The city is a place to find shelter, a market place, and an elevator for social mobility and success. But the city is also a place that frightens people and that can marginalize newcomers. Living in the City tries to understand what pulls people to the city since the High Middle Ages, focusing on one of the earliest urbanized regions in the world, the Low Countries. The book is a quest for new insights that leads the reader from Medieval Ghent and Bruges, through the Dutch Golden Age and the mass urbanization in the age of Industrialization to the present Eurodelta. A region that emerged in the last century with Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam as nodal points in a global urban network. To understand the motivations of so many to settle in cities this book focuses on a wide variety of urban institutions. What was the role of churches, guilds and businesses, but also theaters, architecture, parks and pavements? What were the cultural, economic, social, political and spatial dynamics that transformed cities into centers of creativity and innovation? How did the attractiveness of cities change over time, when cities lost their autonomy and became part of the nation state and global forces? In this book a team of internationally reknown scholars (in the field of history, art, literature, economy and the social sciences) look for continuity and change in the last eight centuries of urban developments in one of the most remarkable urban regions of the world.
Introduction: Cities, Institutions and Migration in the Low Countries. Leo Lucassen and Wim Willems 1. Urbanisation in the European Middle Ages: Phases of Openness and Occlusion. Wim Blockmans 2. The Desired Stranger. Attraction and Expulsion in the Medieval City. Marc Boone 3. The Dutch ‘City Republics’: Guilds, Militias and Civic Politics. Maarten Prak 4. ‘City Air Sets You Free’: Autonomy and Rivalry in the Early Modern Northern Netherlands. Marjolein ‘t Hart and Manon van der Heijden 5. Employment, Education and Social Assistance: The Economic Attraction of Early Modern Cities. Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk 6. The Literary Image of the City: From the Middle Ages until the End of the Nineteenth Century. Herman Pleij, Lia van Gemert and Marita Mathijsen 7. The Hague, City of Wealth: Urban Governance and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Jan Hein Furnée 8. The Modern City: Migration, Social Control and Planning, 1850-Present. Dirk Jan Wolffram 9. The City and the Art of Earning: Cultural Industries in the Twentieth-Century Netherlands. Michaël Deinema and Robert Kloosterman 10. Why Cities Prosper As Deltas: The Urbanisation of the Eurodelta. Luuk Boelens and Ed Taverne 11. Why People Want to Live in the City: Looking Back. Leo Lucassen and Wim Willems Notes on Contributors Bibliography Index