On June 7, Bart Verheijen successfully defended his dissertation at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. Verheijen is the second PhD Candidate of the ‘Proud to be Dutch’ group to finish his research. His book, Nederland onder Napoleon [The Netherlands under Napoleon], can be bought here.
In his book, Verheijen zooms in on the Napoleonic period in the Netherlands, a time of immense change. After his coup d’état, Napoleon gradually expanded his power from France to all of the European mainland, including the Netherlands. Between 1801 and 1813, the Netherlands changed from a republic to a monarchy, and from an annexed part of the Empire to an independent state, headed by the son of the last stadholder.
In Nederland onder Napoleon, Verheijen analyses the debates of the time, which accompanied and discussed this quick succession of political regimes. How did pamphlets, songs and literature reflect this changing Dutch identity? And how did the perception of Napoleon change? To what extent did these political and literary reactions aid the rise of patriotism and cultural nation building in a time when independence was under pressure?