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Schlösser, Christian

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 03/09/2007

For Christian Schlösser, the Netherlands seeks national reconfirmation

Only recently a panel of Dutch historians compiled a canon of the 50 most important aspects of the nation's history. Now a new museum of national history has been founded in Arnheim. The journalist Christian Schlösser explains: "The failure in Srebrenica, the remarkable success of the right-wing populist Pim Fortuyn, the referendum against further EU integration and the murders of Fortuyn and the controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh have shaken the Dutch's image of themselves as a tolerant, multiethnic society... But at least there was a consensus about the need for a meta-story that would provide a deeply divided society with a new sense of social cohesion... The Anglo-Dutch journalist Ian Burama has pointed out in several publications that a meta-story that promotes social cohesion and the necessary forces of integration can only be constructed if you also provide the immigrants living in a country with their own identity and open up your own 'perspective for the foreign'. This will no doubt happen, despite the reluctance to take risks: historians from Belgium, which separated from the Netherlands in 1830, are to be allocated two halls of their own in the museum."

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