Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2014

Cooking up the Low Countries (topic)

Textual and Visual Representations of Culinary Culture in Belgium and the Netherlands (16th-21st century)

According to the prevailing stereotype, Belgian culinary culture is Burgundian and hedonistic in nature, whereas Dutch culinary culture is believed to be rational and frugal. These images are the result of social construction – of representations made in textual and visual sources.

In this first edition of the Amsterdam Symposium we will investigate how such representations were “cooked up”. This will allow us to look further than the clichés concerning Belgian and Dutch culinary culture that still exist today and see what other images were constructed from early modern times until present day. In this way we seek to determine convergences and divergences between Belgium and the Netherlands in this matter.

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Date: Friday, 17 January 2014
Venue: Aula of the University of Amsterdam, Singel 411, 1012 XM Amsterdam


09:00 – 10:00 Registration and coffee
10:00 – 10:10 Welcome and introduction
10:10 – 10:45 Peter ScholliersThe Many Rooms of the House- Fifty Years of Food Historiography
10:45 – 11:45 Panel 1 – Culinary culture and social identity

Eating and drinking situates people socially and culturally in relation to each other. In what ways do food, taste and beverage function as markers of social identity, distinction and status?

11:45 – 13.00 Lunch break
13.00 – 14.00 Panel 2 – Culinary heritage and the shaping of identities

Culinary tradition and heritage –often invented or imagined– contribute to the construction of (national) identities. How does the appropriation of historical cuisines actually contribute to feelings of identity?

14.00 – 15.00 Panel 3 – Food and material culture

Material and technological objects represent, mediate and determine food culture. How have these artefacts influenced and changed the ways of preserving, preparing, cooking and eating food?

15.00 – 15:15 Short break
15:15 – 15:45 Ken AlbalaThe Impact of the Reformation on Cuisine and Food Culture in the Low Countries
15:45 – 16:00 Wrap-up Louise O. Fresco
17:00 – 18:00 Gala of the Cookbook: Awards ceremony
The Gala of the Cookbook continues with a programme at Special Collections UvA.

Call for Papers

Abstract submission is closed.
Accepted abstracts have been notified.


Allard Pierson

The Allard Pierson preserve and maintain the academic heritage of the University of Amsterdam. There are over a thousand sub-collections, comprising rare and valuable books, manuscripts, prints, photographs and much, much more. The collections serve educational and research purposes but are also there for the general public.

Institute of Culture and History, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam
The Institute of Culture and History (ICH) is the largest of the research institutes of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. Its programmes cover the period from classical antiquity until today and its disciplinary branches include archaeology, media studies, musicology, literary studies, memory studies, religious studies, book history, European studies, art history and conservation studies, theatre studies, as well as heritage and history in its many different guises.

Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
FOST is a research group for social and cultural food studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The research group, founded in April 2003, works in collaboration with the Vlaams Centrum voor Volkscultuur, the Institut Européen de l’Histoire de l’Alimentation and the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique.
FOST aims at consolidating the expertise on foodstudies by inviting (foreign) specialists to workshops and colloquia, by operating within networks, by publishing and contemplating about food studies, and by performing new (multidisciplinary) food research.

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2014 has been made possible with the generous support of Amsterdam University Fund, Institute for Culture and History of the University of Amsterdam, the Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) research unit of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Doctoral School of Human Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

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