Monday, 16 May 2016

Beyond Flanders Fields: The Great War in Belgium and the Netherlands (QMUL, 4, 5 June) - updated

Queen Mary University of London and University College London will host another conference in 2016 to further explore aspects of the First World War: Beyond Flanders Fields. Belgian refugees will take centre stage :-)

When? 4-5 June 2016
Where? Queen Mary London, Arts Two Lecture Theatre

Saturday 4th June 2016

  • 10.30: John Williams. The Flames of Louvain: A Tale of Total War and Destruction of European High Culture in Belgium by German Occupying Forces in August 1914.
  • 11.00: Tessa Lobbes. ‘Those, whom we used to call our beloved Flemish friends, are becoming our German enemies’: The confrontation between Dutch intellectuals, Flemish activism and the German Flamenpolitik during the First World War.
    • 11.30: Break
  • 12.00: Sebastian Bischoff. Furies, spies and fallen women: Gender in the German public discourse about Belgium, 1914-1918.
  • 12.00: Geneviève Warland. Post-war plans for Belgium? German academics dealing with the First World War and its Aftermath.
    • 1.00: Lunch
  • 2.30: Keynote speaker: Sophie De Schaepdrijver. “A Less-than Total Total War”: Neutrality, Invasion, and the Stakes of War, 1914-1918.
    • 3.30: Break
  • 4.00: Christophe Declercq. Emerging from a forgotten past: Belgian refugees in Britain during the First World War. (see below)
  • 4.30: Rolf ter Sluis. De ‘Keizer-quaestie’. The ‘Kaiser Issue’. The Former German Emperor in the Netherlands. November 1918 - March 1920.

Sunday 5th June 2016

  • 10.30: Mathijs Sanders. Bilateral Societies in the Netherlands, 1916-1921.
  • 11.00: Bernhard Liemann. Contact Zones beyond the “Iron Curtain”? Belgo-Dutch-German Border crossings 1914-1918.
    • 11.30: Break
  • 12.00: Hugh Dunthorne. A Cambro-Belgian in the Great War: Frank Brangwyn as Artist and Activist
  • 12.30: Maria Inés Tato. Witnessing the German Occupation of Belgium: Roberto J. Payró’s War Chronicles.
    • 1.00: Lunch
  • 2.30: Keynote speaker: Hubert van Tuyll. The Low Countries as Enemies, 1918-1920.
    • 3.30: Break
  • 4.00: Karen Shelby. The Guard on the IJzer: The Memory of the Belgian Front. 
  • 4.30: Workshop and Drinks

Supported by
The School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, Queen Mary London
CenTraS, University College London
Belgian Embassy London
Flanders House London
Palgrave MacMillan

Emerging from a forgotten past: Belgian refugees in Britain during the First World War
During In the first half of September 2015, parallels were drawn in the national newspapers and social media between the massive numbers of refugees from the Middle East and the scale of the refugee crisis in 1914, the Belgian refugees who came to Britain during the First World War, in particular.
The history of the Belgians in Britain is a complicated one, not least because it has apparently been overlooked for so long. Indeed, forgetfulness might very well be the true legacy of the passing of about a quarter of a million of Belgians through wartime Britain. The history of the Belgians in Britain was also characterised by the fact that it was a transnational history in a cross-cultural setting. The themes of language and class constitute a refrain running throughout this history, as did the arguments in support of the idea that the Belgians in Britain had already disappeared from view during the war at the same time as constructing a unique identity in exile.
This paper provides a holistic view of that history and its main cultural representations, such as the Belgian exile newspapers published in Britain, charity gift books and publications by Belgians living in Britain.



Amara, Michaël, Des Belges à l'épreuve de l'exil. Les réfugiés de la Première Guerre mondiale en France, en Angleterre et aux Pays-Bas, Brussels, Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 2008.
Cahalan, Peter, Belgian Refugee Relief in England during the Great War, New York/London, Garland Publishing, 1982.
Caine, Hall (ed.), King Albert's Book: a tribute to the Belgian king and people from representative men throughout the world, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1914.
Cammaerts Emile, Belgian Poems: Chants Patriotiques et Autres Poèmes (English translations by Tita Brand-Cammaerts), London, John Lane, 1915.
Cammaerts, Emile (ed.), A Book of Belgium's Gratitude, London, John Lane, 1916.
Carlile, J.C., 'Our Belgian Guests', Folkestone During the War: A Record of the Town's Life and Work, Folkestone, F.J. Parsons, 1920, pp.20-24.
Comité Officiel Belge Pour L'Angleterre, Rapport Addressé A Monsieur Le Ministre de l'Intérieur. Le 31 Août 1917, Bruxelles/London, Adhémar Dumoulin, 1918.
Davignon, Henri, La Belgique en Angleterre: un peuple en exil, Paris, Bloud & Gay, 1916.
De Jastrzebski, T.T.S., 'The Register of Belgian Refugees', Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, vol.79:2, 1916, pp.133-158.
Fabry, Camille, Nos 'Hors Combats' à Elisabethville-Birtley, Bruxelles / Seraing, Les Chants de l'Aube / Maison A. Genard, 1919.
First Report of the Departmental Committee appointed by the President of the local government board to consider and report on Questions arising in connection with the reception and employment of the Belgian Refugees in this country. Presented to Parliament by command of his Majesty, London, HMSO, 1915.
Kushner, Tony and Katharine Knox, Refugees in an Age of Genocide: Global, National and Local Perspectives during the Twentieth Century, London, Cass, 1999.
Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages appointed by His Britannic Majesty's government and presided over by the Right Hon. Viscount Bryce (Bryce Report), London, HMSO, 1915.
Report on the Work Undertaken by the British Government in the Reception and Care of the Belgian Refugees, London, HMSO, 1920.
Sarolea, Charles (ed.), Everyman's Special Belgian Relief Number, London, Aldine House, 1914.
Storr, Katherine, Excluded from the Record: Women, Refugees, and Relief, 1914-1929, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2009.
Varlez, Armand, Les Belges En Exil, London/Bruxelles, Librarie Moderne, 1917.
Verhaeren Commemoration, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1917.
Wallon, Justin, Une Cité Belge Sur La Tamise, London, Librarie Moderne, 1917.

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