Huiselijke relieken | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 4, Issue 3-4
  • ISSN: 2588-8277
  • E-ISSN: 2667-162X



On January 12, 1807 part of Leiden’s inner city was devastated by the explosion of an inland boat loaded with gunpowder. About 160 people – mostly women and children – were killed, some 2000 injured. Survivors kept mementoes of their loved ones and of the event itself. Over time, many of these ‘secular relics’ were acquired by museums, others are still with the heirs of their original owners. The article discusses how the Dutch word ‘relic’ lost its religious connotation and how the private provenance of objects relating to the gunpowder disaster differs from the public veneration for national relics of Dutch history and art. The term ‘homely relics’ is proposed as a new subcategory of the ‘secular relics’ defined by Wim Vroom in 1997


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