This is the newly updated Dutch canon

This is the newly updated Dutch canon

An updated version of the Dutch canon includes the addition of important female figures and a new focus on the Netherlands’ history with slavery.

A new canon

A new addition to the list is Surinamese writer and independence campaigner Anton de Kom, who is known for his book ‘We Slaves of Suriname’ (Wij Slaven van Suriname) which is made up of stories of people living in slavery.

Newly appointed female canonical figures are politician Marga Klompé, and 7.500-year-old hunter-gatherer Trijntje, who is the oldest human skeleton found in the Netherlands.  

Another change is the inclusion of the so-called orange feeling (Orangegevoel) that comes with the highs and lows of watching and supporting the national football teams. 

Some of the items removed to make way for the new additions include the Amsterdam canal belt and Dutch art movement De Stijl. Other significant events and people that survived the cut are Anne Frank, the Rotterdam harbour, and Vincent van Gogh.

What is canon?

The first edition of the Dutch canon was drawn up in 2006, primarily for educational purposes. It features 50 places which are to be filled by significant people and events throughout the history of the Netherlands. The Dutch government describes it as a list of what everyone should know about the history and culture of the Netherlands.

The original version of the canon was criticised for its lack of reference to the Dutch Caribbean and colonialism. Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven wanted the list to be amended to pay tribute to people and events that were previously overlooked and hopes that the list will continue to be updated every 10 years.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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