Friday, November 24, 2006

first up

About a year ago Palgrave published my History of the Low Countries (also available through,, etc. etc. etc., and all good booksellers: ask a bookseller or bookseller's assistant in person before buying it online).

The book was begun as A Traveller's History of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg, for a different publisher, but that's another story -- although you might come across it as a ghost title on search engines, since they offered it for presale before cancelling the series it was to be part of.

There was quite a lot of material that didn't go into the book, that this blog might be a way of sharing, but besides supplementations what I'd really like to share are corrections: if you spot mistakes, please let me know. Hopefully the blog will lower the threshold for such communication.

The book was recently reviewed on a Low Countries history listserv, in the most gratifying of terms, and a number of corrections offered: Limburg didn't join the United States of Belgium until 8 March 1790, for instance.

Other corrections I'm not so sure of: the papal bull authorizing the foundation of the university of Leuven was issued in December 1425, but teaching didn't start until September 1426. Surely this means I can say that the university was founded in 1426? Or am I misusing the verb "to found"? (Can a university be said to have been founded before the governing body has been constituted, the teachers hired and the classrooms made available?)

Anyway, that's all for now. Let's see how this goes ...