Dutch know little of national history

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Most Dutch are lacking a good knowledge of their national history, according to the History Monitor published on Wednesday

26 March 2008

RIJSWIJK – Most Dutch are lacking a good knowledge of their national history, according to the History Monitor published on Wednesday by the Volkskrant, History Newsletter and television programme Andere Tijden.

More than 1,000 people participated in the survey by taking a test based on the history canon for primary education. The average score was 5.2.

Only 17 percent of those asked knew that the Netherlands did not become a kingdom until the 19th century and about half could not say which century is known as the country's Golden Age.

The test, drawn up by former history professor Hans Blom and professors of history James Kennedy and Niek van Sas, consisted of 20 multiple choice questions. Only six questions received a correct answer from 60 percent of respondents.

89 percent, for instance, knew that Willem van Oranje is considered the country's founding father and 85 percent knew that the story in the book Max Havelaar was set in Dutch Indonesia.

Parents did the best on the test, with an average score of 6.0. The age group 16 to 34 did the worst, with an average score of 4.4. The History Monitor is held each year.

The monitor not only tests knowledge on history but also surveys opinions on Dutch identity. This section indicated that two in three Dutch disagree with Princess Máxima's contention that there is no such thing as a quintessential Dutch identity.

More than half of respondents also said that Islam is not compatible with the Christian and humanist tradition of the Netherlands.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]

1 Comment To This Article

  • Jack van den Berg posted:

    on 27th March 2008, 11:59:45 - Reply

    No, the founding father of The Netherlands is Johan van Oldenbarneveldt. William the Silent struggled against tyranny and the Spanish persecution of the Protestants. National anthem:

    A prince Of Orange,
    I am, undaunted ever free,
    To the king of Spain I've granted
    A lifelong loyalty.

    Van Oldenbarneveldt rose to prominence when the Dutch, revolting against the Spanish throne, had failed to find a capable monarch, and declined to see their military commander, Maurits, promoted to that role. Van Oldenbarneveldt more or less represented the civilian interests.