This analysis is part of the project “Media and History. From cinema to the web. Studying, representing and teaching European history in the digital age”, coordinated by Instituto per la Storia e le Memorie del ‘900 Parri. This analysis has been created by David Groenteman, and edited by Steven Stegers.
The analysis gives an impression of how history is represented on television and on the internet in The Netherlands during a regular week. This approach contrast with the research done for the years 2016 and 2017 when the research included an analysis between the history programs and of the posts on social media on National Remembrance Days and Europe Day, and also compared the news broadcasts on these days. For the current research, Inistituto per la Storia e le Memoire del ‘900 Parri asked EUROCLIO and the partners from Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom to research the way history was presented on TV and online during the week of 9-15 April 2018.
Matching analysis for Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom are available at http://www.e-story.eu/observatory/. The analysis is made possible with the support of the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The week from 9 to 15 April was a relatively normal week for history media in the Netherlands, although some noteworthy events did occur. Besides the Tweets and Facebook comments about the Other Times episode, little controversy passed the media in that week. This week was the National Museum Week, in which many Dutch museums are promoted to show people their general importance. Furthermore, 14 April was the Day of The Hague History. During this event, the city organised activities around 40 cultural heritage institutes and organisations to promote the rich history of The Hague.
The offer of history related television programs in this ordinary week only consisted of 3 shows. All three did not have a viewership above one million views. Hier Zijn de van Rossems was the best watched programme with almost 800,000 viewers. These numbers are provided by Stichting Kijkonderzoek.
|Number of viewers||Name of the program||Time and Date||Channel||Type||Who accounts for the past||Approach|
|794,000||Hier zijn de van rossems||10 April 2018, 20:25 – 21:00||NPO 2||Edutainment||Voice-over/presenters||Analytical|
|162,000||Andere tijden||14 April 2018, 21:25-22:00||NPO 2||Docu||Voice-over/presenter/
|131,000||Nicolaas op oorlogspad||12 April 2018, 20:55-21:45||NPO 3||Docu||Voice-over/presenter||Thematic|
The number of programmes is significantly lower compared to the remembrance days. Below you can find a more detailed description of these programmes. All the programmes are broadcasted during prime time.
Here are the Van Rossems is a Dutch television show featuring the siblings Maarten, Sis, and Vincent Van Rossem. All being a different types of historian, this programme focusses on the history of different Dutch and European cities with the Van Rossem’s often dry and humorous remarks. The first episode aired in February 2015, and the following description is about the fourth episode of season four that takes place in the city of Amersfoort. This episode was broadcast on 10 April 2018 and had 794,000 viewers, which is average for the show.
Different Times is a Dutch television program. It is made by NTR and the VPRO on NPO 2 and deals with historical topics, often on the basis of current events or a specific date in the broadcast week. Most of the time, the people involved look back on an event of the past that is related to the present. The television program started in 1999. On 14 April 2018, the show talked about the troubles of a new neighbourhood in Amsterdam West. The programme started at 21:00 and drew in 162,000 viewers.
For the episode of Andere Tijden (Different Times) a handful of people commented on the topic of the episode. These were mostly about how nothing has changed since the time of the programme.
For example, @QuincyJordaan says: “Just watched #AndereTijden about #overtoomseveld and how it improved! I happened to be there yesterday and you wouldn’t want to be found dead at that place. More diversity???? Yes, now also #Syrians.”
@justtynflow said: “The multi-cultural society is a joke and does not work. In 1998 it sucked and it still doesn’t.”
In others tweets, Moroccans in general are blamed for not taking responsibility for their own mistakes and not raising their children in a proper manner. There was little to no reaction by others to contradict these claims, and neither programme nor the network responded to these tweets. The discussion died out quickly because of this.
Nicolaas on the Path to War is a 4 episode series in which Nicolaas Veul tries to find out what place war still has in Dutch society. It was broadcast by VPRO, one of the national broadcasters. This episode was broadcast on April 12 2018 and drew in 131,000 viewers.
In order to find out how history was represented online, we analysed the content that was published on blogs, podcasts, social media, and website related to history in the week of 9 to 15 April 2018.
Historiek is a website developed as a civil society initiative, and well known in the community of people interested in or working on history. During the week we focussed on, 24 articles were posted on this website. The articles fall in the following categories: historical storytelling, news about history, analysing historical events or phenomena, connecting past and present, opinion making.
The articles are mostly written by the editorial board of Historiek, but some of the specified authors are: Auke Zeldenrust, André Horlings (journalist), Girbe Buist (historian), Enne Knoops (history professor), Pieter de Jonge (political historian), Fons Knockelmans (parliament reporter), Jona Lendering (historian) and the Radboud University. The involvement of the professionals, indicate that the website is a respected medium.
In Annex 1, you can find the titles and links of all 24 articles that were posted in Historiek in the period from 9 to 15 April. You can access Historiek at https://historiek.net/
IsGeschiedenis (IsHistory) is a website that provides daily historical backgrounds to the news. The website claims to be the biggest history website in the Dutch language and boosts to have circa 300.000 unique visitors per day. The website is run by Virtùmedia B.V., which a commercial publisher targeting people who studied higher education, including Geschiedenis Magazein (History Magazine).
In Annex 2, you can find all of titles and links of all 5 articles that were posted in Historiek in the period from 9 to 15 April. The content is very mixed. One articles is about the destruction of cultural heritage, one is about providing historical background to the news of that day (the meeting of leaders of North and South Korea), one is a teaser for a TV programme (Hier zijn de Van Rossems, described above), one is a teaser for a thematic history week (organised by RomeinenNU, RomansNOW, a group aiming to raise awareness about the Roman history of the Netherlands), and one is about the honouring of person for his activities in the Dutch resistance.
There was only one podcast published in period from 9 to 15 April. This was the a podcast about political actions of women throughout history, from the podcast ‘Geheugenissen’.
Felle vrouwen en kwade daden (Fierce women and evil deeds)
For social media we analysed the posts on Twitter and Facebook.
Under the hashtag #geschiedenis (history) there only was one tweet by a man who had found an old coin with his metal detector.
Most posts related to history on Twitter that we could find were from institutes who are focussed on history in a professional way.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has been active on twitter. On April 13 they celebrated their 5 year anniversary of reopening after renovating. They also tweeted about the birth of Leonardo da Vinci as part of the #onthisday campaign, and reminded people about nominating an Amsterdammer for a ‘freedom meal’ on the 5th of May (liberation day). Futhermore, the Rijksmuseum retweeted several history related tweets to promote different events and television programmes.
On the page of the Day of the Hague History there were several post to promote this day.
The page Vandaag in de Geschiedenis (Today in History), makes posts to remind people about historical events that happened on a particular date in history. In this week they posted things varying from the debut of the Flintstones on Dutch television to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln:
Geschiedenis Magazine (History Magazine) posted on their Facebook page about the re-election of Hungary’s prime minister, the HBO movie ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’, and a live event of their magazine:
Stichting Geschiedenis Kinder- en Jeugdliteratuur (The Institute for Historical Child and Youth Literature) posted this week on Facebook about an old drawing of a hippopotamus and other amphibious animals meant to teach children about different species:
Other mentions of history online were made on website from professional institutes (mainly cities and cultural heritage institutes). Here are some samples:
Related to the National Museum Week, the city of Helmond brought an ode to an iconic plougher (a statue of a worker holding a plough):
Again related to the National Museum Week, high school students have made their own exposition about ‘modern skills’ from the past to the present:
The National Archive posted about a lecture about the ‘VOC-mentality’ and misconceptions about it. It took place on April 15:
Related to the Day of The Hague History, the National Archive announced that on April 14 there would be many events surrounding The Square in the city:
Historian Rob, a Belgian Historian, reviewed the City Palace in Gent. The Palace is now a hotel and Rob says it is worth visiting:
It is not possible to make hard conclusions about the way history is being represented online and on TV on the basis of this analysis. The research does seem to indicate that there is less attention for history during a normal week than a week during which the national remembrance days take place.
The research also indicates that there is not much attention for history. There are only 3 history related television programmes with under a million viewers and a handful of websites posting about historical news. This may have to do with the fact that we focused our research to information that was published in Dutch, and Dutch is a relatively small language. The fact that one of the TV programmes focussed on the history of World War 2 supports the conclusion from the previous report that there is a stronger focus on this that on the history of Slavery.
Items of online mentions most attention to history goes to the organised historical events such as the National Museum Week and the Day of The Hague History and professional organisations like the Rijksmuseum. The aim of much of the communication is to encourage people to participate in the events. Most efforts to share information about history by history enthusiasts seems to be centred around Historiek.
The responses to the Andere Tijden episode reveal the views of some of the active social media users, which indicate that migration and the concept of a multicultural society is still a sensitive topic that many people have a strong opinion on. Since there were no efforts to challenge these strong opinions, it seems that discussions about history on social media during normal days, contribute to deepen societal divisions as people who post are only further confirmed in the beliefs that they already have.
De Joodse bruiloft – een koffer vol oorlogsgeheimen (The Jewish wedding – a suitcase full war secrets)
News about history
Analysis of historical events or phenomena
Connecting past and present
 For example, in 2016, there were 12 history related programmes on 4 May (which a National Remembrance Day).