‘Vermaas, la vache qui rit’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 131, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This photo-essay presents two case studies in modern Dutch military graffiti and wall art in the late nineteenth-century fortress Fort benoorden Spaarndam and the early twentieth-century military barracks of the city of Ede. The case studies connect two related trends in archaeological and historical sciences, one being that archaeologists spend more and more effort in researching the contemporary past, the other that historians have developed a growing interest in material objects as a primary source. The case studies on graffiti demonstrate how military personnel related to their environment, to military institutions, in which the meaning of hierarchy is important, and how soldiers related to each other. Comparison between the studies shows how the focus of military pride shifted over time. This work leads to new insights and raises new questions on contemporary military culture that might not arise when using other sources.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): contemporary archaeology; graffiti; military graffiti; modernity; wall art
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