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Johan Huizinga (1872-1945)

Cultural historian
Johan Huizinga

Johan Huizinga was born in 1872 in Groningen. He studied Dutch and Eastern languages at the University of Groningen from 1891 until 1895 and linguistics at Leipzig from 1885 till 1896. He received his doctor's degree in 1897 in Groningen, for his thesis on the 'Vidûsaka' (the Fool) in Indian theatre. From 1987 till 1905 he was a teacher in Haarlem and Amsterdam.

In 1905 he became Professor of General and Dutch History in the University of Groningen and in 1915 Professor of General History and Political Geography at Leiden University. He also was editor of the monthly cultural magazine De Gids, chairman of the Advising Commission for the various State Museums. Huizinga remained at his post as a Professor until the German Occupation closed Leiden University in 1941. Huizinga was held prisoner from August to October 1942, for warning against the Nazi ideology and the effect on the freedom of historical writing.

During his tenure in Leiden, Huizinga completed his most famous work Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen (The Autumn of the Middle Ages) in 1919. This book was translated into many languages and gained him international fame. Huizinga's skill and power lay in his ability to clearly depict forms of culture. He became one of the founders of cultural history in the Netherlands.

Left: Huizinga and a group of students. Right: design for a Groningen University medal by Huizinga
Left: Huizinga and a group of students. Right: design for a Groningen University medal by Huizinga
Last modified:06 July 2018 4.59 p.m.
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