Category Archives: 2008

Nummer 1


De codes van de kroeg. Het openbaar lokaal tussen orde en wanorde in Antwerpen (1910-1950)

Summary: Codes of the pub. The public room between order and chaos in Antwerp (1910-1950)
Since the elite stopped visiting the pub in the early modern era, they started considering pubs and drinking to be a source of ‘chaos’ in all kinds of ways? The moralistic look of the elites towards pub visits does no right to its functionality for the lower classes according to 20th century police sources in Antwerp. They went to the pub to maintain informal social bonds and renew reciprocate relationships. Pub visits may have regularly resulted in drunkenness but the central goal was sociability.
That pubs were a more tolerant place doesn’t mean that he elite view of a ‘lack of morality’ was true. The festive atmosphere in the pub, which was regarded as a condition to cultivate sociability, may not be compared to anarchism. On the contrary, life in the pub was permeated with norms, conventions and opinions that structured the interaction among pub goers and between pub goers and innkeepers.
No more than pub life in general, may we interpret the violence in especially pubs as a consequence of the chaos created by excessive alcohol use. The brawls in and around pubs fitted into the strongly formalized conflict regulation in informal social networks.
The pub was chosen for this anything but “senseless” violence just because its function as a focal point of the informal sociability allowed for conflicts to be resolved under the eyes and control of the public.



Wy hopen te vercryghen tgroot lot”. De dynamiek van de loterijen in het maatschappelijk leven van de Zuidelijke Nederlanden tijdens de preïndustriële periode

Summary: The dynamics of the lotteries in social life of the Southern Netherlands during the preindustrial period
The lotteries in the early modern age functioned as an exceptionally democratic means of mass communication. By the way they were organized, for centuries the lotteries gave very normal people the chance to voice their unvarnished opinion on God, man and society for many to hear. However, this free word was negated by the government when it introduced the number lottery during the 18e century. In the 19th century the bourgeoisie and middle classes made their profit by using the so called tombola (small-scale lotteries for a ” good cause” in which their were no money prizes) for defending the existing social order.
From a popular and historical point of view, the documents left to us from the lotteries are of great value. They inform us not only about the perception of the social relations, but also about the aspects of the material culture. They shed light on an interesting process of cultural exchange, where elite material objects began to function within a cultural circuit for which they were neither conceived nor made. Thanks to the many short texts (“lottery prose”), made by the players themselves, we experience firsthand what interested these people daily during the early modern era, both mentally and emotionally: what they desired from life, what leans they hoped for to fulfill their wishes, what they thought about the unequal distribution of power and means in their society.



Cultuurpolitiek en Volksverhalenstudie in Vlaanderen (1830-2000)

Summary: Culture politics and popular story in Flanders (1830-2000)
The Belgian independence in 1830 created a serious language issue because only French was recognized as official language. This linguistic discrimination led to the intensifying of the Flemish awakening, with important names such as J.F. Willems, H. Conscience, P. Van Duyse. During this development, Conscience’s De Leeuw van Vlaenderen (1838) (The lion of Flanders) became a powerful culture historic weapon to turn the tide. Another positive impulse came from two young German intellectuals who improved the song and popular story study in the LOW COUNTRIES but especially in Flanders. The presence of A.H. Hoffmann
von Fallersleben en J.W. Wolf was very inspiring and led to the founding of all kinds of local and regional popular magazines.
The edition of Volkskunde in February 1888 signifies a broadening in many ways: geographically, methodically and definitely in a culture political way as well. P. DE Mont, A. Gittée and A. De Cock have launched this magazine brilliantly and made it thrive.
In their wake, many have continued until this day. Nowadays, it is striking that several governments (UNESCO, Europe and Flemish government) mainly focus on immaterial heritage with popular tales taking up the pole position.



Category: 2008

Nummer 2


La Germanistique mène à tout…”. Frans M. Olbrechts (1899 – 1958). In het wereldje van volkskundigen en etnologen

Summary: Frans M. Olbrechts (1899-1958) in the small World of folklorists and ethnologists
Frans Olbrechts started his career as a folklorist with a thorough study of Flemish incantations. But he is best-known as an expert of African art and American native culture.
As a student he met the folklorist Maurits de Meyer and owed him a lot. For his study of popular medicine he consulted with the Dutchman Martinus Anthoni van Andel. When studying at Columbia University (1925) professor Frans Boas brought him up to be an anthropologist.
Typically for Olbrechts’ research is his global approach of cultural phenomena: contextual, psychological and comparative. And this was quite progressive in those days and why he differed from most of his colleagues. Olbrechts too was interested in the identity of groups, but not as the ultimate goal, only as a insight into the origins and functioning of cultural diversity in the world. Hence his special interest in the way cultural phenomena evolve, geographically as well as historically.
Originally Olbrechts’ point of view was that folklore and (non-European) ethnology did not differ that much as regards their mode of expression and goal. But, as time went on, he had to accept that folklorists and ethnologist had grown apart and that this was to result in separate organisations, publications and networks. Everything suggests that he dreamed of a form of science encompassing the so-called ‘primitive’ as well as the presumed ‘cultural’ people.



Musea en collecties in conflict. Reflecties over (ethnografisch) collecties in hedendaagse musea

Summary: Museums and collections in conflict. Reflections about (ethnographic) collections in modern museums.
This article critically discusses the fact of moving existing collections ( the collections Butcher’s Hall, Museum of Folklore, Maritime Museum and especially the Ethnographic museum) to a new museum, namely MAS. Starting from recent opinion about museums and museum practices on one hand and objects on the other, it is said that it is becoming increasingly difficult to look upon a museum as a place where historical objects can be kept, researched and displayed. Museums, at least local or urban museums, are more of ‘centers of civic dialogue’, which means that the local community must have a say in the filling-in, for example through new material or
immaterial heritage. Thus, the existing objects and collections can be regarded as more of a problem than an asset. After all, they have been collected from the ideology of a dominant group and threaten to bring in the ‘look’ of that group into the new museum. The idea that they can be appropriated in and by the local community and can be given a new meaning (from below), is only partially true.
After all, the ‘material turn’ in social sciences have proven that 1) the objects (by their form, materiality, capacity) can’t be given any random meaning and 2) that the past of an object keeps playing an important role in it’s meaning. This is particularly true for ethnographic objects and collections, which, due to their specific ‘cultural biography’, can’t easily give another message than the one given at the time of their collection.



Olbrechts en de Afrikaanse verzamelingen in Antwerpen (1930-1940). Van de Vleeshuiszolders naar het Museum aan de Stroom

Summary: Olbrechts and the African collections in Antwerp (1930-1940). From the “Vleeshuis” attics to the MAS(*)
Since 1936, Olbrechts becomes active in Antwerp. He is charged with the research and rearrangement of the ethnographic collections in the “Museums of Antiquities and Applied Art”, seated in the Butcher’s Hall (Vleeshuis Museum). At the same time, the Advisory Committee of the Vleeshuis Museum makes its first proposals to establish an independent museum, dedicated to non-western art.
Olbrechts also becomes a fervent supporter and, because of this, is called the “spiritual father” of the present Ethnographic Museum.
Records from the Report of the Advisory Committee show that not only the lacking infrastructure of the Butcher’s Hall but also Olbrechts’ ideological stance about the research and exhibition of the African art, have played a role in the origin of the Ethnographic Museum Antwerp. Postcards from the Butcher’s Hall illustrate the way where the upper floors were arranged as an “exotic” collection of curiosities” when Olbrechts appeared. In the meantime, at his request, the animal skulls will disappear. Furthermore, the Advisory Committee, stimulated by the success of his exhibition “Congo Art” (1937-38) held in the City Festival Hall at the Meir, will announce the need for a better housing of the popular collections to the Antwerp City administration. Finally, the concept of the Congo Art
exhibition will be discussed, giving a colonial perspective to a historic department about the harbor city of Antwerp some centuries ago.

(*) MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), a new museum in Antwerp about the river, the city, the port and the world

(, see “MAS in short” pdf).



De geest van Frans Olbrechts in het MAS? Een verhaal over stad, stroom, haven en wereld

Summary: The mind of Frans Olbrechts in the MAS? A story about city, stream, port and world
In 2007, the Antwerp City council decided to expand the MAS (Museum at the Stream) with ethnographic collections. This allows for a better rendition of the story of Antwerp, a port city in close contact with the world and vice versa. The author shows that the city museum has always been defined in a broad way. In the expanded MAS, the ideas “citizen of the world” and “diversity” are central.
The museum will take on the role of a go-between between different groups of people that live in the city. The museum wants to tell a socially motivated story but it also wants to free space for the history of the different collections it houses. We start from three different relations people have: with their environment, with others, with the spiritual. The thread runs through three departments in the museum: ‘images of the world’, ‘images of the city/stream/port’ and ‘images of each other’. The museum becomes a place where you look for how to fill in an identity in a complex environment. But it’s also a place where this identity is permanently put into perspective
by confronting the past and others.



Category: 2008

nummer 3-4


Eén Vlaanderen? Culturele diversiteit op en voor het televisiescherm.

Summary: One Flanders? Cultural diversity on and in front of the television screen
This article asks two questions; how does Flemish television represent the modern multicultural society in fictional programs and how do autochthon and immigrant viewers feel towards it? A short overview of the current Flemish fictional offer learns us that ethnic minorities steadily receive more attention but that it also remains difficult to represent this diversity in a balanced way – not one-sided positive or negative. Research among young adults shows that Flemish fiction is not as appealing as the more relaxed American fiction. Nevertheless, they are acquainted with Flemish fiction, which has the benefit of being recognizable. Both autochthons and immigrants watch Flemish soaps with mixed feelings, but for different reasons: for autochthons, the representation of their own environment is not realistic enough, immigrants find it more realistic but not focused enough on their own environment.
Especially the scarce and limited parts for immigrants bother them, while autochthons have led objections. In general, there are many parallels between autochthon and immigrant viewers, but especially regarding the representation of ethnic diversity opinions do differ significantly.



Over compôte Egyptienne, ananas en pain à la Mecque. Exotisme op het bord van Leopold II (1865-1909).

Summary : About ‘compôte Egyptienne’, pineapple and bread ‘à la mecque’. Exotic food on the plate of Leopold II (1865-1909)
This article will look into the presence of exotic ingredients in the kitchen of the royal palace during Leopold II’s reign (1865-1909).
Does the king eat exotic dishes? If so, is it due to a sincere integration of foreign food or is it rather about giving an exotic ring to it?
Furthermore, we will discover if the purpose of a possible integration of foreign cuisine is to impress guests or if it also includes an enrichment of the daily meals. At last, we’ll be looking at how everything evolved throughout the forty year reign of the second king of Belgium.



Bewogen door ruimte en tijd. Migratie als rode draad in de verdere ontwikkeling van het Nederlands Openluchtmuseum

Summary: Moved through space and time. Migration as thread in the future development of the Dutch Open Air Museum.
This article describes the plans of the Dutch Open Air Museum to develop a series of new presentations during the coming years about migration to and fro the Netherlands. Firstly, we take a look at how the museum policy has developed, after gaining its independency in 1990. It is made clear how the choice for the migration theme fits within the more ‘including’ focused policy. Afterwards, the article goes deeper into the culture-political situation of the Netherlands. The increased interest of politics in the history and identity is seen as a ‘mixed blessing’ for the inheritance world.
The lost important considerations concerning the content of the migration are mentioned, making it clear that migration itself should be interpreted and presented as a normal part of the history.
The goal of the program is next; migration will be incorporated into the existing presentations of the Dutch Open Air Museum.
Finally, using a few concrete examples, the article will show how the migration theme will be formed.



Hedendaagse nomaden? De uitdaging van een kritische omgang met diversiteit in de culturele erfgoedsector

Summary: Modern nomads? The challenge of a critical approach of diversity in the World of cultural inheritance.
Inheritance and diversity go hand in hand. Migrations (political, economical, sociological) have always given sense to a society and shaped it. That much is clear. Different interpretations of diversity, multiculturalism and the expectations to have a politically correct discourse so people of an ethnical-cultural background feel involved, mean that reality sometimes lacks a critical sense. Involving ethnical-cultural minorities is most definitely a must. Well meant initiatives though are often narrowed down to the ethnical-cultural aspect while people are more than only their origin.
That is why the theories of Visker and Braidotti could be used to establish a renewed mentality at the least. Both Visker’s proposal to make differences debatable in public spaces as well as Braidotti’s nomadic thinking give the inheritance world chances to better handle a diverse society. It is about removing existing barriers, differences between opponents (autochthons-immigrants, black-white, Flemish-Moroccan,…) and thinking from a much broader sense, broader than the ethnical-cultural.
A modern nomad is capable of crossing ruling canons and frontiers, to make differences and common elements debatable and to see groups and people as more than an ethnical-cultural identity. Attention for critical historic writing and for a proper context is a first step in the right direction. Working together with organizations from a durable practice is the second.



Linken van inkt. Stukken tekstueel erfgoed van de Turkse migratie in België.

Summary: Links of ink. Pieces of textual heritage of the Turkish migration in Belgium
In this article, we take a look at the textual heritage of the Turkish migrants in Belgium, more specifically at the tensions between historiography, testimonies and literature. We analyze the historical discussion content of some works by Altay Manço, Muharrem Türköz, Nihat Kemal Ates and Mustafa Kör. These writers represent each a different genre and style. Yet they use similar patterns in their representation of the own migrant history. With their stories they have made an up until now little known contribution to the self representation of the Turkish migrant history. The textual inheritance grows and can now become a part of the migration’s inheritance. However, these texts must be viewed critically when categorizing them and the dominating arguments. Some authors of the textual inheritance aren’t professionals at all, which can often make their texts very authentic and rough. Their stories are valuable testimonies about daily life, dreams and illusions of migrant families. We will discuss some of those stories in this article



Kun je interculturele competentie leren? Volkskunde en interculturele communicatie

Summary: Can intercultural competence be taught? Ethnology and intercultural communication
Now that Flanders and the Netherlands are increasingly evolving into a multicultural and diverse society, students and professionals can no longer do without intercultural competences. They must be aware of and be open to the diversity of society, know the social and professional realities of people with different cultural backgrounds, and be able to communicate with these people. Working on this knowledge, these skills and attitudes are made possible using an intercultural communication portfolio.
Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerp initiated a pilot project with such a portfolio: a first for Dutch-speaking education circles.
Intercultural contacts belong to the routine tasks of academics and professionals in the course of academic exchange or international business contacts. The success of the exchanges and the business contacts (and thus contracts) depends largely on the competences of the academics/employees involved.
Knowledge of another culture and insight into communicative intercultural processes can lead to an integrated learning process in which the student and the professional – through the communicative to the social – acquires respect for the other party and is able to succeed more easily in international exchanges and in the fob market.
The basic competence is: ‘I am a critical and conscious citizen and I can function flexibly and intercultural in an open and respectful manner in the multicultural and divers society in which I live and work’. In this paper a new framework of reference for intercultural competence is presented. This framework was worked out on the basis of research and existing frameworks, but also advised by the Flemish-Dutch working group that was set up to advise on and monitor the whole process.
Working with a portfolio for intercultural competence does not happen in an academic void. On the contrary, integration a portfolio is only possible if academic authorities choose resolutely for competence-based education and support the concept of constructivism, if teacher training is available and students are well informed.
Though the framework is tested in an educational setting, it is the aim of the author to use this framework on a larger scale in the professional life of people working for companies, organizations or administrations in which intercultural contacts are frequent.



Culturele diversiteit: van een essentialistisch naar een kosmopolitisch perspectief

Summary: Cultural diversity: from an essentialistic to a cosmopolitan perspective.
Within the contemporary debate about cultural and gender diversity, the items diversity and multiculturalism are confronted with biodiversity.
On a second level, essentialism is being analyzed in many attitudes towards cultural identity.
Finally, light is thrown on the increasing impact of citification with the purpose to reach a justified complexion of cultural identity.



Etnische diversiteit in het 20ste eeuwse Brusselse restaurant.

Summary: Ethic diversity in the 20th century Brussels restaurant
Brussels has a special relationship with Paris. It shows for example in the dominant position of the French kitchen in Brussels restaurants. Yet there is no doubt whatsoever that during the first decade of the 21st century, many other culinary traditions are represented in the Belgian capital. Analysis of the restaurant guides show that the rise of exotic restaurants is no novelty.
The growing diversity meant that the French-Belgian kitchen receded. There are different explanations of this phenomenon: on one hand there is the growing mobility of both travelers and migrants. However, we shouldn’t overestimate the importance of migration: for example, the arrival of Moroccan and Turkish restaurants in the Belgian restaurant guides. During the 60’s and 70’s the reviews were mainly focused on the economical aspect of exotic restaurants. From the 80’s and especially the 90’s authenticity became more important and luxury was no longer synonymous with French haute cuisine. Finally – again from the 90’s – all sorts of mixed kitchen became more and more important, even (or maybe mainly) in top restaurants.



Etnische diversiteit in de canon met kleine c.

Summary: Ethnic diversity in the canon with a small c.
The Canon of the Netherlands gives a wide view of its history in fifty windows: the people and events in this Canon can provide a broader historic panorama. In September 2009 the Canon will be compulsory in schools. Arnhem will also house a National Historic Museum based on the Canon. Whether or not the Canon will improve integration remains to be seen, but in any case it will offer the necessary basic knowledge of history and heritage.
The canon with a small c is an addition to the fifty windows and offers fifty matching folktales, songs or testimonies. The small canon has been developed by the DOC Volksverhaal (Documentation and Research Centre of Folktales) of the Meertens Institute in cooperation with the Dutch Ethnology Chair of the Amsterdam University. One of the points of criticism of the large Canon was that it is rather focused on the history of the white Dutch. The canon with small c tries to compensate this with a more ethnical approach and by paying attention to more exotic narrative repertoire about Anansi, Nanzi, Kantjil and Nasreddin Hodja.


Category: 2008