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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

I Wish, I Wish, a Western Mosque: Colonial Continuities in Dutch Perspectives on Islamic Architecture

Thursday 7 April 2022
Please register below
What's New?! Spring Lecture Series 2022
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Taqwa Mosque, Amsterdam (Barelvi), before/after permit procedure. Courtesy of Sheriel Nabie and Edwin de Jonge / EDGE Concepts.

In the Netherlands, most mosque patrons keep combining modern technologies and materials with all kinds of historic and exotic building elements. The resultant rise of Islamic visibility has come hand in hand with a growing political resistance to the apparent unwillingness of Muslims to become ‘Dutch’. After all, Dutch churches have also long abandoned the need for outdated and outlandish references, keeping the materiality of faith on the inside and leaving the outside to the artistry of modern architects responding to urban contexts – or so we are told. As a consequence, a number of municipal bodies have come to suppress what they perceive as ostentatious Islamic recognisability, skipping ahead and artificially creating the modern Dutch mosque themselves.

In this presentation, I will show that Dutch networks of Christian patrons in the modern period have always been using references not of ‘the here’ and ‘the now’, even amidst a postwar current of abstraction and geometrisation, and that they have recently even started to create ever more traditionalist models in a final blow to the (neo)colonial fantasy of secular modernism as the terminus of both Western and non-Western religious architecture. I will then explore those recent mosque designs that in reality were forced by local authorities to adjust, but that nonetheless came to be publicly heralded as exemplifying a ‘Dutch Islam’ – which unwittingly legitimised further suppression. I will also show how Dutch mosques, if and when not suppressed, are grouping themselves into stylistic networks of religiously like-minded leaders, similar to their Christian counterparts.

This lecture will not be livestreamed or recorded.

About Eric Roose

Eric R. Roose is currently an affiliated fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University. He holds MA degrees in International Law, Cultural Anthropology and Art History, and a PhD in Architectural History from Leiden University. He held fellowships at the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, and the Institute for Religious Studies of Leiden University. His research focuses on the comparative iconography of religious architecture.

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