In the seventeenth century, the Dutch took fame by storm: a new country, a new way of governing, a new culture. The untold part of this story is the Dutch conquest of the European book world. This was the age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, and Dutch art has always held centre stage; but the Dutch published many more books than pictures, and bought and owned more books per capita than any other part of Europe. Key innovations in marketing, book auctions and newspaper advertising, brought stability to a market where elsewhere in Europe publishers faced bankruptcy: the Dutch made money from books, and created a population uniquely well-informed and politically engaged.
This pious, prosperous, quarrelsome and generous people were to a large extent shaped by their books. The story of how this book world came to be is the unacknowledged marvel of the Dutch Golden Age.
Andrew Pettegree is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He has published widely on the Reformation and the history of communication. Arthur der Weduwen is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of St Andrews, and his ground-breaking study of the first century of Dutch newspapers was published in 2017.
Join us for an evening with these two remarkable academics, as they bring the Dutch golden age to life in this beautiful and illuminating new book.