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Roaring Nineties by Jannah Loontjens

Roaring Nineties

Or How Philosophy Changed My Life

Philosopher and writer Jannah Loontjens (2014/15) came to NIAS to focus on a book of essays. "First I was working on a book on Heidegger, but while writing it I realised that it should become something totally different." Now the book is on the zeitgeist and dominant philosophical theories in the eighties and nineties of the twentieth century." Roaring Nineties Or How Philosophy Changed My Life" was published in March 2016.

About the Book

Roaring Nineties describes our most recent fin de siècle and compares it with the present day. It was a time when it was believed the great wars were over. It was before 9/11, before the advent of mobile telephony and the Internet, a time of multicultural ideals, prosperity and optimism.

In the Roaring Nineties, Jannah Loontjens examines the image we have of that decade and the years leading up to it. She describes her experiences in the squat in The Hague where she lived with her mother. She talks about her philosophy studies in New York, where she was taught by the philosopher Derrida, about her job as a gogo dancer in nightclubs, and the post-structuralist thought that was fashionable at the time. She also looks back on her childhood in Sweden where, under a starry sky in a dark forest, the first big metaphysical questions crossed her mind. With reference to the work of Derrida, Baudrillard, Butler and Heidegger, Loontjens shows how her own life is connected with philosophy, and how major philosophical questions can go hand in hand with practical matters.


‘Loontjens has lived through all the caricatures of the seventies, eighties and nineties, yet nothing is what it seems in this philosophical coming of age.’ – Coen Simon

‘With Roaring Nineties Jannah Loontjens has written a nostalgic ode to the 1990s, years of freedom and abundance.’ – Folia Magazine

‘Writer and philosopher Jannah Loontjens (born 1974) has compiled her very readable articles on the years prior to 9/11, which she describes in Roaring Nineties as ‘a time of multicultural ideals, prosperity and optimism’.’ – NRC Handelsblad

‘In Roaring Nineties philosopher and writer Jannah Loontjens interweaves memories of her personal life with observations about the nineties and the current decade.’ – Volkskrant

‘She reminds us of the advent of home video, of films such as Pulp Fiction, but also of the Gulf War and the final days of the typewriter. And above all, she thinks about the zeitgeist of those years, which in retrospect almost feel innocent.’ – Trouw


  • Misschien wel niet (novel, 2014)
  • Mijn leven is mooier dan literatuur (essays, 2013)
  • Hoe laat eigenlijk (novel, 2014)