LFO – 18 april – The Dam as a site of Memory

Lecture by Flip Bool as part of the VIVID Conference (Value Increase by Visual Design)
Wednesday April 18th 2012, Solent Conference Centre, Southampton, UK

The Dam square is not only the historic heart of Amsterdam, it is also the nation’s epicentre. Its 4.5 acres, paved with 2.5 million cobble-stones, are associated with many events and memories. It is a force field of architecture, culture, entertainment, and of political and economic power.  Since time memorial, it has been the place to celebrate, parade, demonstrate, and remember.

Between 1984 and 1992, the French historian Pierre Nora published his Les lieux de mémoire. The Dam in Amsterdam is one of the locations in the Netherlands most deserving of the epithet ‘lieu de mémoire’ or ‘site of memory’. Playing such an important part in our collective memory, the square has obviously been photographed numerous times over the past century and a half. From royal weddings and inaugurations, the shooting incident and liberation festivities in 1945 to the ‘noise concert’ following the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004.

Flip Bool — Professor of Photography, AKV|St. Joost, Avans University and Senior Curator Collections & Research of the Nederlands Fotomuseum — and a team of co-workers have studied all those photographs. Together, these images provide a rich picture of this special location, its changing appearance over the years, and its social function. Bool’s selection from these thousands of photos also presents a unique overview of the history of Dutch photography. The results of this research into the photographs of the Dam will be presented on 1 October 2012, when the website AmsterdamDam will become digitally accessible.

More info

A printed folder is available via Wilma Diepens
E: secretariaat>EKV@avans.nl


Photograph shown on top of item: A.A. Favier, Overview of the later Dam square with the so-called Commandants House in the centre, ca. 1903-1910. Taken from the roof of the Royal Palace. Coll. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam