Monarchie en geschiedschrijving - De vorstenbiografie revisited | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 126, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


Biographies of kings and queens have often been considered a discredited historiographical genre, particularly in the Netherlands, but wrongly so. The dynastic international networks of monarchs and their role in politics provide fascinating insights into national and transnational political history, changing social relations, and the cultivation of rituals. This article outlines the positive appraisal of the royal biography since the late 1980s in the Netherlands, and elaborates more generally what this genre offers to the historiography of political culture. Two recent studies illustrate this: Cees Fasseur’s biography of Queen Wilhelmina (2012) - a short and updated version of his earlier published biography of the Dutch Queen - and the extensive biography of the Belgium King Leopold I (2011) by Gita Deneckere. These two biographies also highlight the paradox of the immense popularity of hereditary monarchy in modern democracies, and how these monarchies adapt to new circumstances and appeal to the imagination of the masses.


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  • Article Type: Book Review
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