Going Dutch

Lisa Jardine

Working backwards from the bloodless revolution that set William and Mary of Orange on the English throne in 1688, this bold and ambitious work redefines the history of cultural and commercial interconnection between two of the world’s most powerful trading empires at a time of great intellectual and geographical discovery. Weaving together the lives of the great thinkers of the time, Lisa Jardine demonstrates how individuals such as Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Christiaan Huygens and Margaret Cavendish, usually depicted as instances of isolated genius, in fact evolved within a context of easy Anglo-Dutch exchange that laid the groundwork for the European Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. Beautifully illustrated throughout, this is a fascinating history of big ideas and remarkable individuals. It denounces the traditional view that the rise of England as a world power took place at the expense of the Dutch, asserting instead that what is usually interpreted as the decline of the Dutch trading empire was in fact a ‘passing on’ of the baton to a Britain expanding in power and influence.

Reviews of Going Dutch

  • Stephen Howe, Independent (Book of the Year)

    ‘A brilliant example of the new “argued history”…The picture Jardine paints is of the two dazzling courts atop two nations conjoined in the great cause of European enlightenment…enthralling.’ Sunday Times

    ‘Meticulous…Jardine’s distinguished career as a cultural historian allows her to speculate on the intricacies of the Dutch sensibility…she has no trouble conjuring up the finer details of the business of art in the world of dealers and collectors…a remarkable phase of 17th century culture that has generally been overlooked or ignored. In “Going Dutch” it is brought back to life.’ Peter Ackroyd, The Times

    ‘Lively and informative…displaying its author’s ususal zest.’ Guardian

    ‘Beguiling…it is an exciting vision and the way Jardine describes these “circuits of transmission” makes one long to have been alive in the 17th century…a measure of how stimulating a book this is.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘Paints a picture of two dazzling courts atop nations conjoined in the cause of European enlightenment.’ Sunday Times

    ‘Jardine energetically argues that the symbiosis of Anglo-Dutch culture is a much overlooked prelude to the Glorious Revolution.’ The Times

    ‘The detail is fascinating; the historical significance broad – for Jardine shows how grand events may be shaped by hidden relationships long obscured.’ Guardian

    ‘In several vivid and accessible excursions, Jardine takes the reader back and forth across the North sea…Jardine uses her skills as a biographer to give us an intimate sense of what cultural exchanges meant at that time…”Going Dutch” is a reminder that nations are not sealed containers but take, adapt and digest foreign influences. It will challenge you to think differently about what it means to be English.’ Sunday Express