Door het vizier van vriend en vijand
: Representatie van de Tweede Wereldoorlog binnen museumeducatie in Duits-Nederlands grensgebied

Translated title of the thesis: Through the crosshairs of friend and foe: Representation of the Second World War in museum education in the German-Dutch border area
  • EJP Schmiermann

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Through the crosshairs of friend and foe deals with contemporary representations of the Second World War within museum education in the German-Dutch border region Euregio Rhein-Waal that focuses on pupils aged between ten and fifteen years old. The central question is: how can similarities and differences with regard to multiperspectivity in representations of the Second World War in contemporary museum-education programmes in the German-Dutch border region be explained?
    Analyses of the programmes of three Dutch museums and three German museums reveal differences and similarities within representations of the war. Various explanatory factors play a role in this. For instance, the message that should go out from German education is different than in the Netherlands, given the different relationship both countries have with history. In German programmes, the impact of National Socialism within society as a whole is central.This contributes to a more inward-looking representation from national and local perspectives, an austere approach to local resistance fighters, the selective approach to the victim perspective, represented solely by (Jewish) persecuted people and a single-minded approach perpetrator perspective
    (only German Nazi perpetrators). More than in the Netherlands, it confronts ubiquitous perpetrators, although perpetrators remain at a distance in the representations. In the Netherlands is more room for diverse interpretation within the new programmes, which sometimes show a perspective shift from a national military local perspective to a more universal narrative of war and freedom.
    Developments in German and Dutch historiography also play a role in perspective choices. The increased attention within Dutch historiography to previously underexposed victim perspectives and frontier perspectives are being translated. The rise of local biographical historiography can be seen within both German and Dutch museum education; personal local stories form an important part of the programmes. These stories are mostly told from a victim's perspective. The emphasis on engagement with personal stories contributes to the fact that the perpetrator perspective is underrepresented in both German and Dutch programmes, as it does not lend itself as well to empathy.
    All programmes show a move towards a more multi-perspective approach to
    war. Complete multiperspectivity was nowhere realized. In particular, the detached attitude towards the perpetrator perspective creates a problematic gap in museum representation of the Second World War in Germany and the Netherlands.
    When analyzing the programmes, I focused on materials linked to the museum institution's exhibitions. Analysis was done based on whether historical, geographical, historiographical and contemporary perspectives are represented. Interviews with museum educators helped to interpret the perspective choices made. The social and educational context, within which the museum representations were created, offered explanations for the differences and similarities analyzed. This context was based on recent studies on developments in German and Dutch historiography on World War II (Savenije, Lorenz); studies on developments within war education from German and Dutch schools (Hondius, Van Berkel, Crawford), studies on Dutch and German museum representations related to the war (De Bruijn, Echternkamp) and on recent developments around commemoration ceremonies (Raaijmakers, Dassen).
    Date of Award8 Sept 2023
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorPieter de Bruijn (Supervisor) & Susan Hogervorst (Examiner)


    • museumeducatie
    • Tweede Wereldoorlog
    • grensgebied

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

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