History of the Low Countries

By J. C. H. Blom; E. Lamberts et al. | Go to book overview

Translator's Note

This translated text is a slightly amended version of the Geschiedenis van de Nederlanden. In some chapters, paragraphs have been redrawn, and, in a few instances, shortened or amplified for clarity. Keeping these minor changes in mind, the reader of the History of the Low Countries may have every confidence that the content and style of each author has been preserved.

One note about the spelling of proper nouns: Dutch and Flemish names and places have been kept in the original wherever possible, in line with current sensibilities on this matter. I have, for example, used Nijmegen rather than Nimwegen (traditionally used by German and English speakers). Flemish-speaking towns, once known to Anglophones by their French names, are noted here by their Dutch names (e.g., Kortrijk instead of Courtrai). The same rule applies to the River Maas (not Meuse). Only in the cases of two famous towns (Bruges and Ypres) have I chosen to retain the French variant, since this is how they are best known to Anglophones.

I also have elected to use specific English variants (Brussels and The Hague, for instance) in all cases where these are still commonly in use among English speakers. In those instances where towns were once well-known to Anglophones by their own spelling, but no longer are, I have reverted to present-day spellings (Douai and Toumai, instead of Douay and Tournay). Finally, it is important to note that medieval historians sometimes use geographical terms different from modern historians. For this reason, Friesland replaces Frisia after Chapter 3, just as Gelderland (the province) replaces Guelders (the duchy). Wherever confusion might ensue, I have provided alternate spellings in parentheses where the name is first encountered.

Finally, there is the problem of "the Low Countries." Is the term plural or is it singular? Nederlanden is plural in Dutch, and given that the region has often been divided politically and culturally, it seems appropriate that the plural be used in most cases. Still, part of the ambition of this book is to treat the region as a whole, to see unity in diversity, and when the Low Countries is treated by an author as a single entity, I have opted to translate the term in the singular.

James C. Kennedy

-XI-

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