Volume 128, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Historians generally consider centenaries in the nineteenth century as ‘invented traditions’ and in terms of scale and political motivation emphasise discontinuity with jubilees celebrated in the early modern period. This article, however, contends that centennial jubilees were organised and celebrated widely before the nineteenth century. Focusing on seventeenth-century commemorations of the Revolt of the Netherlands – both in the Dutch Republic and the Habsburg Netherlands – the authors shed new light on why people celebrated centenaries and what was at stake in doing so. People did not simply celebrate the passage of time, but jubilees also served clear secondary purposes. Foreign invasions threatening the unity of the Republic and the ongoing threat of Protestantism to South Nederlandish Catholicism motivated people to organise centenaries, much in the same way that nationalism stimulated the celebration of jubilees in the nineteenth century. A common feature of early modern centenaries was that commemoration of the past often masked disunity and political uncertainty.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): centenaries; commemoration; jubilees; memory; Revolt of the Netherlands
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