Accepted paper:

The Dutch home in the countryside: rural architecture as symbol of the nation

Author:

Sophie Elpers (Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The Netherlands have experienced an emergence of neo-nationalism in the past few years. What is felt as 'typical' or 'authentic' Dutch is gaining new prominence in all aspects of life. The paper examines the role of rural architecture as national symbol in this process.

Paper long abstract:

The Netherlands have experienced an emergence of neo-nationalism in the past few years. What is felt as 'typical' or 'authentic' Dutch is gaining new prominence in all aspects of life. The paper focusses on the role of rural architecture in this process. Whilst some years ago the modern and postmodern urban architecture of the Netherlands was emphasized as symbol of 'Dutchness', it now seems to be more the rural vernacular architecture that is perceived as 'typically' Dutch. The paper looks at the images of rural architecture in the context of the construction and public distribution of national symbols by different actors (media, companies, musea). It reveals which qualities rural architecture needs to function as national symbol in the Netherlands and how this relates to people's emotions of nostalgia and a desire for traditional culture. Furthermore, the paper examines the influences of the images of rural architecture on the architecture itself, including corresponding heritage politics as well as everyday life in and with rural architecture.

panel P009
Symbolism in vernacular architecture, vernacular architecture as symbol: new examples and perspectives