Gepubliceerd op 03-02-2015

KNHG Spring conference: Towards a new history of the Second World War?

21 April 2015 – Royal Library The Hague. Register at info@knhg.nl

70 Years after the end of the Second World War, research into its history continues to blossom, grow and diversify, both in academia and the larger public arena. In both Belgium and the Netherlands the historiography of the Second World War is well-established, strongly institutionalized, supported by a plethora of highly diverse local initiatives in museums, memorials and heritage centres and accepted as an essentially legitimate endeavour by the larger public, policy makers and funders.

This success however also poses fundamental questions on the future of ‘The History of the Second World War’ as an academic (sub-)specialism in the twenty-first century. The 2015 Spring conference of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society, organised in collaboration with CegeSoma and NIOD ( the Belgian and Dutch study centres originally founded for the study of the Second World War), wants to stimulate the debate about the future of the specialisation. Are new orientations and methodological innovations required? How will the field connect to current trends in representations of the past in digital forms, in museums and archives? Should researchers leave the comfort zone of their own specialisations and relate to other fields and disciplines in order to deal with the `big issues´ of the history of the Second World War? Provocative statements on the present state of the historiography of the Second World War within the larger perspective of current historical cultures will be offered in a POSITION PAPER.

We invite everyone to leave comments in order to have a fruitful discussion on the issues raised in the paper!! In order to join the discussion, please register as a member.

This position paper will be pre-circulated amongst all participants and offer a starting point for the keynote address by Martin Conway. He will place the Second World War historiography in the Low Countries in an international context and relate it to broader fields of War Studies. The keynote will also provide a link to the four individual sessions. The four sessions will each take one specific angle to stimulate debate amongst three or four Dutch and Belgian speakers, followed by a plenary discussion.

This conference aims to provide a fundamental reflection on the agenda of Second World War-historiography in the Low Countries for the first quarter of the twenty-first century.


9.30-10.00: Welcome

10.00-10.15: Introduction
Susan Legêne, day chair – Royal Netherlands Historical Society and VU University Amsterdam

10.15-11.00: Keynote lecture
Martin Conway – University of Oxford, The History of the War is over but Histories of War remain


11.00-11.30: Coffee

11.30-12.30: Session 1 Frameworks
Chair: Hinke Piersma – NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide, Studies, Amsterdam

12.30-13.30: Lunch break

13.30-14.30: Session 2 Research agenda’s: questions or answers?
Chair: Nico Wouters – CegeSoma Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society, Brussels and University of Antwerp

14.30-15.30: Session 3 Representing a past war for whom?
Chair: Kees Ribbens – NIOD Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam

15.30-16.00: Tea

16.00-17.00: Session 4 Interacting with Collections
Rudi Van Doorslaer – CegeSoma Brussels and Ghent University

17.00-17.30: Closing remarks
Peter Romijn – NIOD Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam                                

17.30-18.00: Drinks


21 April 2015, Koninklijke Bibliotheek Den Haag. Register before 16 April at info@knhg.nl

Toegangsprijzen: KNHG-leden € 30,- / studentleden €15,- / niet-leden € 50,- / niet studentleden €30,-
Het bedrag kan worden overgemaakt naar rekening NL25INGB0006934391 (BIC INGBNL2A), tnv Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap, Den Haag.
Geeft u zich bij aanmelding tevens op als lid van het KNHG voor 2015, dan gelden voor u ook de ledenprijzen!
De tarieven 2015 voor het KNHG-lidmaatschap vindt u op de website van het KNHG.

Historians tracing WWII archives in postwar Germany shortly after the war. Collection NIOD Amsterdam
Historians tracing WWII archives in postwar Germany shortly after the war
Collection NIOD Amsterdam

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.