Volume 129, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article focuses on the history of meta-historical reflection in Belgium and makes a comparison with the Netherlands. Meta-historical reflection is defined broadly as including the traditions of so-called substantive philosophy of history and critical philosophy of history as well as more general reflections on the social relevance of history. The article starts with a bibliometric analysis which is used as a first indicator for the changing success of meta-historical reflection in the Low Countries. A more qualitatively-oriented analysis of the theme follows. It is stressed that a relatively large interest in meta-history existed in Belgium starting from the early 1960s until the second half of the 1970s. This interest was shared by historians as well as philosophers (of science). The third part of the article raises and (partly) answers the question of why this interest in meta-historical reflection declined again during the 1980s. It also asks why meta-historical reflection, in contrast to the situation in the Netherlands, has until today hardly been professionalized and institutionalized in Belgium.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Belgium; bibliometric analysis; metahistory; philosophy of history; theory of history
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