium) Richard Jensen 14:58, 30 April 2008 (CDT)


The greater portion of my text about the earliest beginnings of the Netherlands (Franks, Frisians, Saxons), which I wrote for the Netherlands article, has been included here under the title "Myth" and is followed by the verbatim abstract of Beyen's article (is this copyright infringement?). I do not think it is entirely correct to label the "Frisian, Franks, and Saxon" theory mere myth. First, and perhaps of less importance on Citizendium, I do not think Beyen's article (which I have read partly) is convincing on this point. More importantly, the article doesn't really address the origins of the Dutch people. Rather, it deals with the historiogaphical debate (i.e. What scholar or group held what view?) about the origins of the Dutch people. Incidentally, the article contains erroneous statements about the Dutch language (I'm a Germanic philologist, so I know a little about this) that also add little to the question whether Franks, Frisians, and Saxons really ever lived in the area what is now the Netherlands. From a genetic and linguistic point of view, there can be no doubt that Frisians, Franks, and Saxons did live in the Netherlands, though other influences (Danish Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Celts) can certainly be identified. I think it would be fairer if we simply nuance the statement about the origin of the Dutch people with phrases like "it is unclear but..." but do not label it "myth." Michel van der Hoek 10:54, 30 April 2008 (CDT)

CZ has to go with the latest published scholarship (in this case a major refereeed article in 2000) that says the three-tribes-theme was fundamentally questioned and slowly faded away. If there are alternative theories in recent refereed journals then they can be included as well.Richard Jensen 14:58, 30 April 2008 (CDT)
One article published in a refereed journal hardly changes the historical facts. What's more, the article in question, as far as I can see, says little about the origin of the Dutch people. Rather it argues about the development of views in the Netherlands about their origins. It talks about collective memory and historical consciousness and has more to say about nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries than about the historical facts of the first millennium. The text in this CZ article should be rewritten a little to make clear the distinction between the historical facts and the way later myths and nationalistic trends colored the understanding of the origin of the Dutch. The notion of the "three-tribes theme" would have to be explained and put into a proper context. You can't just copy and paste Beyen's abstract without explaining what this theme is, especially because the sentence now appears to imply that scholars no longer believe in the three tribes' existence. To subsume all mention of Frisians, Franks, and Saxons under the heading "myth" is misleading, I think. Michel van der Hoek 09:53, 1 May 2008 (CDT)
Richard, this comment sounds very reasonable to me.--Paul Wormer 10:00, 1 May 2008 (CDT)
To me it seems that Michel probably has more authority in terms of being a subject matter expert on this topic, so perhaps there can be some kind of agreement reached that suits his assertions. --Robert W King 10:11, 1 May 2008 (CDT)
Historical Fact is too little is known about the Saxons, Frisians and Franks to assume, as people did 100 years ago, that they influence Dutch thought and behavior 15 centuries later. It is a discredited theory created by the 19th century Romanticism that believed people's distant origins were decisive in shaping them today. Scholars no longer believe that ethnic groups have that kind of long-distance power. As for accuracy, it is false to say the current version "appears to imply that scholars no longer believe in the three tribes' existence" when the article actually says "The tribes were real enough." Does Paul really think the three tribes shape thought and values today??? If so Paul needs to cite some modern scholarship to back his arguments, which resemble the discredited textbook histories of the 1930s.Richard Jensen 15:27, 1 May 2008 (CDT)
Paul hasn't read Beyen and just assumes that Michel's rewording is factual. Hence Paul believes that there were three German tribes (no myth there) and that their influence on the present state/condition of the Netherlands is infinitesimally small. --Paul Wormer 03:04, 2 May 2008 (CDT)

I am essentially fine with the way facts are represented now, especially after the text was modified. Things are much better. But I do think stylistically this paragraph can still be improved. Most importantly, I do not think that the historical facts of the Franks, Saxons, and Frisians should be included under a section heading "Myths." Perhaps we improve on that by changing the section title? Just to be clear: I do not disagree with Beyen's specific argument about the myth of the three tribes and that it no longer has any currency in modern scholarly discourse (though I have some quibbles with Beyen's presentation of historical facts of the first millennium, but that's just aside), but I find the treatment of this topic confusing in this CZ article. I have a proposal for a re-edit of the section on my talk page: Michel van der Hoek (As for expertise, I'm a Germanic philologist/Medievalist and historical linguist, so I claim no authority in the realm of history.) Michel van der Hoek 10:41, 2 May 2008 (CDT)

Good--I used Michel's draft and also added a section on pillarization.Richard Jensen 14:00, 2 May 2008 (CDT)