From Binary Narratives to Diversified Tales | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 131, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article defends the existence of a Dutch empire and that this empire, as all the other empires in Western Europe, fulfilled the goals, interests and necessities of the central state, of the local elites and of the common man. There was thus a societal consensus about, and acceptance of empire. Furthermore, this article claims that the Dutch empire was not only a trading enterprise, as many have claimed, but a territorially expanding state that faced challenges regarding sovereignty, subjection and belonging across the globe, as did all other empires. In the conclusion, I suggest a change of paradigm in approaching the Dutch empire from the point of view of the multiplicity of actors that not only created, participated and developed the empire, but also from the perspective of the ones that actually became the empire.


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