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Oostdijk, Diederik

Oostdijk, Diederik


Diederik Oostdijk, born in Tilburg, the Netherlands, in 1972. Ph.D. from Radboud University Nijmegen. Professor of English and American Literature at VU University Amsterdam.

Fellow (1 September 2014 – 31 January 2015)

The Netherlands Carillon: The History of a Cold War Monument

Research Question

The Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, Virginia occupies a prominent place in the memorial landscape of the United States’ capital, but it is largely unknown in the Netherlands and the United States. Why did the Dutch offer this gift to the United States in the 1950s? Was it a truly selfless gift, or did the Dutch have ulterior motives ?

Project Description

The Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, Virginia – a gift by the Dutch to the United States in the 1950s in gratitude for their support during and after World War II – is a unique monument. Firstly, it is not only a memorial but also a fully functioning musical instrument. Carillons, a Dutch-Belgian invention, are operated by playing a keyboard that connects keys to clappers which sound multiple bells. Secondly, it is the only transnational monument among strikingly national or even nationalistic monuments. Thirdly, it is the first entirely modernist monument on the monumental axis that connects Arlington to Washington DC. This project analyzes how and why the Netherlands Carillon was offered to the United States, and what the monument signifies about Dutch-American relations and the Cold War.

Selected Publications

1) “Fulbright Poets: Locating Europe and America in the Cold War” American Writers in Europe: 1850 to the Present. Ed. Fêrda Asya. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 165-184.

2) Among the Nightmare Fighters: American Poets of World War II. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2011.

3) “Randall Jarrell and the Age of Consumer Culture” Reading the Middle Generation Anew: Culture, Community, and Form in Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Ed. Eric Haralson. Iowa City: Iowa University Press, 2006. 113-132.

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