H401 (voordien Castrum Peregrini) heeft een onafhankelijk vertrouwenspersoon aangesteld die als meldpunt zal fungeren voor hen, die onder de verantwoordelijkheid van de stichting negatieve ervaringen hebben opgedaan.

Freek Walther heeft als voornaamste taak, in alle rust te luisteren naar diegenen die over dit onderwerp willen spreken. Hij neemt hiervoor alle tijd. Het contact is vertrouwelijk zolang de melder daar waarde aan hecht, maar desgewenst zal Freek ons adviseren over de wijze waarop wij invulling kunnen geven aan de verantwoordelijkheid die wij in dezen dragen.

Freek is direct bereikbaar via het telefoonnummer 06-18518001, of per e-mail:

Er is ook een vrouwelijk vertrouwenspersoon beschikbaar: Marianne Dijkhuizen. Zij is bereikbaar via het telefoonnummer 06-50212048 of per e-mail:

De Vertrouwenspersoon is gecertificeerd door de Landelijke Vereniging van Vertrouwenspersonen, lees hier meer.

Critically Committed Pedagogies – Amber Coomans

Critically Committed Pedagogies, #2

A recap of  a semi-public seminar

by Amber Coomans

March the 10th is a vibrant day in Castrum Peregrini. Together with Dr. Esther Peeren, (University of Amsterdam, ASCA and Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies), Professor Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham), Jack Halberstam (Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University) and the moderators Renee Turner and Frans-Willem Korsten, the students of the Piet Zwart Institute and many other guests immerse themselves in “critically committed pedagogies.” Although the word critical may sound as a cliché, Frans-Willem Korstens states, together with the word committed, it’s exactly what this seminar is about.

Esther Peeren

The seminar begins with Dr. Esther Peeren talking about where we teach and how the spaces in which we teach influence learning. She’s inspired by philosopher Michail Bachtin and his so-called chronotopes: intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically exposed in literature. There is the chronotope of the adventure novel, in which the main character always forgets the things he has learned in the previous episodes and is constantly surprised by everything. In this world learning is not possible. Another example is the chronotope of the Road, in which meeting new people from different backgrounds is central. Bachtin states that these chronotopes also exist in the real world.

The chronotope of the Salon is the place where dialogues can happen and where there is a more dialogic and interactive atmosphere. Perhaps this is an example of what a classroom should look like?

What does it mean to have this seminar at Castrum Peregrini? You could see the former WWII hiding place as a learning space for the hiders. They continued learning by writing and discussing, as in the chronotope of the Salon.

The discussion then turns to the VOC-room in the University of Amsterdam where the faculty of Humanities is now seated. How does the history of this place influence the learning processes that characterize this place? And what does it mean that this hasn’t really been discussed? Our heritage from WWII seems to be allowed to haunt us, as shown by the popularity of the Anne Frank house, but our colonial history isn’t. Why is this the case? Peeren concludes with Bachtin, who explained that learning is an internal conflict: It’s going to be difficult! That internal conflict, or internal dialogue is not ignored at Castrum Peregrini. It is a learning space and thinking space where attention is paid to time and space. If more learning places such as universities would pay more attention to time and space, we would achieve different ways of learning, resulting in more inclusion.

To end with a clever statement from one of the students: It’s not about what the space does to you, it’s who you become because of the space that matters.

Peter Kraftl

The second talk of the day is given by professor Peter Kraftl. He talks about his research on geographies of alternative education, and alternative childhoods in the UK, which is fuelled by his interest in space and place, being a geographer.

Alternative childhoods question standard ways of testing and the way children’s bodies are treated in schools. They create spatial ways of learning. Examples are the so-called forest-schools in Denmark, where the pupils are largely being taught outside in nature, the Kilquhanity Democratic school in Scotland, where teachers and pupils come together every week to discuss what will happen next week in a completely democratic way, and the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland which is more spiritual. What was striking in his research is the fact that teachers in alternative schools speak about love so often. Love as a completely non-sexual, non-romantic emotion. In mainstream society these senses of love are touched upon, but not as frequent. One of Kraftl’s respondents states that we need to see something like love as something bigger than just between two people: love as a responsibility. Kraftl concludes that we need to see alternative childhoods as autonomous, rather than seeing them as alternative. They are autonomous because most of the time they are independent and more outward-looking. They are distinct, but not divorced from the mainstream!

Another point of discussion in the room revolves around the issues of class and inequality in relation to alternative childhoods. It really depends on the places you go to, states Kraftl, because there is a huge diversity within alternative childhoods. It is an important topic.

Jack Halberstam responds to Kraftl’s talk by saying that love being defined as opposed to sexuality is nonsense and impossible. Kraftl agrees that it is indeed problematic to separate love and sex (and jokingly suggested perhaps a very British thing to do.)

A student presses the question whether it’s ethical to homeschool a child. Isn’t it a form of child abuse? Maybe it is, but maybe it’s abuse to put children in a learning environment with only people of the same age. A complicated but interesting subject with much to discuss about.

Jack Halberstam

The seminar ends with Jack Halberstam talking about frightful leaps into darkness based on Auto-Destructive Art. In Halberstam’s own words: from talks about utopian projects we now dive into total destruction at the end of the day.

‘Art without a safety net’ is what Halberstam speaks about, in combination with why we might use queer theory to think differently about death. Why? We’re living in a world where life expectancy has been greatly increased. Also, technological investment happens so fast that we will reach the moment where we will have transcendent the physical condition of death. At least, this is what the trans humanists want us to believe. In a way, Halberstam states, we already are at that point because of IVF. People that normally wouldn’t be able to reproduce are able to now. You can see humanity move towards destruction and we have to think about reproduction and death differently. Auto destructive artists, like Gustav Metzker who lived in Amsterdam for a while in the 70s, aim to think about these subjects in a different way. Metzker has tried to shatter the sentimental investment in WWII, by making clear that the genocide continues and could easily happen again.

Halberstam ends with the following: let’s see if this archive of auto destructive art can give us a set of tools to think differently about embodiment, life, death, risk, safety, art, creativity, and violence. Is there anything within this archive that we can use for the current set of disasters that threaten us?

The contribution of Jack Halberstam was also broadcasted on Castrum Peregrini Facebook Live Feed, Friday 10th March.

As part of the project The Warp and Weft of Memory artist and writer Renée Turner took the initiative for a number of Critically Committed Pedagogies in the House of Gisèle on 20 January and 10 March 2017. The Warp and Weft of Memory is a research project by Renée Turner, which will result in an online narrative exploring the contents of Gisèle d’Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht’s wardrobe, and the ways in which it reflects her life, work, and larger histories through textiles and clothing. The Warp and Weft of Memory is made possible by the generous support of Mondriaan Fund

Amber Coomans studies heritage at Reinwardt Academie Amsterdam, and a minor Philosophy, Worl religions and Spirituatlity at HKU Utrecht. Amber joins team Castrum Peregrini on a voluntary basis.


Critically Committed Pedagogies, #2


Critically Committed Pedagogies

Friday March 10th from 10:00 – 17:00

with contributions by:

Professor Peter Kraftl, chair in Human Geography College Director of Internationalisation at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham.

Dr. Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, Vice-Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and Vice-Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS).

Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of five books: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012)

Moderated by Renee Turner and Frans-Willem Korsten 

Working from the unique place and the history of Castrum Peregrini, the Master Education in Arts programme of the Piet Zwart Institute and Castrum Peregrini, will host this semi-public seminar. Examining unexpected sites and paradigms of learning, the aim is to plot spaces for maneuverability, if not resistance or possibilities for imagining and acting otherwise.

As this is a working seminar with limited space to facilitate discussion, reservation is required. This event is FULLY booked >> If you wish to reserve a place on the waiting list, please do so before Monday, March 6th. Send your request to: Susana Pedrosa Email

Art As Resistance, #1 – by Leon Laskus

Art As Resistance,#1

Seminar on Saturday 4 February 2017

organized by Framer Framed, Humanity in Action and Castrum Peregrini

von: Leon Laskus

Am Samstag, den 04. Februar, startete erfolgreich der erste Teil der Symposiumsreihe „Art as Resistance, #1“ auf dem Intellectual Playground Castrum Peregrini in Zusammenarbeit mit Framer Framed und Humanity in Action.

Der Tag begann mit einem Grundsatzreferat der New Yorker Künstlerin Adeola Enigbokan, heute Professorin an der Universität von Amsterdam. Darauf folgten drei Workshops der Künstler Maria Guggenbichler, Charl Landvreugd und Patricia Kaersenhout zu kulturellen Identitäten, das kollektive Gedächtnis und über die Notwendigkeit Geschichte, wie sie präsentiert wird, zu hinterfragen.

Ich, seit einem halben Jahr Freiwilliger im Castrum Peregrini, nahm Teil am Workshop „Rewrite History“ von Patricia Kaersenhout. Nach dem die kulturelle Aktivistin und Performance Künstlerin ihre Ergebnisse ihrer bisherigen Werke präsentierte, war es die Aufgabe der Teilnehmer die Geschichte des Kolonialismus zu überarbeiten – in Sachbüchern oder als Collagen. Dabei sollten wir versuchen uns in eine Identität indigener Völker hineinzuverseIMG_3350tzen. Stift, Kleber und Messer waren dann unser Werkzeug die aus der zweiten Hälfte des letzten Jahrhunderts stammenden Bücher, welche zum Teil noch Rassenlehre beinhalteten, zu befreien.

Es war eine Art von kollektiver Kunst. Zuvor hatten Menschen mit diesen Büchern gearbeitet und mit deren Bildmaterial Collagen gestaltet. Patricia gab uns den Hinweis auf Affinität: Wir würden feststellen, dass wir mit jenen verbunden seien, die zuvor in dieser Weise an diesen Büchern arbeiteten. Und, es stimmte: ehe ich die übermalten, entfernten und ausradierten christlichen Symbole bemerkte, die im Geschichtsbuch nahezu überall verteilt waren, hatte ich schon begonnen die Kirchen aus den Bildern herauszuschneiden.

Nach dem Abschluss unserer Werke und das Auffassen von dem, was bereits andere vor mir im Buch getan haben, wurde es mir wieder deutlich, dass Geschichte sehr unterschiedlich präsentiert werden kann. Durch die neu gestalteten Bücher, wie auch Texte, ergab sich ein neuer Sinn der Zusammenhänge des Vergangenem. Aus der Sicht von vielen „Indianern“ also, würde beispielsweise eher „the Devil“ über den Köpfen der Kolonialherren stehen, als der Name mit sämtlichen prunkvollen adligen und militärischen Titeln.

Es zeigte sich mir, dass Kunst ein wunderbares Instrument sein kann, um aus einem Mainstream Geschichtsbild auszubrechen und durch so entstehende kritische Betrachtung des Mediums sein gewohntes Denkmuster der Geschichte zu ändern.

Leon Laskus volunteers during a year at Castrum Peregrini via Action Reconciliation Service for Peace ARSP a.k.a. ‘Aktion Sühnezeichen / Friedensdienste’. After finishing his school ‘Abitur’ in Berlin, he applied for a country and an organisation.  Every year around 180 volunteers, mostly aged between nineteen and twenty five are active for ARSP in thirteen different countries on a variety of educational, historical, political and social projects. For over 50 years ARSP has been committed to working toward reconciliation and peace, as well as fighting racism, discrimination and social exclusion. read more about ARSP

Conflicting Memories: Ukraine

Round Table Conversation
Conflicting Memories: Ukraine
A political crisis from a cultural perspective, part 2

due to circumstances: 16 February 2017 was POSTPONED >> a NEW date will be announced soon 

Language: English
Price: 7,50 euro, reduced fee 5 euro

A collaboration between Castrum Peregrini and the European Cultural Foundation

Participants: Ivan Krastev, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, Vasyl Cherepanyn, Visual Culture Research Centre, Kyiv and laureate of the ECF Princess Margriet Award (2015) and Fleur de Weerd, journalist and former correspondent in Ukraine.

The participants will each give a short contribution on their view of the current conflict from the perspective of collective memory, followed by a panel discussion including the public moderated by Katherine Watson, director ECF.

Read more here.

and / or here

Seminar on Critical Pedagogies

Seminarcritical pedagogies

Critical Pedagogies

Friday 20 January 2017

Friday 10 March 2017

From January through March 2017, Castrum Peregrini will host the Master Education in Arts students from the Piet Zwart Institute. The group will be meeting regularly in both Rotterdam and Amsterdam for a seminar on critical pedagogies.

Co-taught by Prof. Frans-Willem Korsten (The University of Leiden) and artist, Renee Turner, the seminar looks at critical pedagogies in the plural, meaning a range of educational theories with one common denominator, the term ‘critical’, which refers to the ability to analyze the social, cultural, pedagogical and institutional processes that are inherent to every form of education.

The seminar will also include a semi-public event on March 10th with guest speakers: Peter Kraftl (Chair in Human Geography at the University of Leicester), Esther Peeren (Associate Professor of Globalisation Studies at the Media Studies Department at the University of Amsterdam) and Jack Halberstam (Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California).


If interested please send us an email:

More information on the event and registration will follow.

Important Souvnirs


Amie Dicke: Important Souvnirs

castrum_24On show until 23 december 2016 during guided Visits House of Gisèle and during events.
Important Souvnirs is also part of Amsterdam Art Weekend 24-27 November

Since 2009 Amie Dicke is attracted to the house of Castrum Peregrini, its interiors and its stories. She has made work related to the place, in situ or conceptually. Her artistic interventions have challenged the development of the place. Simultaneously the place had a significant impact on the artistic development and the works of Dicke. Starting off with bold statements like the work Claustrophobic (2009) her perspective and approach has changed from that of an intervenor towards that of an observer, reading traces, isolating images from their contexts and therefore challenging our perspectives. Since 2014 Dicke has put her focus on the private apartments and the studio of Castrum Peregrini founder, the artist Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht (1912 – 2013). Dickes research fed into named after a brief note by Gisèle: ‘do not touch I am sorting Important Souvnirs’ During the whole autumn season – in conjunction with other events – Castrum Peregrini will show work of Dicke within the historic contexts that are challenged by the work.

During Amsterdam Art Weekend, on Friday 25, Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 November from 14.00 – 15.00 hrs Amie Dicke will illustrate her approach in situ, from the historic material in the House of Gisèle to the outcomes presented in the studio of Gisèle.  Upon resservation only through mail(at) Price: 10 euro per person in groups of 12 persons max. See

screening ‘Herengracht 401’

Film Screening

‘Herengracht 401’ poster

Tuesday 20 December, 20 hrs

A documentary about the fascinating house of ‘Castrum Peregrini’ and a document that shows from different perspectives how the memory of the house is captivated and owned. ‘Herengracht 401’ had its première at the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht last September 2016. And will make a tour in the art house cinemas in the Netherlands and abroad. A film by Janina Pigaht. With aftwards a talk moderated by Rosemarie Buikema, professor Gender studies University of Utrecht. 

Tuesday 20 December entrance: € 7,50, reduced € 5,-


Emerging [Hi]-Stories

Logo+raster_600_rgb_72dpiDe overlevering van overleven; verhalen en objecten van vluchtelingen. Samengesteld door Özkan Golpinar en Nadette de Visser.

Vernissage, 27 januari 2017, 17 uur
Te zien tot 10 maart 2017
pen dinsdag t/m vrijdag 12-18 uur

Een verzameling van twintig symbolische objecten en verhalen over vlucht, beproeving en groei. Via de verhalen en voorwerpen, verzamelt aan de Turks-Syrische grens, in Nederland en in Duitsland, worden ‘wij’ met ‘de ander’ verbonden. Emerging [Hi]Stories vertelt over over de menselijke conditie van het vluchtelingschap.

Door voorwerpen, verhalen en installaties op verschillende plekken in het Atelier van Gisele, wordt de menselijke conditie van dat vluchtelingschap uitgebeeld. Deze vertolkingen gaan een dialoog aan met de geschiedenis van Castrum Peregrini. Soms worden objecten getoond als kostbaar artifact, op een pilaar in een display case, dan weer uitvergroot afgedrukt op plexiglas of doek, altijd vergezelt door het voorwerp en het verhaal waaraan zij hun betekenis ontleenden. Vluchtelingen zelf leiden bezoekers langs hun verhalen.

De geschiedenis van de mens is er een van mobiliteit. Terwijl het Westen grote stromen mensen uit het Zuiden en Oosten ziet, tekent zich een schisma af. Een onzichtbare scheiding die de wereld in ‘wij’ en ‘hun’ verdeelt.

Daar wordt communiceren en verbinden moeizaam. Politici zetten hekken neer en wedijveren voor muren. Als men een muur bouwt, sluit men dan de ander buiten, of sluit men zichzelf in? Deze selectie persoonlijke verhalen en voorwerpen wil gaten maken in de onzichtbare hekken van de geest. Lees je iemands verhaal, dan kun je de ‘ander’ worden, als een karakter in een roman. Dit is een zoektocht naar een universele werkelijkheid.

radio-1Nasser Fakhteh vertelt ons zijn verhaal. Hij zat gevangen in Iran, eerst onder de Sjah, later onder de Ayatollah’s. Zijn vader kocht een radio met wereldontvangst toen hij, op 17 jarige leeftijd, voor het eerst werd opgepakt.

“Ik kon met vrijwel niemand meer communiceren terwijl hij een deur naar de wereld vond, onzichtbaar, over de radiogolven. (..) De gevangenis van de Sjah waarin ik zat is nu een museum. (..)Op twee eindeloze bakstenen muren zijn plaatjes bevestigd met de namen van alle voormalige gevangen. In grote letters daarboven staat: ‘De muren spreken’(..)Maar die andere gevangenis, die van de Ayatollahs waar ik met heel veel van hen daarna in terecht kwam, daar hebben ze het niet over.”

Zie ook

Lychnari – Gisèle (1988)


verkenningen in het Griekenland van nu

publiceerde in 1988 in het kunstkatern het artikel ‘GISÈLE’ geschreven door archeoloog en Griekenland expert Stella Lubsen.

Lychnari is sinds 1987 een Nederlandstalig tijdschrift over het hedendaagse Griekenland, met als ondertitel: “Verkenningen in het Griekenland van nu”. Het verschijnt vier keer per jaar. Het Griekse woord lychnari betekent olielampje: het tijdschrift wil — voor een breed publiek, maar met een zekere diepgang — licht werpen op de moderne Griekse wereld: van Griekenland, van Cyprus en van de Grieken waar ook ter wereld.

Lees hier het hele artikel ‘Gisele’ in Lychnari Jaargang 2 Nr 1 1988


In 1988 blikt Gisèle (1912 – 2013) in gesprek met Stella Lubsen terug op de zomers die zij vanaf de jaren zestig op het Griekse eiland Paros doorbracht, een periode die weer een heel nieuwe dimensie aan haar brede oeuvre toevoegde. Haar atelier in haar kloostertje Aghios Ioannis op basis waarvan Gisèle haar laatste grote atelier in Amsterdam inrichtte.


De 2e jaargang van dit academische tijdschrift verscheen bijna 30 jaar geleden, toen begon het editorial met de onderstaande inleidende kop en tekst. Die regel sluit nog altijd nauw aan bij de huidige situatie, zou je kunnen zeggen.

Spannende Tijden Het nieuwe jaar is in Griekenland begonnen met allerlei belangrijke ontwikkelingen, die een stempel kunnen gaan drukken op de binnenlandse verhoudingen en de buitenlandse politiek van het land.


A Laboratory Fever

Jussi Parikka

about What Is A Media Lab

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Prof. Jussi Parikka about A Laboratory Fever, lecture Tuesday 24 May, 16hrs. This talk is part of the larger research and book project with his colleagues Lori Emerson and DarJussi Parikkaren Wershler, and most of their research process is documented on the What is a Media Lab-website.
In her historical contextualisation of the laboratory (“The Laboratory Challenge”), Ursula Klein puts it in rather clear terms: the laboratory was not merely a place of pure science and before the institutionalisation of the site since the 19th century as part of the scientific set up, it had many artisanal connotations as well.

A program presented in cooperation with Universiteit Utrecht, Institute for Cultural Inquiries and Universiteit van Amsterdam, Mediastudies

Listen here to Jussi Parikka’s lecture, recorded by Mariela Cantú




Burning Diary: An Architect’s Exile

Vrijdag 17, Zaterdag 18 en Zondag 19 Juni 2016

Opening met toespraak van Frank van Vree, decaan UvA zaterdag 18 juni, 14 uur.
Open  Vrijdag 17, Zaterdag 18 en Zondag 19 Juni, 14.00 – 18.00 uur.
 Burning Diary 18 en 19 JuneStudenten van het Honours Programma van de faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen van de Universiteit van Amsterdam presenteren op 18 en 19 juni 2016 in Castrum Peregrini het Burning Diary van de architect Miloš Bobić.

Bobić hield gedurende vijfentwintig jaar een getekend dagboek bij. De architect en stedebouwkundige, die in 1992 als balling in Amsterdam kwam wonen, gedesillusioneerd door de verharding van het maatschappelijke debat in zijn geboortestad Belgrado, tekende op luciferdoosjes, in totaal ongeveer achttienhonderd stuks, de weerslag van een leven tussen de steden Belgrado en Amsterdam. De tekeningen tonen alledaagse indrukken, ontwerpen voor gebouwen, en ook politieke overpeinzingen, over het conflict in Joegoslavië, over het leven van een balling, over het universele karakter van stedelijkheid. Het is inmiddels meer dan vijftien jaar geleden dat dit uitzonderlijke werk in Amsterdam is geëxposeerd.

In hun presentaties gaan de studenten op zoek naar manieren om het getekende dagboek van Bobić te contextualiseren en actualiseren. Ze onderzoeken het werk van Bobić in het licht van de ‘grensintellectueel’ (Edward Said), of: hoe de architect, stedenbouwkundige, denker en kosmopolitisch burger het aanzicht van zijn oude en zijn nieuwe leefomgeving wezenlijk beinvloedde.

Friday 17, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June 2016

Vernissage with Frank van Vree, dean UvA , Saturday 18 June, 14 hrs.
Friday 17 June, Saturday 18 June and Sunday 19 juni open from 14.00-18.00.

Students of the Honours Programme of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam present Burning Diary by architect Miloš Bobić in Castrum Peregrini on 17, 18 and 19 June.

For twenty five years Bobić kept a written diary. The architect and urbanist, who came as an exile to Amsterdam in 1992, disillusioned by the rise of nationalism in his city of birth Belgrade, drew images from a life between two cities on more than 1.800 match boxes. The drawings reveal everyday impressions, designs for buildings, political thoughts about the war in Yugoslavia, about life in exile, about the universal character of city life. It is for the first time in more than fifteen years that the diary is on display in Amsterdam.

The students search in their presentations for ways to contextualize and actualize Bobić’s diary. Their starting point is the notion of the ‘border intellectual’ (Edward Said), or: how an architect, urbanist, thinker and cosmopolitan citizen changed the face of both his old and new surroundings.

Castrum Peregrini

Herengracht 401, entrance Beulingstraat.


Stadsleven excursie

Het Huis van Gise╠Çle 45 onlineTwee historische etages in het huis van Castrum Peregrini kunnen tijdens de Stadsleven excursie op 30 mei worden bezocht. Dat zijn de authentieke onderduik etage waar zij kwam wonen in 1940, en de salon van Gisèle, die dateert uit de jaren ’50. Deze historische vertrekken van Castrum Peregrini zijn nog geenszins dagelijks geopend en behoren nog tot de verborgen stad, waar een culturele wereld samenkomt.

interieur gisele salonBen je geïnteresseerd om maandag 30 mei van 17.00-18.00 uur deel te nemen aan de excursie door Castrum Peregrini? Klik dan hier voor meer informatie en koop je kaartje.


Castrum Peregrini – Made in Amsterdam

Bezoek Castrum Peregrini met een speciaal arrangement i.s.m. Amsterdam Museum en Artifex



Vrijdag 17 & 24 juni
11 – 12:30 uur

Extra datum: vrijdag 22 juli
11 uur en 13 uur

Castrum Peregrini is featured in Made in Amsterdam, the current exhibition of the Amsterdam Museum, as one of the 5 houses representing the role of Amsterdam for the arts in the last hundred years.

interieur gisele salon

Het programma begint om 11.00 uur of 13:00 uur en is inclusief:
Rondleiding Castrum Peregrini door gids.  Stadswandeling met gids van Artifex Amsterdam als Kunststad.  Koffie met taart in het vernieuwde museum café Mokum (gids Artifex is aanwezig). Tentoonstellingsbezoek Made In Amsterdam op eigen gelegenheid.

Prijzen: € 20,00 Personen met Museumkaart. € 32,50 Personen zonder Museumkaart

Bestel uw toegangskaarten bij Artifex, klik hier.

Activities since 2011

2011 We Are Alle Fanatics!
A series of events and publication on the phenomenon of group fanaticism.

2012 In me the Paradox of Liberty
A series of events and publication on the meaning of freedom today

2013 My Friend. My Enemy. My Society.
A series of events and publications on the meaning of friendship in society

2014/2015 Memory Machine – We Are What We Remember
A series of exhibitions, events and publications on cultural memory and the relation with identity


Openingsevening 25 april 2013, with Peter Sloterdijk, Merel de Groot, Abdelkader Benali, Jeroen van Kan, Ed Spanjaard en Henk Neven. Foto Simon Bosch.


Aura (2009)
Curated by Michiel van Iersel; With works of Susanne Kriemann, Alexandra Leykauf, John Kleckner, Chris Kabel, Simon van Keulen, Gisèle, Max Beckmann, Jan Toorop en Walter Benjamin.

Networking Books (2010)
Mapping a creative network and creating a temporary canon in the library of Castrum Peregrini.

Matter of Monument (2011)
Curated by Saskia van Stein and Huib Haye van der Werf. With works of Michiel Schuurman, Bas de Wit, Inti Hernandez, Simon Bosch, e.a.

You Are All Individuals (2011)
Curated by Nina Folkersma as part of the series We Are Alle Fanatics! With works of Yael Bartana, Daya Cahen, Köken Ergun, Enrique Marty, Daniel Svarre.

Paradox of Liberty (2012)
Curated by Paco Barragan as part of the series In me the paradox of liberty. With works of Erika Harrsch, Majeed Beenteha, Eugenio Merino, Erwin Olaf, Terry Rodgers, Siri Hermansen, Gordon Cheung, Alex Rodríguez, Piers Secunda, Andrés Serrano, Eli Cortiñas, Yvette Mattern.

[s]elected (2012)
Noninees of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Award: Lukas Hoffmann, Sara Glahn, Laura Pappa, Anna Navndrup, Marieke Berghuis, Elisabeth Leerssen, Christopher Holloran, Jacob Gallant Raeder, Leanie van der Vyver

Now and Then. Between Layers of Memory(2012)
Work of Iosif Kiraly curated by Maria Rus Bojan.

Shapeshifting (2013)
Curated by Maria Barnas and Danila Cahen as part of the series My Friend. My Enemy. My Society. With works of Maria Barnas, Daya Cahen, Dina Danish, Alfredo Jaar, Simon van Keulen, Alon Levin, Aernout Mik, Willem de Rooij, Rob Schröder, Jan Svankmajer, Jasmijn Visser, Felix Weigand.

In Search of lost Time (2014) A group exhibition of visual dairies as part of Memory Machine curated by Ronit Eden with works of: Adrian Melis CUES, Armando NLDE, Donna Kuhn US, Emma Rendel SE, Gigi Scaria IN, HF van Steensel NL, Ilya Rabinovich MDNL, Jakob Roepke DE, Nan Goldin USFR, Peter Goldschmidt DENL, Raed Yassin LB, Ronit Porat IL, Servet Kocyigit TRNL, Yuri Rosmani NL

Family Affair (2015)
Curated by Galia Gur Zeev as part of the series Memory Machine With Reli and Avner Avrahami

Exclude/Include. Alternate Histories (2015) Curated by Vincent van Velzen.


Kenan Malik – ‘Living In Diversity’

Monday 2 May 2016

Kenan Malik ‘s lecture ‘Living In Diversity’ at Castrum Peregrini was organised on the occasion of the launch of the Gisèle House, where past and present courageous people of civil engagement in art and culture will be commemorated and that wants to contribute to a more inclusive society.

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with representatives of Castrum Peregrini’s board of recommendation Avraham Burg, author and former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and Marjan Schwegman, historian and former director NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Find here the text of the lecture of Kenan Malik 

pictures: Maarten Nauw

Living in Diversity 08 online Living in Diversity 09 online Living in Diversity 19 online Living in Diversity 20 online Living in Diversity 25 online Living in Diversity 27 online Living in Diversity 29 online Living in Diversity 30 online Living in Diversity 31 online Living in Diversity 39 online Living in Diversity 41 online Living in Diversity 43 online Living in Diversity 48 online Living in Diversity 52 online Living in Diversity 54 online Living in Diversity 56 online Living in Diversity 58 online

Claartje Wesselink – NL kunstenaars en Kultuurkamer


Claartje Wesselink: Claartje W

Kunst, oorlog en


Nederlandse beeldend kunstenaars

en de Tweede Wereldoorlog

3 maart 2016, 20 uur

De Duitse bezetting van Nederland had voor het kunstenaarsberoep drastische gevolgen – meer dan voor veel andere beroepen. Kunstenaars moesten zich inschrijven bij de Kultuurkamer en een ariërverklaring tekenen. Hun werk moest in dienst staan van de nationaalsocialistische maatschappij. In deze lezing vertelt Claartje Wesselink over de keuzes waar beeldend kunstenaars voor kwamen te staan tijdens de bezetting, en hun reacties daarop. Ook gaat ze in op de kunstwereld na de bevrijding. Welke rol speelde de herinnering aan ‘goed’ en ‘fout’ in een tijd waarin Nederland ook op artistiek gebied naar nieuwe wegen zocht?

Claartje Wesselink studeerde Engels en filosofie in Amsterdam en Berlijn. Ze promoveerde in 2014 op het proefschrift Kunstenaars van de Kultuurkamer. Geschiedenis en herinnering. Ze is docent Cultuurwetenschappen aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en doet onderzoek naar kunst en kunstenaars in en rond de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Nederland. RSVP

KULTUURKAMER_VP_CWLees hier alvast een bespreking van Claartje Wesselinks boek door Lars Ebert in Onderzoek Uitgelicht.

Europa Doen II

Europa Salons

Europa Doen II

Donderdag 10 december, 16 uur

Met de focus op het voorzitterschap van de Raad van de Europese Unie, dat Nederland voorjaar 2016. Hoe ziet de politieke en de culturele agenda eruit? Vooruitblik op diverse culturele initiatieven in het kader van het voorzitterschap: Re:Thinking Europe, Forum on European Culture (1, 2, 3 juni 2016), cultureel festival Europe by People, conferenties voor de erfgoed en audiovisuele sector.

Toegang is vrij, RSVP Europa Doen II per Email:

Europa Salons is een serie van Castrum Peregrini in samenwerking met de Creative Europe Desk /  Dutch Culture. Lees hier meer.

n8 2015 Gisèles Atelier. A Still life.

Museumnacht AmsterdamAmie Nina Maria Claartje

Gisele’s Atelier.

A still life.

7 November 2015, 19-02 uur

with curators Nina Folkersma and Maria Rus Bojan, art historian Claartje Wesselink and artist Amie Dicke.  Including guided tour to Gisèle’s studio – do not miss it, hope to see you all.

Tickets only via de site of Museumnacht Amsterdam.



Sweep – brieven aan Hannah Arendt…



– Brieven aan Hannah Arendt

en Tristan

Donderdag 22 Oktober, 20uur


Voor de performance SWEEP werkt conceptueel kunstenaar en filosoof Tine Wilde samen met Loes van der Pligt artistiek directeur Mime van de Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. SWEEP is onderdeel van project Sweep waarin de rol van schuld en schaamte in zelfkennis wordt onderzocht. Toegang vrij, RSVP: Allerliefste Hannah …. In een 60 minuten durende performance reageren drie mimespelers  op stiltes, fluisteringen, akkoorden, dissonanten en twee fictieve brieven. De gevoelsbewegingen zijn niet uitvoerig geoefend, maar komen vooral spontaan tot stand. In hoeverre betreft het hier een maakproces, constructies van (culturele) conditioneringen of uitdrukkingen van een falen? klik hier voor meer informatie.


Tussen Zwerven en Wonen

performance / symposium



zondag 18 Oktober, 14uur


We draaien de sleutel achteloos in het slot van onze voordeur, we zijn binnen. Blindelings lopen we door de gang naar de kamer en drukken in het voorbijgaan met onze ellenboog de lichtschakelaar om. Om de inrichting heen zijn onze gewoontes gegroeid. Maar wat is het huis nog meer behalve een serie navigatiepunten? Welke invloed heeft deze plek op wie we zijn, hoe we naar de buitenwereld kijken en ons daar bewegen? In Tussen zwerven en wonen kijken we naar het huis in relatie tot onze identiteit. Sprekers met verschillende achtergronden belichten het thema vanuit artistieke, filosofische en politieke invalshoeken.

Met: René Boer, Marian Donner, Absaline Hehakaya, Thijs Kleinpaste, Hristina Tasheva en Henk van der Waal.   Samenstelling door Caroline Ruijgrok en Bernke Zandvoort, beiden schrijver en beeldend kunstenaar. In een performance maken zij met tekst en beeld de woonlagen van Castrum Peregrini voelbaar, en verbinden daarmee deze bijzondere plek met de sprekers en het thema.

Toegang symposium: € 8,- Wees verzekerd van je plek RSVP:

Dit Symposium behoort tot het project Object – Observer van Stichting Trebelsee en bouwt voort op de zomer 2015 tentoonstelling Something Thrown In The Way Of The Observer in Het Van Loon Museum, lees hier de recensie in Metropolis M. en de bijbehorende publicatie Hoe de dingen ons bewegen [december 2015].

Brief aan een oude liberaal

De Brief aan een oude liberaal  van Merijn Oudenampsen werd door hem voorgedragen bij de eerste aflevering van de serie Europa Salons als repliek op Stephan Sanders Brief aan een oude Marxist.


U bent met zovelen, dat deze brief weinig persoonlijks heeft. Ik zie u als een ideaaltype, een representant van uw generatie, van het Nederlandse intellectuele leven, waar liberalen zo oververtegenwoordigd zijn, dat men vaak meent het rijk alleen te hebben. “Iedereen behalve Jan Marijnissen van de SP denkt tegenwoordig liberaal,” stelde Bolkestein eens. U weet dat Marijnissen binnenkort met pensioen gaat.

De overvloedigheid van u en de uwen leidt u soms tot vertwijfeling. Identiteiten zijn tenslotte relationeel: het contrastbeeld van de Ander is noodzakelijk om de contouren van het Zelf te bepalen. Vandaar dat veel van uw soortgenoten een opvallende heimwee koesteren naar de tijd van de Koude Oorlog, naar wat Karel van het Reve eens het geloof der kameraden heeft genoemd. Het liberale ideaal van het vrije individu had in die tijd nog iets verhevens, een principe waarvoor gevochten moest worden, gezien de dreiging die uitging van de Sovjet-Unie. Nu winkelt ieder zijn eigen individuele levensstijl bij elkaar, zonder dat er daadwerkelijk iets op het spel staat.

De ingesleten posities uit het Koude Oorlogsverleden bepalen nog steeds het denken van uw generatie. Soms lijkt het alsof de tijd voor u heeft stilgestaan. In een interview een tijdje terug, werd ik door een Volkskrant-redacteur de vraag voorgelegd, wat ik als links persoon dan wel van de Cuba-kwestie vond. Werkelijk waar, de Cuba kwestie. Hij had me net zo goed kunnen vragen over de Vietnam-oorlog.

Soms krijg ik het gevoel in de film Good Bye, Lenin! te zijn aanbeland, de bekende film waarin Alexander, een jongere van mijn generatie, angstvallig probeert het wereldbeeld van die tijd te reconstrueren voor zijn mentaal fragiele moeder die net uit een coma is ontwaakt. Eenzelfde gevoel krijg ik bij het lezen van uw koddige Vrij Nederland-stukjes over Marx, geschreven in de hoopvolle verwachting dat er nog iemand ter linkerzijde is die er aanstoot aan neemt. Alsof de koude oorlog niet allang voorbij is.

Ik zou graag de rol van Alexander op me nemen en de oude marxist voor u spelen. Deze oude geest die u blijft oproepen, in een spiritistische seance die u blijft herhalen. Ik verstop me ergens achter een zuil, en spreek tot u, in zinnen vol oudbakken marxistische terminologie.

Het kan zijn dat ik de geijkte persoon ben voor een dergelijk rollenspel. Mijn ouders zaten vroeger bij de Communistische Partij, zoals vele anderen uit de Amsterdamse studentenbeweging. Ze vertelden me eens, niet zonder zelfspot, hoe ze naar de NDSM scheepswerf gingen om daar op de arbeiders in te praten. Arbeiders die overigens weinig moesten hebben van die belerende studenten.

Het enige wat ik u kan zeggen, is dat de communisten van toen niet reikten naar het communistische ideaal, zoals Marx zich dat ooit had voorgesteld. In de Duitse ideologie schreef Marx over het communisme als de vrijheid om naar believen ‘s ochtends te jagen, ’s middags te vissen, ’s avonds veeteelt te bedrijven en na het eten de kritiek te beoefenen, zonder ooit jager, visser, herder of criticus te worden.’

Het ideaal van de CPN was veel bescheidener: de identiteit van de arbeidersklasse viel samen met het politieke ideaalbeeld. Zozeer zelfs dat telgen uit gegoede geslachten, neem Paul Rosenmöller, het revolutionaire ideaal trachten te benaderen door als dokwerker aan de slag te gaan. Dit arbeiderisme ging samen met een stevig anti-intellectualisme. De overgrote meerderheid van mijn ouders generatie heeft Marx enkel oppervlakkig gelezen of begrepen. Ik kwam niet verder dan de introductie, hoor je wel eens bij een verjaardagspartijtje, met een apart soort trots, die generatie eigen.

Het marxisme heeft in Nederland nooit een voet aan de grond gekregen. De intellectuele ontwikkelingen sindsdien zijn eveneens grotendeels aan Nederland voorbij gegaan. De zogenaamde post-marxisten als Laclau, Mouffe, Hall, Balibar, Rancière, Saïd, Derrida, Butler en Spivak, hebben in Nederland geen gehoor gevonden of zijn zeer vijandig ontvangen. De dijken die ons beschutten tegen de denkbeelden en stromingen van buiten, worden goed onderhouden. Wie iets wil weten over hoe men op links over identiteit en universalisme denkt, moet over de dijken heen kijken en zich bij de genoemde denkers vervoegen. Onze generatie is die van het voorvoegsel: post-marxistisch, post-structuralistisch, post-koloniaal, post-keynesiaans, post-punk en post-rock.

Ik denk dat wij elkaar kunnen vinden wat betreft een gedeelde afkeer van gemakzuchtig universalisme en essentialisme. Wij delen een idee over identiteit als een verhalende zoektocht, als spanningsveld en knutselwerk. Het is een accent dat u legt in uw kritiek op identiteitspolitiek, waar ik mij aan stoor. U schrijft in Vrij Nederland: “Alle slogans die door emancipatiebewegingen zijn beproefd om ‘het bewustzijn te veranderen’ betekenden meteen ook nieuwe gevangenissen waarin mensen opgesloten werden.”

Maar de gevangenis in dit geval is niet de zwarte identiteit, het is de ongelijkheid en segregatie in de samenleving, waar de zwarte identiteitspolitiek juist een reactie op is. Een slogan als Black power! is geen gevangenis maar een breekijzer, een ontsnappingspoging. U verwart oorzaak en gevolg. U schrijft in Vrij Nederland dat u die identiteitspolitiek saai, en esthetisch onbevredigend vindt. Dat komt een beetje elitair over. Verheven op de troon van uw individualiteit, kijkt u neer op de massa’s, gehecht als ze zijn aan hun stamverbanden. U hoeft natuurlijk geen groepen te vormen, energieën samen te brengen, of emancipatie te bewerkstelligen omdat u als individu in wezen al satisfait bent. Het bestaan van ongelijkheid in de samenleving, het bestaan van de Ander, de minderheden, de moslims, die niet aan de bak komen, is het gevolg van het feit dat zij zich vastklinken aan hun gemeenschap. Ja, zo kan ik het ook.

Laten we niet uit het oog verliezen dat de belangrijkste identiteitspolitiek van vandaag de dag een rechtse signatuur heeft. De neoconservatief Samuel Huntington schreef in de jaren negentig over de botsing der beschavingen. Het is het nieuwe rode boekje voor Europees rechts. Huntington stelde dat de vijand uit de koude oorlog verdwenen was. Hij adviseerde elites een nieuwe vijandsbeeld te construeren op basis van religieuze identiteit: de Islam. Het beroep op de superioriteit van de Westerse beschaving, op de Westerse normen en waarden is eenzelfde vorm van identiteitspolitiek, waardoor de witte bevolking zich kan verheffen boven de gekleurde medemens. Figuren als Fortuyn, Wilders, Bolkestein, Cliteur en Hirsi Ali zijn de grote voorgangers van deze nieuwe identiteitspolitiek. Het zijn identiteiten die veelal niet als identiteiten worden gezien, omdat ze, om maar een marxistische term te gebruiken, hegemonisch zijn.

Er is een historische ironie in deze ontwikkeling te bespeuren die u vast zal interesseren. Vroeger was het de relativerende liberaal die zich geconfronteerd zag met de doctrinaire marxist. Nu zijn de rollen omgedraaid. De eerder genoemde linkse denkers putten zich uit in nuances over identiteit en universalisme: alles is contingent, hybride en continu in aanbouw. Het zijn uw collega-liberalen als Cliteur, Hirsi Ali en Bolkestein, die doctrinair hameren op identiteit en universalisme. Maar daar hoor ik u vreemd genoeg nooit over.

Zeg me eens, oude liberaal, bent u in staat om af te dalen vanuit uw Olympische hoogte?



O Muze! – portretten van Gisèle

O Muze!

De Hallen Haarlem Zomerserie

6 juni t/m 30 Augustus 2015

voor deze grote zomertentoonstelling in museum De Hallen Haarlem zijn er drie ‘portretten’ van Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht geselecteerd, van Joep Nicolas, Charlotte van Pallandt en Koos Breukel.

De mooi uitgevoerde, verzorgde catalogus bevatte de onderstaande tekst geschreven door conservator moderne kunst Antoon Erftemeijer  Frans Hals Museum / De Hallen Haarlem:

portret J Nicolas 1935 Foto Arend Velsink

portret J Nicolas 1935 Foto Arend Velsink


Vele kunstenaars hebben haar geportretteerd. De glazenier/schilder Joep Nicolas meermaals, toen zij hem als jonge vrouw in de jaren 1930 assisteerde bij diens glas-in-loodwerken en hem boeide door haar uiterlijk en artistieke talent.1 Dan de Duitse schilder Max Beckman, toen deze tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Amsterdam ondergedoken zat; hij noemde haar later ‘eine meiner Getreusten’.2 De beeldhouwster Charlotte van Pallandt vereeuwigde haar markante hoofd. En de fotograaf Koos Breukel maakte een serie portretfoto’s van haar toen zij 100 jaar was geworden. Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht – over haar gaat het hier – kon op dat moment terugkijken op een niet alleen lang, maar ook artistiek vruchtbaar en zeer internationaal leven met vele inspirerende contacten.

Zelf inspireerde zij niet alleen mede-kunstenaars tot portretten als de genoemde, en later in haar leven tot een documentaire en zelfs een roman (‘Gisèle’ (2012) van Susan Smit). Ook was zij steun en toeverlaat voor collega’s en anderen die in de Tweede Wereldoorlog bij haar onderdoken of anderszins een beroep op haar deden, onder wie ook schrijvers als Adriaan Roland Holst en Eddy du Perron. Haar eigen beeldende werk is zeer veelzijdig, variërend van schilderijen en ruimtelijke werken tot series wandtapijten en expressieve glas-in-loodramen (Nieuwe Bavo te Haarlem, Begijnhof te Amsterdam, en elders). Kunst maken was voor haar een zoektocht: ‘Het màg niet anders dan moeilijk zijn’, stelde zij zelfs ooit.3 Vernieuwing schuwde zij allerminst, zij het vanuit een besef van afhankelijkheid van het verleden: ‘Als het goed is, begint men waarschijnlijk steeds weer opnieuw, hoewel nooit iets zomaar uit het niets komt. Wat boven de aarde zijn kop uitsteekt, spruit altijd voort uit de zaadkorrel eronder. Tussen wat is en wat was is altijd een samenhang.’4

In het pand Herengracht 401, Gisèles vaste woning en uitvalsbasis sinds 1941, werd door haar, de Duitse dichter Wolfgang Frommel  en anderen in 1950 het eerste nummer van het literaire tijdschrift ‘Castrum Peregrini’ uitgebracht. Daarmee werd de basis gelegd voor een enkele jaren later officieel opgerichte stichting met dezelfde naam en op hetzelfde adres, met een muzische culturele bestemming: uitgeverij van een eigen tijdschrift en boeken, evenementenplek, en ruimte voor exposities en ontmoetingen. Een inspirerende en internationaal gerichte, geëngageerde ‘intellectual playground’ (zoals het centrum zich tegenwoordig noemt5) waarvan Gisèle decennialang beschermvrouwe en drijvende kracht is geweest. [A.E.]

Joep Nicolas (1897-1972)

Portret van Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht, 1935

Olieverf op doek,102 x 78 cm

Amsterdam, Collectie Castrum Peregrini

Charlotte van Pallandt (1898-1997)

Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht, 1966

Brons, 56 x 38 x 27 cm

Eelde, Museum De Buitenplaats

Koos Breukel (1962)

Portret van Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht, 2012

Inktjetprint, 60 x 40 cm [incl. lijst]

Amsterdam, particuliere collectie

1 – Twee andere portretten van Gisèle dan het hier gereproduceerde zijn in het bezit van de Roermondse Stichting 1880 (zie Stedelijk Museum Roermond). Zie over de relatie Nicolas-Gisèle o.a. Van der Varst 2014 en Nicolas White 1979. 2 – Smook-Krikke 2012, 47. 3 – Van Waterschoot van der Gracht 1956. 4 – Van Keulen en Van Waterschoot van der Gracht 1979. 5 – Zie verder de website van Castrum Peregrini (

catalogus O Muze! De Hallen Haarlem

catalogus O Muze! De Hallen Haarlem

catalogus O Muze! De Hallen Haarlem

catalogus O Muze! De Hallen Haarlem


Europa Denken, Europa Doen

Europa Denken, Europa Doen.

1e aflevering Maandag 9 Maart, 16uur

–          Frank Kresin research director van De Waag Society en

–          Saskia van Stein, artistic director NAIM / Bureau Europa

–          Gespreksleider: Jotham Sietsma, MitOst (Berlijn)

In een reeks van vier events die in samenwerking met Creative Europe Desk NL in 2015 tot stand komt, komen afwisselend (EUROPA) DENKERS eDOENERS aan het woord die inspiratie en ervaring delen met de groep aanwezigen. Allen personen en instellingen die Europese plannen ontwikkelen of de mogelijkheden ervan voor hun eigen activiteiten willen onderzoeken. En telkens nieuwe sprekers.

EUROPA DENKEN, EUROPA DOEN wil positieve en attractieve rolmodellen over cultureel werken in Europa voor het voetlicht brengen, als inspiratiebron voor jonge en gevestigde cultuurmakers en vertegenwoordigers van culturele organisaties. Op die manier wil het project individuen en vertegenwoordigers van organisaties uit de culturele industrie stimuleren in Europa te ondernemen en/of samenwerkingsverbanden aan te gaan met Europese partnerorganisaties.

de datum voor de 2e aflevering Europa Denken, Europa Doen

volgt binnenkort.

Het aantal plaatsen is beperkt, aanmelden verplicht, Email


PartnerDe Gidsship

Castrum Peregrini

en De Gids


Donderdag 12 Februari 2015 is onze samenwerking met De Gids van start gegaan, het eerste mini-essay dat aansluit bij een onderdeel van onze reeks Memory Machine – We Are What We Remember.

De aftrap is geschreven door Dirk van Weelden; ‘Familieverhalen’ verwijzende naar de tentoonstelling Family Affair die nog tot en met zaterdag 28 Februari 2015 is te bezoeken. DvW: “Familie als interface tussen geschiedenis en individu“.

In 2015 zal De Gids een mini-essay van de hand van telkens een andere Nederlandse auteur plaatsen in deze nieuwe reeks DEGEHEUGENMACHINE. De volgende ‘De Gids’ verschijnt op 16 April a.s.

Voor niet abonnees; afzonderlijke artikelen uit ‘De Gids’ zijn te downloaden via BLENDLE, voor ‘Familieverhalen’ van Dirk van Weelden zie:

De Gids_Familieverhalen

De Gids Familieverhalen Februari 2015

De Gids verschijnt sinds 1837 en is in jaargang 178 beland, afgelopen week verscheen nummer 1. in 2015.

Conflicting Memories: Ukraine – 26 February 2015

12_conflicting memoriesPRESS RELEASE

Conflicting Memories: Ukraine

– a political crisis from a cultural perspective

Amsterdam, 17th February 2015

The EU and Russia are really living in different worlds and the competition is to demonstrate which of this worlds is the real one,” – says Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia. Being the expert in politics of Eastern Europe, Krastev will lead the discussion ‘Conflicting Memories’ with Ukrainian activists and cultural thinkers on 26th of February:

–          Vasyl Cherepanyn, Visual Culture Research Centre, Kyiv,

–          Yevhen Hlibovitsky, Pro Mova, Lviv

–          Mykhailo Glybokyi, Izolyatsia, Platform for Cultural Initiatives

The event will take place at:

Castrum Peregrini, Herengracht 401, entrance Beulingstraat on

Thursday, 26th of February at 19:30 hrs.

In old Slavic language ‘Ukraine’ literally means ‘borderlands’, ‘by the border’, symbolic for the country bordering Russia and the EU. But is it an origin for the separatist actions and recent armed conflict? A blurring border on the East of Ukraine is a warning signal for the whole geo-political climate on the post-soviet territory. Looking from the cultural perspective, panelists will debate upon clashing cultural references of the Ukrainian identity, which created the ground for the on-going conflict.

No matter what Kremlin’s agenda is, Ukraine is the most logical spot for the first manoeuvre. This discussion is a great chance to hear a life debate on insider beliefs of Ukraine from both East- and West-Ukrainian perspectives, not shadowed by the media. Cultural and political activists, Vasyl Cherepanyn, Yevhen Hlibovitsky, Mykhailo Glybokyi, are going to give an impulse presentation on their view of the current conflict. The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion, opened for the audience.

Conflicting memories: Ukraine. A political crises from a cultural perspective takes place within the Memory Machine – We Are What We Remember programme of Castrum Peregrini and is established in close cooperation with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF).

On March 31st, Vasyl Cherepanyn will be honoured with the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture for the outstanding work at Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv). The ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture Award is a platform for showing those whose creative work can truly make a difference to Europe’s varied societies, underlining ECF’s belief that social and political change requires artistic and cultural engagement. The Award was launched in 2007 in honour of ECF’s former President, HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and now annually given to European artists, intellectuals and activistsThe prestigious award includes prize money of 25,000 euros per laureate:

Castrum Peregrini’s programme Memory Machine – We Are What We Remember about our memory and what it says about who we are: as an individual and as a group, about how collective memory is formed, influenced and eroded. For the full programme, see:

Short Bio’s of the speakers:

Ivan Krastev (1965), is the Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, and permanent fellow at the IWM Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the advisory board of the ERSTE Foundation. He is also associate editor of Europe’s World and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy and journal Transit – Europäische Revue. He was ranked in the 2008 Top 100 Public Intellectuals Foreign Policy/Prospect List. Since 2004, he has been the executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans. He is a co-author with Steven Holmes of a forthcoming book on Russian politics. see also:

Vasyl Cherepanyn (1980), Kiev is founder and chair of the Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC)миколаріднийукриття/. The VCRC is nominated for the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture, March 31st 2015 in Bozar Brussels. more information: Cherepanyn did a PhD in cultural studies department National University of Kyiv / Mohyle Academy. Vasyl Cherepanyn is an activist, artist and teacher at university.

Yevhen Hlibovytsky, (1976), is a founder of pro.mova, an independent think tank that conducts research on cultural values in the post-Soviet countries and inside Ukraine. His educational background is in political science, professional background (until 2005) in political journalism. This year he was involved in the establishment of the station HromadskeTV, a prototype of Public Service Broadcast in Ukraine. He is a lecturer at the UkrainianCatholicUniversity in Lviv and Kyiv-Mohyla

Mykhailo Glybokyi (1986 Donetsk)


The event will take place at:

Castrum Peregrini, Herengracht 401, entrance Beulingstraat on

Thursday, 26th of February at 19:30 hrs.

Entrance 5 euro; students 3 euro;

r.s.v.p. E:


Note, not for publication:

More information, pictures etc. please contact

Frans Damman, Castrum Peregrini, 020- 6235287,

Rosa Koenen, communicatie ECF 020- 5733868,



Click here for pictures, podcast and more

Talks to Remember 3: Avrum Burg

Avrum Burgs speech

at the opening of

the exhibition

Family Affairs

and a little indtroduction by Lars Ebert

Exhibition: Family Affair

Family Affair

Avraham Burg, author and former speaker of the Knesset, opened the exhibition FAMLIY AFFAIR with a lecture on 22 January 2015 at Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam. The exhibition with photographs by Reli Avrahami and texts by Avner Avrahami showcases how inclusive a society can be, how the human level overcomes divisions.

An exhibition curated by Galia Zur Geev and produced by Jüdisches Museum Hohenems.



The exhibition was on show until 28 February 2015.

For ten years, Reli Avrahami and Avner Avrahami have wandered throughout Israel, photographing hundreds of families and questioning them about their daily lives, about their  dreams and beliefs, their origins and their relations. Their portraits appeared  week by week Haaretz becoming a routine for Israeli readers that encountered a variety of people through a colourful photograph and a very personal text. The traces of tensions in the Israeli society, national and religious, social, political or ethnic, are visible in the ambience of everyday life, in the environment of living rooms and family stories of those born in the country or immigrated, Jews and Arabs, Muslims, and Christians, coming from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Of the hundreds of families and their stories, about 80 were selected for this exhibition and a few new portraits have been especially produced of families from Amsterdam.

Family Affair is part of Castrum Peregrini’s programme Memory Machine. We are what we remember about our memory and what it says about who we are: as an individual and as a group, about how collective memory is formed, influenced and eroded. For the full programme, see:

About the artists and the curator:

Reli Avrahami is photographer. She was born in Israel in 1960. She works and lives in Israel. On 6th January 2015, Reli received the prestigious Enrike Kablin Award in photography for her oeuvre:  “The portraits and families photos of Reli Avrahami are carved in the Israeli collective memory and accompany the view of the Israeli society of itself. The photographer-artist, active since the mid-80’s, is counted with the elite journalism photographers in Israel. She puts in front of her camera people and faces from every social class, age, sex and origin, and captures them with persistent loyalty to her esthetical agenda. … For her commitment to social photography in Israel and her contribution to the status of photography in the public consciousness and conversation, the Kablin award for her oeuvre is given to her.”  Together with her husband author and journalist Avner Avrahami, who wrote the texts accompanying her portraits, she is a columnist for several Israeli newspapers.

Galia Gur Zeev is photographer and curator. She was co-founder of the Limbus-Place For Photography in Tel Aviv. From 1992 till 2009 she was the director and curator of this institution.

About the opening speaker:Avraham Burg

Avraham Burg (1955), is an Israeli author and politician; he was formerly a member of the Knesset, a chairman of the Jewish Agency of Israel and a Speaker of the Knesset. Burg was Labor Party when a member of the Knesset. In January 2015 Avraham Burg announced that he has joined Hadash – the democratic front for peace and equality for Jews and Arabs.

מצב משפחתי

lazar – Reli Avrahami

מצב משפחתי

Kurbashi_Reli Avrahami

מצב משפחתי

Agmor_Reli Avrahami













The exhibition was made possible with the support of:

Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, KUNSTENISRAËL, Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und
Äußeres, Wien and the Embassy of Israël in the Netherlands.

For more information, images or interview possibilities with the artists, the curator or Avraham Burg,

please contact Frans Damman at  or +31 20 6235287


Mijn laatste herinnering


Deze column is gepubliceerd in Memory Machine.


Art for Memory PCF

Lecture Conversation

Art for Memory

7 december, 19 uur

  7__Art_for_memoryAdmission: 5 euro; students 3 euro; supporters Castrum Peregrini free RSVP at Language English

The evening is a collaboration with the Prince Claus Fund and is part of Culture in Action: Prince Claus Awards Week

Karen Bernedo and Orestes Bermudez Rojas will present their work and enter into a conversation with N.N.  about the role of art in collective memory processes.

Moderator: Renée Turner, director Piet Zwart Institute

PCF_logo_txt_English_black (1)Karen Bernedo Morales is an independent curator and researcher. She is the director of Virtual Museum of Arts and Politica Violence and Member and co-founder of Itinerant Museum of Art for Memory.

Orestes Bermudez Rojas is a visual artist and a member an co-foundator of Itinerant Museum Art for Memory.

Itinerant Museum of Art for Memory –Museo Itinerante de Arte por la Memoria-, is one of the initiatives receiving the prestigious 2014 Prince Claus Award.


Hans Keilson – Schrijven dat uit leven voortkomt

Programma ‘Dagboek 1944’ van Hans Keilson



Dinsdag 18 november, 20uur


Een avond rond het herontdekte ‘Dagboek 1944’ van Hans Keilson. Recent verschenen in Nederlandse vertaling.

Met: – Opening Castrum Peregrini, –  Interview Marita Keilson door Xandra Schutte (Groene Amsterdammer), –  Lezing Jaap Cohen (onderzoeker NIOD), –  Jos Versteegen leest door hem vertaalde sonnetten  van Hans Keilson

Toegang vrij, RSVP E:

Deze avond komt tot stand i.s.m. Uitgeverij Van Gennep





Maxim Leo Haltet euer Herz bereit


Maxim Leo Haltet euer Herz bereit

14 November, 20u

Eine ostdeutsche Familiengeschichte Michel Krielaars interviewt Maxim Leo Vrijdag 14 november, 20:00 uur Goethe-Institut, Herengracht 470, Amsterdam

Toegang: € 5; met korting: € 3; studenten: gratis voertaal: Duits Een samenwerking van Uitgeverij Cossee, Goethe-Institut Niederlande en Castrum Peregrini

Rosi Braidotti – 3 November 2014

Talks To Remember

Rosi Braidotti

3 november 2014, 20 uur .

5_Talks-to-remember_Rosa_BraidottiThe nomadic subject: memory and imagination

In het kader van haar jaarthema memory machine organiseert stichting Castrum Peregrini lezingen waarin toonaangevende internationale denkers over collectieve herinnering en identiteit spreken. Op 1 oktober vindt de eerste aflevering plaats. Entrée 7 euro; studenten 5 euro; jaarvrienden gratis RSVP at The evening is a collaboration with the Centre for Humanities, University of Utrecht

The tekst of the lecture by Rosi Braidotti will be published on this page, soon.


Iris van der Tuin en Rosi Braidotti bij Castrum Peregrini



Magazine Memory Machine

Memory Machine

Tijdschrift over ons cultureel geheugen en identiteit bij de gelijknamige programmareeks

mmmZaterdag 1 november verscheen het magazine Memory Machine, 56 pagina’s vol artikelen over onze identiteit en het cultureel geheugen. Uitgever Castrum Peregrini vroeg zanger/schrijver Rick de Leeuw vijf bekende Nederlanders te interviewen over welke plek bepalend is geweest voor hun identiteit. En er is een verrassende kijk op iconische fotobeelden die ons collectief gedachtengoed bepaald hebben. Het blad verschijnt als éénmalige bijlage van Het Parool.

Het magazine is onderdeel van het langlopende programma Memory Machine. We are what we remember, georganiseerd door Castrum Peregrini, centrum voor denken, debat en cultuur, samen met een aantal partnerinstellingen. Ons cultureel geheugen en de relatie die dat heeft met wie wij zijn, staat centraal in dit programma vol tentoonstellingen, debat, toneel, documentaires, radio en publicaties.

Je bent wat je je herinnert: identiteit hangt  nauw samen met wat zich in ons geheugen heeft genesteld. De politieke turbulentie van vandaag is onlosmakelijk verbonden aan vragen rondom onze identiteit en onze collectieve waardes: van de Oekraïne, Syrië, Noord-Irak  tot aan Zwarte Piet en de verlokking van het jihadisme bij jongeren. Bij wie ben je thuis, waar voel je je veilig?

Het tijdschrift Memory Machine zoomt in op ons vermogen om te herinneren, maar ook om te vergeten. Verslaggevers gaan op zoek naar de vraag: Wat is er leuk aan een reünie? Hoe maken politici slim gebruik van onze trots over collectieve waardes en wat betekenen social media voor de identiteit van jongeren vandaag? Dichter Maria Barnas tot slot, tekent de stad zoals zij zich hem herinnert: een droomroute langs liefdes, eerste baantjes, Theo van Gogh en getroebleerde dichters.

Het nummer Memory Machine is los verkrijgbaar bij Castrum Peregrini, of als download hier.

Forms of Forgetting

Aleida Assmann

Forms of Forgetting

The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences has awarded Prof. Assmann the 2014 Dr. A.H. Heinekenprijs for historical sciences. This text is her public lecture which she held for the occasion at Castrum Peregrini on 1 October.


amnorman-2815With the recent boom of the study of social and cultural memory, we have come to believe that remembering is something culturally valid and that there is even an ethical imperative of remembering. This point has been stressed by Jan Philipp Reemtsma who argues that

“We live with the consensus that we need to remember and that we must fight forgetting. (…) But what should be positive about remembering? Remembering and forgetting are human capacities that are neither positive nor negative per se, but are both needed for coping with life.“[1]

There is, indeed, no intrinsic reason why remembering should be given precedence over forgetting. The meaning and value of forgetting solely depends on the social and cultural frames within which it is constructed. For this reason, I will focus in my contribution on some of these frames, analyzing the dynamics of remembering and forgetting in specific socio-historical contexts, analyzing ‘seven types of forgetting’, hoping to thereby gain a deeper insight into its modes of functioning.


1. Automatic forgetting material, biological, technical- and its limit

Let me start with the observation of a basic asymmetry: not remembering, but forgetting is the default mode of humans and societies. Remembering is negation of and resistance to forgetting, usually involving a will and effort, a veto against the destructive power of time. Just like the cells in an organism, the objects, ideas and individuals of a society are periodically replaced. This slow process of (ex)change is considered natural and does not raise any alarm. Forgetting happens silently, inconspicuously and ubiquitously, while remembering is the unlikely exception from the rule, requiring conscious efforts and specific framework.

Generally speaking, it is only a minimal part of what has been experienced, communicated and produced that actually outlasts a human life and is handed on to future generations. A photo, a necklace, a piece of furniture, a proverb, a recipe, an anecdote – that is, at most – what grandchildren retain from the lives of their grandparents. In families whose homes were bombed during the war, who were forced to flee or just moved frequently, material remains are unlikely to accumulate.  Nor are the remains stored in cellars or attics likely to survive much longer; sooner or later they also end up in containers and heaps of rubbish. Individuals may be strongly affected by this ongoing destruction of material remains, but from the perspective of the society as a whole these everyday occurrences are perfectly normal and healthy, evolving smoothly and automatically,  attracting no attention whatsoever.

Two motors of forgetting are involved in this silent process. Social forgetting in the bio-rhythm of generational change depends on devaluating and dismissing the experiences of an older generation by a younger generation. In the modern time regime of Western societies, each new generation is eager to create its own defining memories, values and projects by means of which it aims to usurp the place of the former. The other powerful motor of continuous forgetting is disposal of material waste. The force of generational change and the economic acceleration of mass production are not naturally given universals, but consequences of the time regime of modernity in Western societies with its strong emphasis on technical and economic innovation. It is the flip side of this innovation is that commercial products have to be replaced in ever shorter intervals. This form of forgetting consists in the routinized replacement of the old by the new, which is an unchallenged and constituent part of cultural evolution in the domains of science, technology and economy. At the dawn of the industrial revolution in the 19th century, the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson analyzed this process of modernization as a dynamics of innovation and obsolescence. He identified destruction and forgetting as two powerful factors of progress. In order to create something new, he claimed, many things have to disappear “in the inevitable pit which the creation of new thought opens for all that is old”.[2] In an influential essay published in 1841, Emerson enthusiastically described the modern time regime as driven by an irreversible and inexorable ‘fury of disappearance’[3]

“The Greek letters last a little longer, but are passing under the same sentence, and tumbling into the inevitable pit which the creation of new thought opens for all that is old.  The new continents are built out of the ruins of an old planet: the new races fed out of the decomposition of the foregoing.  New arts destroy the old.  See the investment of capital in aqueducts made useless by hydraulics; fortifications, by gunpowder; roads and canals, by railways; sails, by steam, by electricity.” [4]

As a strong supporter of evolution, progress and modernization, Emerson also became an advocate of forgetting. He testified to an exclusive orientation towards the future and described himself as “an endless seeker with no past at my back” (304). The emphatic orientation towards the future automatically withdraws value and attention from the past. As long as the future is the central resource for hope and progress, remembering the past must appear as an obstinate, backward and even pathological deviation from the norm. The limits and problems of this position become obvious as soon as we are dealing with a traumatic past. In 1918, for instance, the American poet Carl Sandburg wrote a poem about the great battlefields of the 19th and 20th century, from the perspective of the grass:[5]

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.

Shovel them under and let me work –

I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg

And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.

Shovel them under and let me work.

Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:

What place is this?

Where are we now?

I am the grass. Let me work.

The cynical tone of the poem suggests that smooth transformation of history into ‘nature’ is unacceptable where human violence, suffering and massive losses are involved. It becomes even more scandalous if it plays into the hands of perpetrators who profit from automatic forgetting in the passage of time. In W.G. Sebald’s novel Austerlitz there is a passage in which he narrator muses

“how little is it that we can keep and hold fast in our memory, how much and how many things continuously slip into forgetting with every extinguished life, how does the world as it were empties itself out, shedding all the stories, that had been connected to innumerable places and objects, which are no longer heard, recorded or transmitted.”[6]

This quotation sounds like an accurate description of inevitable automatic forgetting: after each generation the world, as it were, empties itself spontaneously and stories and memories irrevocably disappear along with the deceased. This, however, is not what the Sebald’s narrator has in mind in this passage. The narrator, in this case, muses about the loss of stories connected to very particular traumatic places: the fortresses of Breendonk and Terezín, which the Nazis turned into a prison and a Jewish Ghetto. If we replace natural death with torture and murder, the context is drastically changed. In light of the suffering of the victims, the automatism of forgetting becomes morally scandalous. In order to separate himself from complicit forgetting, Sebald’s narrator returns to these places of trauma, searching for traces of a lost past and trying to recollect and remember some of the innumerable stories attached to objects and places in order to recover, acknowledge and transmit these stories. The grass of forgetting is not selective – it grows anywhere. Humans, on the other hand, are able to choose between forgetting and remembering which can involve an ethical decision, mobilizing cultural efforts to rescue historical experience from the general pit into which the past always tends to disappear.


2. Preservative forgetting – the entry into the archive  

Let us now focus on the unlikely case of something being retained and extracted from the ongoing stream of time and forgetting. Collectors and visitors of flea markets are agents of delay; they protect specific objects from decay by integrating them into their collections. The human urge to attach value to objects and to collect them is the foundation of many a library, gallery or museum. But it is only when the collection is given the protective roof of an institution, that an object has the solid chance of an extended existence. Institutions providing such a social guarantee for preservation include the archive, the library and the museum. Historical archives have evolved rather recently; they were introduced at the time of the French Revolution and have become a stronghold of Western democracies and historical thinking. The historical archive must not be confused with its predecessors, which it has supplanted but not annihilated: the political archives of the state, the church and other institutions of power. While these archives were used as instruments of claiming prestige, establishing legitimation and exerting power, historical archives are intended to serve the commonality: They preserve documents and relicts of the past that have lost their immediate function in the present. It is this form of maintaining elements of the past, cut off from immediate use, that I here refer to as ‘preservative forgetting’.[7] Material preservation of what was once thought or done makes possible its reentry into cultural memory. In this way, the archive creates a space of latency between passive forgetting and active remembering.

It is well known that Nietzsche slandered this institution of the historical archive with his scathing polemic, denouncing the mere storage and accumulation of historical knowledge as a dangerous burden for individual, society and culture. Intentionally or unintentionally, Nietzsche is invoked whenever the problem of data accumulation is addressed in terms of a ‘threatening flood of information’ that is uprooting the sense of identity and orientation. In modern societies, this overload of knowledge production cannot be solved by operations of deleting information, but only with the help of individually applied criteria of selection that separate the relevant from the irrelevant. While the media focus attention and highlight a certain canon of cultural products, it must be emphasized that individuals in Western democracies are no longer told what to remember and what to forget, but are encouraged to make their own choices and develop their own criteria for selection.

But of course they never do this in a void. Humans live in the ‘semiosphere’ (or semiotic ecosystem) of a culture that over a long-term period has gradually established a massive framework for remembering and forgetting. Cultural memory in Western societies relies on a dynamic exchange between two institutions, which I refer to as the canon and the archive. The canon here stands for a small number of cultural messages that are addressed to posterity and intended for continuous repetition and re-actualization. This active form of memory includes sacred texts of religion, important historical events and eminent works of art that future generations – to put it in the words of John Milton – “will not willingly let die”.[8] At the other end of the spectrum, there is the archive, a storehouse for cultural relicts. These relicts have become de-contextualized and disconnected from those frames, which had formerly authorized them or determined their meaning. Through this de-contextualization, these messages have lost their immediate addressees as well as their direct meaning and function. They are, however, not forgotten and thrown away. Instead, they are seen as a source of historical information and are therefore preserved for re-inspection.[9] As part of the archive, these documents exist in a state of latency or transitory forgetfulness, waiting to be rediscovered as fragments of relevant information, to be placed into new contexts and to be charged with new meaning through acts of interpretation. The archive provides the basis on which future historians will be able to reconstruct a past that was once the present.


3. Selective Forgetting – the power of framing

Not only the dynamics of cultural memory but also the dynamics of individual remembering are hinged on processes of selection. While storage space can be infinitely extended and supplemented, memory space remains a rare resource. While the external storage space of computers is growing exponentially, our brains will have to go on working on the more or less limited and invariant basis of their biological infrastructure. This accounts for the huge difference between storing and remembering: while storing provides a device against forgetting, remembering is always a co-product of remembering and forgetting. For this reason, all processes of remembering include various shades of forgetting such as neglecting, overlooking, ignoring. In other words: the gaps created by forgetting are an integral part of remembering, providing its contours.

What, then, are the selection criteria of the economy of memory? How is the relevant separated from the irrelevant, what is to be included or excluded? Nietzsche recommended forgetting from both a practical and moral point of view. To start with the practical perspective:  for him it is the aim of the ‘man of action’ to bring memory under the control of his will.  Men of action were admired by Nietzsche and Bergson for their capacity to call up only a small segment of relevant memories, which can serve as a motivational impetus towards an intended goal. Everything that cannot be used to achieve this goal has to be “forgotten,” as Nietzsche put it. [10] Today’s cognition psychologists speak of the ‘executive function’, emphasizing the cognitive capacity of ignoring all irrelevant associations in situations of processing information, decision-making and acting.[11] The following sentence in Nietzsche’s text shows that the cognitive and moral dimensions are not always easily separable: “Cheerfulness, a clear conscience, joyful action, trust in the future – all of that depends, in the individual as in a nation, on a line that divides the visible and bright from that which is dark and beyond illumination.”[12] The moral perspective comes to the fore in a famous aphorism, in which Nietzsche shows how memory can become the accomplice of forgetting. In this process, moral issues of guilt and responsibility are glossed over by the stronger socio-psychological norm of face-saving:

“I have done this, says my memory.

I cannot have done this says my pride and stays adamant.

Finally, memory gives in.”[13]

In contrast to Freud who developed a theory of repression, Nietzsche worked on an apology for forgetting which he considered to be an anthropological necessity. He legitimized forgetting from the point of view of the strong male ideal of a person who has to act, wield power and muster courage. All of these acts are based on a positive and confident self-image. Maurice Halbwachs transferred these selection criteria from a socio-psychological to a sociological level. He introduced the concept of ‘social frames’ into memory studies, emphasizing the fact that such selection criteria are in fact not defined ad hoc by individuals themselves but are imposed on them by the groups to which they belong.[14] It is thus the desire to belong that regulates the interaction between remembering and forgetting. Each social frame necessarily excludes a whole spectrum of memories which are either considered not relevant or not acceptable from the point of view of the group. It is only when one memory frame is replaced by another that excluded memories have a chance of being re-appropriated by the group (the same holds true for paradigm shifts in the sciences).[15]

In order to better understand current memory politics, we need to combine Halbwachs, who introduced the notion of social frames, with Nietzsche, who added a psychological dimension to the group-specific memories. National memory is usually organized by collective pride, which means that memories of guilt and responsibility have great difficulty entering the historical conscience and consciousness of a society. Next to pride – and this was not yet anticipated by Nietzsche – suffering has also gained a high priority in the construction of national memory. For a long time, West-German post war memory was selectively focused on the suffering of Germans. It took four decades to move from the Germans as victims to the victims of the Germans.[16] One memory frame functioned as a ‘shield’ eclipsing the other: if the national focus is on victimhood this makes it virtually impossible to also accept responsibility for historical crimes. The problem with national narratives is not so much ‘false memory’ but extremely selective and exclusive memory frames. It was only in the 1990s that we could witness a shift in the construction of national memories, moving from purely self-serving narratives to more complex configurations that also integrate negative and shameful aspects into the collective self-image. An obvious new feature of this shift is the ritual of public apologies, which has introduced world wide a new politics of accountability and regret. Rooted in human rights, it is designed to focus not only on a nation’s own suffering but acknowledges and integrates also ones victims into the national memory.


4. Damnatio memoriae – repressive forms of forgetting

In the case of damnatio memoriae forgetting takes on the form of punishment. If a culture values fame and notoriety, considering it a blessing to live on in the memory of posterity, the eradication of a name and other traces of an individual life is considered a serious punishment. In such a culture, ‘mnemocide’, the killing of a person’s memory, is inflicted as a symbolic destruction on an enemy who has fallen from favour. Many cultures share the Egyptian conviction that “a man lives if his name is being mentioned.”[17] Those whose names were erased from the annals or chiseled off from monuments are doomed to die a second death. This form of forgetting, however, is not always practicable, as it provides an instance of what Umberto Eco has described as a general paradox of intentional forgetting: you cannot erase something without at the same time highlighting it and directing attention to what is being rendered invisible.

Historical archives as part of a democratic culture that protects and values the alterity of the past in its own right are a recent institution dating back no later than the French Revolution. Political archives, on the other hand, housing the secret archive of the state as instrument of power and violence, have a much longer history continuing into the present. As long as archives remain sealed, past crimes cannot be historically investigated, as, for instance, the genocide perpetrated on the Armenians. In such a case the victims of violence are bereft of the right to their history. Such repressive forgetting and total control over the past are the topic of George Orwell’s novel 1984.The famous motto of the novel’s fictive state is:

‘Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past.’[18]

Orwell’s text features an archivist whose job it is to constantly adapt the knowledge of the past to the demands of the present. Making the past disappear, however, is a very hard job. Orwell focuses on the enormous efforts that go into this form repressive forgetting. The strategies of manipulating and distorting the truth include the constant rewriting of documents, the retouching of photographs, as well as more casual forms of denial, such as hushing things up, lying and dissimulation. Though highlighted in a novel, these practices are for from being fictive. A famous historical example for such dissimulation is the film commissioned by the SS in 1944, presenting Theresienstadt, a Nazi ghetto for Jewish victims, as an ideal kibbuz. This film was created as an intentional deception to mislead the world about the repressive and lethal conditions of this ghetto. In this deception the genre of the ‘documentary’ was chosen to depict the ‘reality’ of the ghetto, creating the cynical illusion of an idyll. The cynicism of such repressive forgetting found a climax already in the 1930s with Hitler’ question: “Who today still remembers the Armenians?” Like the genocide of the Armenians that occurred under cover of the First World War, the genocide of the Jews occurred under cover of the Second World War and was meant to be forgotten. 

Repressive forgetting can also be enforced less directly through forms of ‘structural violence’ (Johan Galtung). In patriarchal societies, women had little or no access to writing and printing, which has led to their effective exclusion from archives and libraries. The following quotation comes not from the iconic essay A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1928) but from a novel by Jane Austen published in 1817. In Persuasion, the female protagonist remarks: “Men have every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands.”[19] The same holds true for religious or racial minorities and other oppressed social groups. ‘Structural violence’ creates a cultural frame of power that allows some voices to be heard while others are notoriously silenced. Chakravorty Spivak’s essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” is an icon of postcolonial discourse; it shows how difficult it is for some members of society to claim a ‘voice’. Both the African Americans in the U.S.A. and the indigenous populations of colonial countries had similar experiences of an eradication and denial of their ‘history’. Groups that never had a chance to express themselves in writing and who are not equipped with documents collected in archives used to be considered as “void of history” in a Western perspective. Judged against the background of this normative standard, such ‘historical silence’ is today recognized as a manifestation of repressive forgetting. In order to break the silence and restore what has been forgotten to the realm of language and communication, both the structure of power and the cultural frames have to be changed. 


5. Defensive and complicit forgetting (protection of perpetrators)

As soon as it becomes obvious that the system of power protecting them is about to collapse, perpetrators of dictatorships and autocratic regimes engage in acts of destroying relics and erasing traces to cover up practices that will henceforth be classified as crimes. Towards the end of the war, the Nazi officials hastily destroyed archival documents of the mass murder of European Jews and material traces of the sites of theses crimes.[20] After 1945, high Nazi functionaries changed their names and identities to escape legal prosecution. It is estimated that up to 80.000 persons chose this under cover existence in post war Germany.[21] While still in power, perpetrators can rely on their laws to guarantee them impunity; but when the legal system changes, they protest against a retrospective application of the new law, opting for amnesty and amnesia. In Argentina, the military junta destroyed all documents of their regime of violence before transitioning to democracy in 1976, and in 1990, the functionaries of the South African Apartheid regime destroyed tons of archival material in the same situation, eliminating potential evidence to be used against them at court. Before the end of the Second World War, seven million membership cards of the NSDAP were brought to a paper-mill near Munich for immediate shredding. They were forgotten, however, in the last chaotic weeks of the war, and later confiscated by the American occupation army. Today they are preserved in the Berlin Document Center, where historians discovered them in 2003. Almost seventy years later, these cards ‘reminded’ a generation of prominent German intellectuals of their NSDAP–membership.[22]

Complicit silence also protects the perpetrators. The most conspicuous example publicly discussed in Germany throughout the year 2010 concerned the charges of sexual abuse brought against the institution of private schools and the Catholic Church. Charges had been made by the victims before, but the information was not passed on but hushed up in order to protect the officials and the respective institution. Those responsible reacted invariably by trivializing, postponing or ignoring the charges. They were confident that by turning a blind eye, this shameful problem could be made to automatically disappear. Taboos preserve a social status quo by exerting a strong conformist pressure. In addition, complicit forgetting is reinforced by the pressure of social taboos; it involves three forms of silence which mutually reinforce each other:

– defensive silence on the part of the perpetrators

– symptomatic silence on the part of the victims and

– complicit silence on the part of society.

When these three forms of silence reinforce each other, crimes can remain concealed for a long time. Nothing will really change as long as the victims are the only ones ready to break their silence and to claim their rights. It is the collective will of society alone which can change the situation and turn the tables. Only then will the testimony of the witnesses be heard and supported by the public media. In a similar way a change of values connected with the introduction of a new political notion of human rights in the 1980s created a new sensibility for the suffering of the victims of such traumatic histories of violence like the Holocaust, slavery, colonialism and dictatorships. After this global change of orientation, the response of the population was transformed from a protection shield for the perpetrators to a sounding board for the victims.


6. Constructive forgetting – tabula rasa for a new political biographical beginning

But forgetting is ambivalent and we must not forget its merits. Among those who The German poet Bertolt Brecht who wrote a poem “In Praise of Forgetting”. It ends with the following lines:

The weakness of memory is the source of human strentgh

(Die Schwäche des Gedächtnisses Verleiht den Menschen Stärke. )[23]

How otherwise could humans, bent down by experience and suffering as they are, ever find the courage to begin anew and to fight their daily battles against repressive conditions? Friedrich Nietzsche was also convinced that without forgetting, humans were unable to live a happy life and to face the challenge of the future: “Cheerfulness, a good conscience, the happy deed, trust in what is to come – all of this depends in the individual as in the nation on a clear line dividing the ordered and clear from the intransparent and dark.”[24] In contrast to repressive forgetting, which supports and maintains power, there is also a hopeful and constructive type of forgetting which supports a break and lays the ground for a new beginning. We can observe that in states that have undergone a political change, many things are speedily forgotten. The demolition of Lenin Statues and the changing of street names after the fall of the Berlin Wall are notorious examples. After the collapse of the GDR, history teachers asked their pupils to tear whole chapters form their textbooks in a spectacular collective act of organized forgetting. Jana Simon recalled such a scene of creating a tabula rasa in her memory novel:

“There is no place where they could retrace their childhood. Most of the clubs of their youth were closed, some of them, even the PW was burnt down, the streets had new names, as well as the schools. The furniture in their parents’ apartments had been exchanged, their houses were renovated, the products of their childhood (…) it was all gone. Their old schoolbooks lay in a heap besides the dustbins, books about the history of the proletariat parts of which they had had to memorize. The ‘rooms of tradition’ in their schools, the ‘groves of honor’, in which the senseless pledges of allegiance to the flag had taken place, all disappeared in memory.”[25]

… or, rather, in the great pit which the creation of a new state opens up for all that is old, to pick up Emerson’s phrase quoted above. In this case, however, we are dealing with a different form of forgetting; it is not caused by the driving force of modern technical innovation (Nr. 1), or instigated by a desire to efface traces in order to escape accountability (Nr. 5); rather, this form of forgetting is created by the strong desire to start over and to effectively adapt to new conditions.

In a recent book on forgetting Christian Meier reminded his readers of this positive and empowering quality of forgetting. He referred to historical cases when after civil wars forgetting was imposed as a means of ending wars and overcoming traumatic violence.[26] With his book he wanted to question a conventional argument that poses remembering as inherently beneficial. But in fact the opposite is closer to the truth, Meier argues, as remembering can perpetuate destructive energies by maintaining hatred and revenge, while forgetting can put an end to conflict and thus appease opposing parties. While it does not possess the power to prescribe individual remembering or forgetting, the state can pass laws that punish public discourse which re-opens old wounds by mobilizing old resentments and aggressions. Such laws of forgetting were frequently passed to end civil wars; examples for this practice include the Athenian polis after the Peleponnesian War, the edict of Nantes in 1598 and in the peace treaty of Münster-Osnabrück in 1648. In these cases, legislation imposing forgetting indeed promoted a political and social integration. The most recent example named by Meier is the First World War, which the Germans remembered much too accurately and persistently. This memory was in fact used to fuel the mobilization of Germans for the Second World War. After 1945 it was the weakness of their memory that gave the Germans that had survived the war the strength to start over. The therapy of forgetting was also applied by the former allies to overcome past hatred and to lay the foundation for a new Europe. Here is Winston Churchill’s plea for forgetting that he made in a speech in Zurich in 1946:

“We must all turn our backs upon the horrors of the past.  We must look to the future. We cannot afford to drag forward across the years that are to come the hatreds and revenges, which have sprung from the injuries of the past. If Europe is to be saved from infinite misery, and indeed from final doom, there must be an act of faith in the European family and an act of oblivion against all the crimes and follies of the past.”[27]


7. Therapeutic forgetting – leaving the burden of the past behind

Over the last three decades, constructive forgetting has been rivaled by a new positive form of forgetting, which I call ‘therapeutic forgetting’. On a global scale people could make the experience that traumatic pasts do not simply disappear but return and claim attention, recognition, restitution and remembrance. Forgetting, in this case, was replaced by new efforts at remembering as the preferred strategy.[28]  But, as I want to show, this form of remembering is also connected to forgetting and perhaps even directed towards it.

Therapeutic or transitional ‘remembering in order to forget’ is not a new discovery in Western culture. In the ritual framework of Christian confession, for instance, remembering is the gateway to forgetting: sins have first to be articulated and listed before they can be erased through the absolution of the priest. A similar logic is at work in the artistic concept of ‘catharsis’: through the re-presentation of a painful event on stage, a traumatic past can be collectively re-lived and overcome. According to the theory of Aristotle, the group that undergoes such a process is purged through this shared experience. Forgetting through remembering is essentially also the goal of Freudian psychotherapy: a painful past has to be raised to the level of language and consciousness to enable the patient to move forward and leave that past behind. This was also the aim of staging remembering in South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission designed by Bishop Tutu and Alex Boraine created a new form of public ritual, which combined features of the tribunal, the cathartic drama and the Christian confession. In these public rituals a traumatic event had to be publicly narrated and shared; the victim had to relate his or her experience, which had to be witnessed and acknowledged by the perpetrator before it could be erased from social memory.



I started this survey with the observation of a basic asymmetry: forgetting, we had assumed, is always stronger than remembering because there is no ‘automatic mode of remembering’, which is the reason why ‘the greatest part’ of a former present is always ‘lost’. We had assumed that forgetting does its work silently and automatically, like a servant who is invisible, always on duty and doesn’t need to be paid. We had assumed that forgetting does its work silently and automatically, like a servant who is invisible, always on duty and doesn’t need to be paid. Recently, however, we had a wake up call, reminding us that in the Internet, we can no longer rely on ‘automatic forgetting’. The alarm came about with a judgment of the European Court in May 2014 enforcing ‘a right to be forgotten’, thus answering the demand of individuals to be protected against incriminating personal information by deleting it in the collective memory of the Internet. This new form of legislation made manifest that our new digital technology of writing, storing and circulating has overturned deeply rooted premises of our culture. One commenter has written: „Since the beginning of human history forgetting was the rule and remembering the exception. (…) Due to the invention and dissemination of digital technology forgetting must today be considered as the exception while remembering has become the rule.”[29] Until recently, it was far from clear whether forgetting or remembering took precedence in the information economy of the Internet. There were two theories competing with each other; the first being: „The net forgets nothing” and the second: „what is stored is forgotten“.[30] These contradictory approaches to the Internet teach us that we should not indulge in a technological determinism but rather seek to understand how the new media interact with human demands and their social, cultural and legal frames. The new legal frame answers a human demand in creating a personal protection shield relating to sensitive information that was hitherto within the reach of only very few and is now, in the virtual archive, publicly accessible and indiscriminately circulating. Generalizing, we may say that the Internet has introduced two dramatic changes into our economy of information, knowledge and communication. One is the function of easily storing, preserving and rendering searchable a hitherto unknown mass of data. Andrew Hoskins, specialist for digital memory and editor of the Journal Memory Studies is a proponent of the theory that the Internet forgets nothing (like Freud’s Unconscious, we may add). He has described this change as “the end of decay time”, which is to say that the Internet arrests the flow of time and suspends its erosive effects. The other dramatic change involves the indefinite enlarging of the public realm through radically new possibilities of access to and availability of information. Under these circumstances in which knowing has become a potential within (almost) everybody’s reach, not knowing has to be consciously produced under the auspices of legal supervision.



One thing should have become obvious in my overview, and that is the fact that remembering and forgetting cannot be neatly separated from each other. They interact in different ways, as I tried to show in the different forms of forgetting. Nor are remembering and forgetting inherently good or bad; their quality depends entirely on the uses to which they are put. Looking back at the various social frames and cultural contexts that I have analyzed, we may say that the first three forms of forgetting can be described as morally neutral; they are linked to the inbuilt temporal dynamics of consumer culture and technological innovation, to archival preservation and to the indispensible frames of selection in cognitive processes. Types 4 and 5 carry negative connotations; they show how forgetting is used as a weapon, as a means of maintaining power and as a protective shield for perpetrators. The last two forms of forgetting, on the other hand, have distinctly positive connotations. They represent two forms of marking a break in values and introducing a new beginning. The radical strategy of creating a tabula rasa, however, seems to be more and more given up in favor of a new form of rupture and forgetting. While in the first case, the page is simply turned over, in the second case, the page must be read before it is turned. Therapeutic forgetting thus invokes remembering as its first stage and is thus the result of a memory that has been reworked and processed. And one more general observation: forgetting is not necessarily final: much can be retrieved and reinterpreted after shorter or longer intervals. What can be recovered and used, however, always depends on cultural values inscribed into social frames of selection. As remembering can be re-inscribed into forgetting, remembering is always framed by forgetting. It was Francis Bacon who found a simple and striking image for this complex interaction: ‘When you carry the light into one corner, you darken the rest.’[31]


 [1]  Jan Philipp Reemtsma, Wozu Gedenkstätten? In: Zukunft der Erinnerung. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 25-26 (2010), 3-9; 3.
 [2]  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles, in: Selected Writings, ed. William H. Gilman, New York/ London (1965), 295-306; 296. See also: Paul Connerton, How Modernity Forgets, Cambridge (2009) and Aleida Assmann, Ist die Zeit aus den Fugen? Aufstieg und Niedergang des Zeitregimes der Moderne, Munich: Hanser (2013).
 [3] Konrad Paul Liessmann (ed.), Die Furie des Verschwindens. Über das Schicksal des Alten im Zeitalter des Neuen, Wien (2000).
 [4] Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles, in: Selected Writings, ed. William H. Gilman, New York/ London (1965), 296.
  [5] Carl Sandburg, Grass, in: Luis Untermeyer (ed.), Modern American Poetry, New York (1919), 205.
 [6] W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz, München (2001), 35: “wie wenig wir festhalten können, was alles und wie viel ständig in Vergessenheit gerät, mit jedem ausgelöschten Leben, wie die Welt sich sozusagen von selber ausleert, indem die Geschichten, die an ungezählten Orten und Gegenständen haften, von niemandem je gehört, aufgezeichnet oder weitererzählt werden […].”
 [7] Friedrich Georg Jünger, Gedächtnis und Erinnerung, Frankfurt a.M. (1957), 16-17. Jünger distinguishes between two forms of forgetting: one that is connected with a irreversible loss, and one the is premised on potential recovery. (With Avishai Margalit we dan also refer to these two forms of fortetting as ‚blotting out’ and ‚covering up’). Jünger’s concept of  ‚preservative forgetting’ (Verwahrensvergessen) assumes for the forgotten a state of latency that makes possible its return into the conscious present.
 [8]  John Milton spoke of “an inward prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by labour and intent study (which I take to be my portion in this life) joyn’d with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let die.  The Reason of Church-Government urged against Prelating (1641), Book II, Introduction. xxxx
 [9]  „Objekte können unwillkürliche Erinnerungsvorgänge auslösen, aber vor allem können Funktionen des Erinnerns an Gegenstände und Artefakte gleichsam „ausgelagert“ oder „delegiert“ werden. Dies steigert in der Regel das indivi- duelle wie kollektive Erinnerungsvermögen erheblich, kann aber gleichzeitig zu neuen, erweiterten Formen des Vergessens führen. Zugleich stellen sich damit politische Fragen des Zugangs zu und der Verfügung über die tech- nischen Medien von Erinnern und Vergessen.“ Peter Wehling, Workshop „Vergessen im Internet“ Hamburg, 16./17.1.2014
 [10]  Friedrich Nietzsche, Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben, in: Werke in 3 Bänden, ed. Karl Schlechta, München (1962), vol. 1, xx.
 [11]  D.A. Norman, T. Shallice, Attention to Action. Willed and Automatic Control of Behaviour, in: M.S. Gazzaniga (ed.), Cognitive Neuroscience: a Reader, Oxford (2000), 376-390.
 [12]  Friedrich Nietzsche, Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben, in: Werke in 3 Bänden, ed. Karl Schlechta, München (1962), vol. 1, 214.
 [13]  Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse, in: Sämtliche Werke, ed. Giorgio Colli, Mazzino Montinari, Berlin/ New York (1988), vol. V, 86.
 [14]  Maurice Halbwachs, Das Gedächtnis und seine sozialen Rahmen (1925), Frankfurt a.M. (1992).
 [15] Karl Schlögel writes on forgetting in the context of scientific paradigm shifts: “When such a shift happens, one frame of interpretation has come to an end, is eroded, discarded, and replaced by another one, without leaving a trace of former contestations. One chapter is closed, another one is opened.” Im Raume lesen wir die Zeit. Über Zivilisationsgeschichte und Geopolitik, München (2003), 60.
 [16]  Robert G. Moeller, War Stories. The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany, Berkeley (2001).
 [17]  Jan Assmann, Tod und Jenseits im Alten Ägypten, Munich: Beck (2001), 54.
 [18]  George Orwell, 1984, London (1949), 32.
 [19]  Jane Austen, Persuasion (1817), Mineola, New York: Dover Publications 1997, ch. 23, 174.
 [20]  On the ‘Endlösung’ as a state secret see Georges Didi-Huberman, Bilder trotz allem, München (2007), 35-51 and Dirk Rupnow, Vernichten und Erinnern. Spuren nationalsozialistischer Gedächtnispolitik, Göttingen (2005).
 [21]  This group was referred to proverbially as ‚Braunschweiger’ and ‚U-Boote’ (going under cover). Norbert Frei, „Identitätswechsel, Die ‚Illegalen’ in der Nachkriegszeit“, in: Helmut König et al., Vertuschte Vergangenheit. Der Fall Sshwerte und die NS-Vergangenheit der deutschen Hochschulen, München 1997, 207-222.
 [22]  Tilman Jens, Vatermord. Wider einen Generalverdacht, Gütersloh (2010).
 [23] Bertolt Brecht, Lob der Vergesslichkeit, in: Die Gedichte von Bertolt Brecht in einem Band, Frankfurt a.M. (1999), xxxx.
 [24] Friedrich Nietzsche, Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben, in: Werke in drei Bänden, ed. Karl Schlechta, München (1962), vol. 1, 214
 [25] Jana Simon, Denn wir sind anders. Die Geschichte des Felix S., Berlin (2002), 47-48.
 [26] Christian Meier, Das Gebot zu vergessen und die Unabweisbarkeit des Erinnerns. Vom öffentlichen Umgang mit schlimmer Vergangenheit, München (2010).
 [27] Winston Churchill, Speech to the Academic Youth (1946), in: Randolph S. Churchill, ed., The Sinews of Peace. Post-War Speeches by Winston S. Churchill, London 1948, 200.
 [28]  „Wenn das Ziel darin besteht, der Macht der Vergangenheit zu entkommen, ist die Frage, ob das eher durch Vergessen oder durch Erinnern geschehen kann, noch ganz offen.“ (Helmut König 2008, S. 33)
 [29]  „Seit Beginn der Menschheitsgeschichte war das Vergessen für uns Menschen die Regel und das Erinnern die Ausnahme (…) Aufgrund der weiten Verbreitung digitaler Techniken ist das Vergessen heute zur Ausnahme und das Erinnern zur Regel geworden.“ (Viktor Mayer-Schönberger 2010, S.11)
 [30]  Weinrich Lethe 1997; Osten, Das Veloziferische 2004.
 [31] Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Leaning (1605), „To The King“ IV, 6, in: Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis, London: Oxford University Press 1974, 33.

Museumnacht 2014

Het Verhalenlabyrint

1 November, 19-02 uur

Tickets uitsluitend via Museumnacht Amsterdam.

Castrum Peregrini betekent ‚burcht van de pelgrim’. Het was de schuilnaam van een onderduikadres in het centrum van Amsterdam. Een groep jongeren overleefde er met hulp van onbaatzuchtige vrienden. De kunstenares Gisèle  en de dichter Wolfgang Frommel leerden de jonge onderduikers hoe zij hun geestelijke vrijheid konden behouden door de kunsten.

IMG_1536Ook na de oorlog bleven deze groep en hun vrienden hun leven in het teken van de kunst voeren. Het verhaal van deze stille helden blijft Castrum Peregrini vertellen in hetzelfde huis, op dezelfde plek en met hedendaagse kunstenaars, om vrijheid, vriendschap en cultuur te blijven borgen in de maatschappij waarin we leven. De huidige generatie bewoners wil daarom het historisch onderduikadres en de salons van de kunstenares Gisèle toegankelijk maken voor het publiek.

Tijdens de Museumnacht kun je een route door het huis lopen en er kunstenaars ontmoeten die vandaag met deze plek en zijn rijke geschiedenis werken en gezamenlijk met hen verassende verhalen ontdekken.



1          Ingang

2          Schuif aan tafel met Gable Roelofsen en Teresien Da Silva

3          Bezoek T. Martinus and join his performance Muscle Memory

4          Sightlines een film van Marijn Bax.
………..De maker gaat in gesprek met het publiek.

5          Drie vragen op de Argo met Janina Pigaht

6          Filmfragmenten van Gisèle

7          Amie Dicke toont important-souvnirs (vanaf 22 uur)

8          Tentoonstelling In Search of Lost Time.
…………De curator Ronit Eden spreekt met kunstenaars.

9          Bar en Uitgang




Trial in Pictures


Fotografe Marijn Bax  heeft Participation on Trial gevolgd. Het is een prachtige visuele registratie geworden. Ook de filmregistratie zullen we hier in de toekomst gaan delen.

The Court Artists’ View

140926_CP_banner_participation_on_trial_160x160pxFloris Sollveld by Marijn Bax



Court artist Floris Solleveld combines a sharp analysis, with a dry registration of what he observed during 10 Octobers Participation on Trial.


Memory Machine


A series of exhibitions, debates, performances & publications on cultural memory & identity, initiated by Castrum Peregrini


For the next two years together with many partners from Amsterdam and abroad we want to look at how memory works: private memory and collective memory. We want to look at how memory shapes our culture and our identity and what mechanisms are there to discover when it comes to constructing and deconstructing, using and abusing collective memory and identity. After the year programmes about Freedom (2012) and Friendship (2013) this seems for us a logical next step in exploring the core values of Castrum Peregrini. The history of Castrum Peregrini as a hiding place during World War II and it’s reality since was defined by freedom, friendship and culture. Back then it was a safe house for youngsters that found shelter in a group of friends, constructing a shield of poetry and art that protected them,- not an iron dome but a culture dome so to speak. Gisèle, who organised the shelter and founded Castrum Peregrini, was herself an artist. She died here in her studio last year at the age of a hundred years as the last one of this group. Our house is her visual diary. To us, the current generation taking care of this place, it is obvious that the war in Europe may be over, but that the enemy of culture and the human simply keeps shape shifting. That is why we see memory not as static and dead, but as a living and volatile matter.

Please find the overview of activities in our agenda or on the Memory Machine Facebook Page




Herman van Bostelen


Genootschap Nederland Duitsland

Het Geluid Maastricht

Goethe Institut


Silent Heroes

Museumnacht Amsterdam

Universiteit Utrecht

Jüdisches Museum Hohenems

Ronit Eden

Vincent van Velzen

Reli Avrahami

Prince Claus Fund

Fonds Cultuurparticipatie


Arti et Amicitiae

De Appel


Financially supported by

Mondriaan Fonds

Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

Stichting Democratie en Media


Israeli Embassy


Memory Machine: Aleida Assmann


1 oktober 2014, 20 uur

Aleida Assmann: Forms of Forgetting

Een samenwerking van de Genootschap Nederland Duitsland, Koninklijk Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen (KNAW) en Castrum Peregrini.

In het kader van haar jaarthema memory machine. organiseert stichting Castrum Peregrini lezingen waarin toonaangevende internationale denkers over collectieve herinnering en identiteit spreken. Op 1 oktober vindt de eerste aflevering plaats.

AADe KNAW heeft de Dr. A.H. Heinekenprijs voor Historische Wetenschap 2014 toegekend aan professor Aleida Assmann, hoogleraar Engelse literatuur aan de Universiteit van Konstanz (Duitsland). Prof. Assmann krijgt de prijs voor haar groot, baanbrekend aandeel in het onderzoek naar het ‘culturele geheugen’ van diverse menselijke samenlevingen. Prof. Assmann zal, naar aanleiding van deze onderscheiding,  haar publiekslezing houden bij Castrum Peregrini.

  “ Remembering and forgetting are not necessarily polar opposites; more often than not they are mutually dependent and linked to each other in a dynamic relation. Though it may seem counter-intuitive that forgetting can be willfully achieved through intentional actions, it is an important factor in social dynamics, political processes and cultural practices. The lecture will analyze various form and functions of forgetting in their socio-cultural contexts. It will also ask the question whether the Internet age has introduced a new media situation that has radically changed the ecology of remembering and forgetting.” Aleida Assman:

De tekst van deze lezing is hier gepubliceerd.

De foto’s hieronder (door Adrienne Norman) geven een indruk van het samenzijn voorafgaand aan het publieke gedeelte en de lezing in de tentoonstelling In Search of Lost Time.