In hindsight – Lecture by Chris van der Heijden

Date: 20/11/2019

Time: 19.00 - 21.00

Location: H401

Historians are always right. They describe what once, for contemporaries, was the future. But they know the outcome, that once upon a time future now is the past. Therefore the future of the past contains for historians no longer a riddle. But once it did. Nobody can see through his own times: the fish doesn’t know the water. So there is a double question. One for the contemporaries: how to foresee the consequences of your thoughts and acts? One for the historian: how to understand and to explain without knowing what you know? And it is this double question that puzzles us: how to make sense of these two impossibilities?

Chris van der Heijden is a historian who wrote extensively about the Netherlands and the Second World War. He also wrote a lot about Spanish history and other themes. Recently he published several articles about the recent apology-culture and the many complicated ways in which countries try to reconcile the present and the past. In his conference he will talk about the hindsight dilemmas of the historian and the blindness of the contemporary.


This public lecture will be held in English and is free of charge. Would you like to attend? Please RSVP: with your name(s) and the title of the event.


This evening programme takes place in the framework of SPEME ‘Questioning Traumatic Heritage: Spaces of Memory in Europe, Argentina, Colombia’

During the month of November, all participants of SPEME are staying and researching in Amsterdam. They will be our special guests of the evening! They are connected to the following organisations:

Alma Mater Studiorum – Universität di Bologna, Italy
Universidad Nacional de Colombia / Bogota, Colombia
Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fondazione Recupero e Valorizzazione Della Memoria Storica Del Campo di Fossoli, Italy
Museum de Sitio Esma – Ex Centro Clandestino de Detención, Tortura y Exterminio, Argentina
Universiteit van Amsterdam Memory Studies. The Netherlands
Stichting H401, The Netherlands