Category Archives: 2007

Nummer 1


A.K.L. THIJS

Naar een tweetalig volkskundig tijdschrift? Emile van Heurck (1871-1931) en de heroprichting van Volkskunde na de eerste wereldoorlog

Summary: On to a popular bilingual magazine? Emile Van Heurck (1871-1931) and the re-establishment of Volkskunde after WO I.
In 1919, Eugène de Bock of the publishing house De Sikkel tried to start again with the magazine Volkskunde (of which the issue was discontinued at the beginning of the war). The influential French speaking popular analyst however required that the illustrated magazine would be as of now entirely bilingual. This demand caused the negotiations with the Flemish disposed E. de Bock to fail. In 1920 the magazine appeared again. It was edited by a private person, Victor de Meyere, an urban civil servant at the Museum for Folklore in Antwerp. The new editorial staff comprised, among others, Emile van Heurck who, against his will, had to accept that the magazine remained nevertheless monolingual Dutch. In the meantime, the opportunity to let De Sikkel absorb Volkskunde into its trust was missed. De Sikkel, a young, dynamically and professionally led publishing house would have undoubtedly given the magazine more standing and even an international fame.
E. de Bock would have certainly involved youngsters, like a Maurits de Meyer, into the editing. Thus, during the interbellum, Volkskunde would not have degraded into a suffering one-man-cause in the hands of a well-meaning but as an editor-publisher not entirely capable V. De Meyere.

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A.VAN DER ZEIJDEN

Beelden van de natie: volkscultuur en folklore op Nederlandse en Belgische postzegels in comparatief perspectief

Summary: portraits of the nation. Folklore on Dutch and Belgian stamps: a comparative approach
Portraits on stamps are icons which are used to symbolize national identity. This article focuses on folklore on Dutch and Belgian stamps. Starting point is a hypothesis of Herman Roodenburg. According to Roodenburg old and ‘strong’ nations, like the Netherlands, identify themselves with ‘higher culture’, whereas young and ‘weak’ nations as Belgium more often fall back on icons derived from folklore.
Our scrutiny of Dutch and Belgian stamps reveals that until World War II both nations used icons derived from ‘higher’ culture to symbolize cultural identity. These could be great ‘national’ scholars like Simon Stevin or F.C. Donders but also examples of the great monumental heritage of both countries, for instance famous buildings or churches. A very important icon in both countries are the famous Dutch and Flemish painters of the golden age, especially Rubens in Belgium and Rembrandt in Holland. This is not at all in line with Roodenburgs argument.
Folklore arrived very late, not only in the Netherlands but also in Belgium. It is only in the late fifties that the Belgium Post issued three series of folklore stamps. These folkloristic stamps focused on Belgian legends and folklore. This reference to legend and oral culture is in line with Roodenburgs argument, as weak nations tend to refer to language and oral culture to define themselves as a nation. Also in the fifties folklore made its debut on Dutch stamps. But in contrast to Belgium, the accent was on material culture. It were traditional regional costumes that were portrayed.
More than Belgium, the Netherlands have a tradition of using traditional regional costumes to symbolize Dutch cultural identity. This tradition dates back to at least the late nineteenth century, when in honor to the accession of Wilhelmina as queen of the Netherlands her subjects offered her a national exhibition with a broad pallet of Dutch regional costumes.
In the eighties and nineties folklore on Belgian stamps reached it high point. These were the years that folklore was very important as a way of incorporating Flemish and Walloon identities in a large Belgium cultural framework. At the same time, in the Netherlands, folklore completely fell out of focus for a new Dutch intelligentsia, for whom folklore had became stale and old fashioned. The contrast is striking. All the more striking is the comeback of folklore in the Netherlands at the beginning of the twenty-first century, symbolized in a series of Dutch folklore stamps in 2006. The author argues that a new and more ironic mode of portraying national identity came into being, with a new symbolic role for folklore.

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H.L. COX,

Wie wat bewaart, heeft wat, zei het vrouwtje, en ze was al tachtig jaar maagd. Spreekwoorden als
Bouwstenen in wellerismen

Summary: Proverbs as building bricks in wellerisms
In the Dutch-speaking territory, wellerisms are often called zeispreuken or apologische spreekwoorden (apology proverbs), in Frisian seispreuken, seiprekwurden, sei-sizwizen or sprekwizen. However, the term ‘wellerismen’, so-called after the characters Samuel and Tony Weller by Charles Dickens who regularly used these, deserves preference above those names, not only because of its international acknowledgement, but also because wellerisms, even if they are frequently mentioned together with proverbs and sayings, are in fact no proverbs nor sayings.
Wellerisms are determined by their formal structure and not the content, which can vary extremely in wellerisms. The introductory part of wellerisms does not contain sayings and only in few cases does it have proverbs. In most cases not even the final piece has an apology. In our collection of 4475 wellerisms from Dutch- and Frisian-speaking parts, only about 6 percent of the wellerisms has a proverb as building brick. When wellerisms do contain a proverb and an after sentence, they are generally younger than the proverbs; the proverbs functions as a citation within the wellerism.
The wellerism can alter an existing proverb without really changing the meaning of the proverb, it can function as an extension of an existing proverb without changing the meaning, quote a proverb in its general meaning, or by attribution to a certain person put things into perspective or criticize, quote a proverb in its general meaning but by attribution to a certain person lend it extra authority and significance, quote an existing proverb in its general meaning and thus illustrating or contextually concretize, by discrepancy between proverb and the contextual situation in which it is used make a parody of the proverb or make its doubtfulness clear, quote a proverb in its original meaning but show its questionability in reality. Furthermore, because of the discrepancy or inconsistency between the original meaning of the quoted proverb and the situation in which it is used or by use of a word or combination of words in different meanings in the quoted proverb and the after sentence or situation description or by the literally interpreting of a solely used figurative proverb, a funny effect can be attained.

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K. VAN EFFELTERRE

Terugkerende doden in modern sagen

Summary: Revenants in modern legends
In our modern society catholic theories representing the dead as poor souls in purgatory have become outdated. Nevertheless secularization could not entirely wipe out the inner human fear of revenants. The past decades the human attitude about death has undergone significant changes.
People have developed many strategies to repress death and especially to avoid the confrontation with the physical aspects of dying. Nowadays people usually worry more about the way in which they will die than about life in the hereafter, if such a hereafter exists at all in their opinion.
In 2002 I started a PhD-project on revenants in Flemish legends. For this research I used a large collection of unpublished traditional and modern Flemish legends that were noted down by students for their thesis on folklore. The most popular motifs in modern Flemish revenant legends are spiritism, vanishing hitchhikers, purposeless revenants and ghost pictures. Especially summoning ghosts appears to be an extremely popular subject in contemporary narrative tradition.
In modern revenant legends the dead are no longer presented as poor souls that need the help of the living. As the focus is on the living and not on the dead, the legends do not provide any information about life in the hereafter, but simply suggest the possibility of the existence of a hereafter and of a postmortal return. In the modern legend the revenant is often an elusive creature from a supernatural world that escapes human control. The ultimate meaninglessness of the supernatural world thus leads to fear and horror. On a certain way the disappearance of the belief in a Christian hereafter seems to have brought the ghosts from primitive prechristian belief conceptions to life again; ghosts that protect the living, but that can also wander as hostile beings whose rest has been disturbed. In a highly rationalized and technological world the modern revenant legend thus reflects our doubts and fears about death that is no longer the exclusive territory of the Church.

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Category: 2007

Nummer 2


A.K.L. THIJS

Lyn de melkboerin en de Brabantse omwenteling (1789). Context en bron van een Antwerps Liedfragment

Summary: Lyn the Milk farmer’s wife and the Brabant Revolution (1789). Context and source of an Antwerp song fragment
In 1860, an orally handed down song fragment was published in which Lyn the Milk farmer’s wife ‘a bronze statue that adorned a pump pillar in Antwerp until 1876) complains about the bad time. IN contradiction to what the publisher of the fragment presumed at that time, the song does not date from the French occupation but from the initial stages of the Brabant Revolution (1789). This can be deducted from the complete song text that figures on a rare flat print from the printing house of the ‘patriot’ J.B. Cartiaenssens. The anonymous song poet made Lyn, as a sensible housewife, take a political position. This positive image stands in sharp contrast with the words that the popular poets of the nineteenth century put in Lyn’s mouth. At that time, she was given the roll of an ignorant chatterbox. This is typical for the way many viewed the relation between women and politics in the nineteenth century middle-class (pseudo) democracy.

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D. BILTEREYST, PH. MEERS, L. VAN DE VIJVER en G. WILLEMS,

Bioscopen, moderniteit en filmbeleving. Deel 1: op zoek naar het erfgoed van bioscopen in landelijke en minder verstedelijkte gebieden in Vlaanderen

Summary: Cinemas, modernity and movie perception. Part 1: In search for the heritage of cinemas in country and less urban regions in Flanders
Flanders and Belgium had an exceptionally varied cinema scenery. Next to the numerous cinemas in the big cities like Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, people could go see a movie in provincial cities and even in rural districts. Belgium had international fame because of the high cinema rate. As part of a large-scale research project, De Verlichte Stad (The Enlightened City), Volkskunde dedicates two contributions to this interesting movie and film loving heritage. A first contribution focuses on the rich heritage of cinemas in smaller cities and rural districts. Based on a systematic historic inventory of regular venues in Flanders and Brussels, completed with an extensive number of case studies concerning the local cinema history in 46 Flemish cities and villages, the contribution looks for the causes or the background of the extensive cinema scenery. It primarily points to the phenomena of pub cinemas and denominationalism.
In a second contribution, Volkskunde will focus on the perception of movies through an oral history research project.

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V. VAN ROY

Het Belgisch biertourisme als typevoorbeeld van de hedendaagse ‘globaliseringstendens’

Summary: The belgian beer tourism as typical example of the contemporary ‘Globalisation trend’
As well as abroad as at home, it is often claimed that Belgium or Flanders has a rich historical beer culture. Not rarely an identity characterization is borrowed from this beer past and the motto ‘the older, the better’ seems to be the order of the day. Different- apparently divers – associations try to spread the beer culture by creating a well structured beer tourism. Even (popular) cultural (e.g. beer lover associations), economical (commercial beer industry and multinationals), political (government or local administrations) and even ‘flemishist’ parts in society have an important interest in a massive beer tourism. Tourists are being drawn in different ways by these associations within the scope of informative or recreational activities: beer happenings, parades, ‘lieux de mémoire’, city branding, country development, etc. Momentarily, the Belgian beer tourism is sky rocketing and, apart from a passive attitude, these last few decennia tourists are expected to play a more active role in the beer culture. The different associations try to put the authentic, local, small and traditional character of the Belgian (or Flemish?) beer in the spotlights. However, when profiling ‘our’ beer past, they often do not hesitate to take the historical facts for a little spin. The participants of this – frankly stated – ‘forged’ or ‘invented’ beer culture aren’t always aware of its artificial nature. The thread throughout this article is the remarkable conclusion that the associations are trying to propagate the local and small aspect of these ‘authentic’ beers through mass communication channels like the internet and grand promoting campaigns. This combination and mixture of a localization and globalization process can be combined into the characteristic notion of ‘globalisation’.

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Category: 2007

Nummer 3


D. CALLEWAERT

Het boze oog

Summary: The Evil Eye
From times immemorial many people from all over the world have been convinced that a special, (un)intentional,
frontal eye contact of a person or animal can harm people, live stock, goods and chattels. This belief has remained intact because of news items, stories for young and old, computer games and comics, pieces of art, amulets, Adidas ‘Evil Eye’ sunglasses, etc.
It is a sender-receiver relationship and there are means to avoid or undo enchantment: keep distance and don’t look; provoke or intimidate (spit, make obscene gestures, wear erotic artefacts, show a ‘reflecting’ human/animal eye,…), use amulets (hand of Fatimid, red coral, brass, …). One should know the appropriate shape, colour, element, place and action to neutralize the Evil Eye.

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G.WILLEMS, L. VAN DE VIJVER, PH. MEERS, D. BILTEREYST

Bioscopen, moderniteit en filmbeleving. Deel 2: bioscoopbeleving en filmcultuur in landelijke en minder verstedelijkte gebieden in Vlaanderen (1925-1965)

Summary: Movies: modern times and film perceptions. Part 2: movie perceptions and film culture in the rural and less urbanized parts of Flanders (1925-1965)
This contribution is the final piece of a twofold about movie theatres, modern times and film perceptions in Flanders and puts the audiences in Flemish cities and villages in the spotlight. Through oral history as a methodological point of view, we will take a look at how the Flemish audience actively coped with the movie landscape and how they gave it their own interpretation and meaning. The different ‘perceived’ film culture in cities and villages and the roll and meaning of movie theatres in the daily lives of the movie goer in city and village are the focal point of this contribution. We will mostly pay attention for the differences in the programming, options and the actual perception of cinema in urban centre venues, local movie theatres and village movie theatres. The results we obtain stress that movies have been a very important aspect our free time during most of the twentieth century. This was also the case in the numerous Flemish villages and smaller towns that had one or more movie theatres. Even there, cinema fulfilled very different functions. A key aspect is that cinema not only provided personal needs (movie as a source of fantasy, escapism, fin, feeling of freedom or lack of control), but it also contributed significantly to a certain social cohesion. This contribution also pays attention to the direct and indirect ways in which the catholic movement tried to influence cinema as a free time pattern. Here also, not only the way how the catholic movement worked but the actual perception of the audience in cities and villages proved to be different.

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M.M.A.C. LANGENHUIJSEN

Het votiefgebruik in twee middeleeuwse mirakelboeken

Summary: The use of votives in two miracle books
The miracle books of Our Lady of ‘s Hertogenbosch and Anno II in Siegburg respectively contain 481 accounts from 1382 until 1603 and 295 from 1183 until 1185.
Besides votive gifts in a more restricted sense of the word, sacrificed after hearing a plea for help, also offered in advance, both describe so-called sacred gifts. On the miracle book of Anno, these last comprise more than a quarter of all gifts. This may contribute to explaining the discrepancy between the numerous gifts and the expected low number of healings. Also over-estimation of the seriousness of the disorder can lead to this.
Impairments in the liveliness of legs and feet were the most common, followed by problems concerning sight and arm and hand complaints. Psychiatric disorders were accompanied by gifts like ‘offerings’, body weight in kind, images of the human body or the heart and only once of a wax head. Was brains served as a symbol for headache, swollen heads, fever or serious illness. Votive heads were related exclusively to disorders of the head. Images of the human body and weighing gifts were multifunctional. The last ones were especially given with children.

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Category: 2007

Nummer 4


A.K.L. THIJS

Drukvormen voor mannekensbladen van Brepols & Dierckx Zoon (Turnhou): Een gebruikstraject van volkscultureel erfgoed gereconstrueerd

Summary: Printing forms for folk- and children prints by Brepols & Dierckx Son (Turnhout): A reconstruction of the multi-purpose of popular culture heritage
The story of the wooden printing forms that the popular expert Emile van Heurck bought from the rinting-publishing
house Brepols in 1905 is an illustration of the cultural custom to use objects for different purposes during their existence.
For the Brepols company, these printing forms where part of their working capital. The day their economic use was over, they were condemned to the rubbish dump. However, E. van Heurck considered them to be pearls beyond price of popular culture. Aside from an emotional and scientific value, he also recognized a practical meaning. He used them to illustrate some of his publications. He also found a use for them in developing his network of friend-popular experts, namely by placing them at their disposal as illustration material. The important meaning he attributed to these objects drove him to donate them to the Museum of Folklore in 1924. The curator Victor de Meyere used many of them to adorn his book ‘De Vlaamsche Volkskunst’ (The Flemish Popular Culture). Under his successors the Brepols printing forms suffered the very precarious fate of the complete museum collection, going from material neglect to scientific revaluation.

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D. CALLEWAERT

Goud, wierook en mirre

Summary: Gold, incense and myrrh
The three Magi gave the Infant Jesus – according to the evangelist Matthew – three exceptionally expensive presents: gold, incense and myrrh. Gold, made into jewels and sacred vessels or distilled into body and roomspray and gold-and-silver water, has played a role in liturgy, in folk medicine, as well as in beauty-and-wellness circles. Incense and myrrh are both made from different families of resiniferous trees. The smell of incense has been a sovereign remedy against evil spirits. It has also been used for hygienic and aromatherapeutic reasons and on special liturgical occasions. The balsamic resin of myrrh has been considered a medicine (even a cure-all in certain esoteric circles), a beautifier, an inspiring perfume (meditation) and a balsam (mummification / myrrhophores and chrism). It is not always easy to distinguish between religion, magic, esotery and love of pure profit.

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K. VAN EFFELTERRE,

FW: Schitterend! Narratieve volkscultuur in de mailbox

Summary: FW: marvelous! Narrative popular culture in the mail box
Characterized by inherent dynamics, the narrative popular culture has changed throughout the centuries in from, function and dissemination media under the influence of medial innovations. The oral distribution of the story tale contents, which was initially dominant, has never disappeared but it did develop an interaction with other media which arose by means of important discoveries such as typography, writing machines, photocopiers, fax machines, computers and the internet.
The fast electronic circulation of information also gave a new dimension to the narrative popular culture due to its important impact on the social-cultural life. As it happens, the internet has seen the birth of a new, creative and international narrative culture. The internationally narrative research knows a growing valorization of the internet as a research source and considers the mail box, and more specifically the Forward message, as a new channel for inter-human communication of narrative contents.
Such message – among which for example jokes, modern legends and chain mails – are characterized by their own patterns and give expression to human worries, frustrations and criticisms in the contemporary narrative culture.

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Category: 2007