2004
Volume 123, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

Deserted quays, ramshackle warehouses, rusty cranes, dilapidated houses, and pavements speckled with rank weeds: the stereotypical images used by early modern travellers to illustrate the decline of Antwerp after the Spanish Recapture (1585) and the closing of the Scheldt are well known. Deriving new insights from recent literature on heritage travel and lieux de mémoire, and by using a select body of Dutch travel books in manuscript, this article aims to develop a new point of view. First, it can be argued that travellers’ interest in the history of Antwerp was no isolated phenomenon, but part of a much broader interest in Netherlandish places of memory that was itself linked to the new vogue for travelling (the divertissante somertogjes). Moreover, the tragic history of the Recapture and the waning of the Golden Age was experienced in a standard tour along the Exchange, the Oosterlingehuis, and the City Hall, which were seen as tokens of a glorious past and present decay. Finally, the cliché of Antwerp as a dead town did not occur before the end of the seventeenth century, mirroring the devastating economic recession that struck the Southern Netherlands and later the Republic.

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/content/journals/10.5117/TVGESCH2010.4.VERH
2010-11-01
2021-10-18
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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