Typically Dutch? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 129, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



According to received opinion, the international high tide of philosophy of history in the Netherlands from the 1980s onwards can be explained by its official institutionalization in academic history education in 1982: in no other state did philosophy of history became an obligatory part of the curriculum – creating a small academic job market for Dutch philosophers of history. This article questions this explanation and argues that the Dutch institutionalization of philosophy of history had already taken place in the 1970s as a result of two interrelated developments: leftist political student activism, aiming at a ‘critical university’, and a simultaneous disciplinary crisis of history as a science. Combined they produced a window of opportunity for university and disciplinary reform in the 1970s, a window that was firmly closed again from the neo-liberal 1980s onwards, although the argument also suggests that in politics past struggles never belong only to the past (as both the introduction of the MUB in 1997 and the Maagdenhuis occupation of 2015 exemplify). Moreover, the success story of Dutch philosophy of history is more complicated than the received view supposes, because many history departments have presented courses in historiography under the label of theory.


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