36.1 | Kelly van der Meulen

Stadichoan Wurde Wy Ôfknypt“: The Erosion of Frisian Culture in Contemporary Flood Fiction

This article situates the Frisian novel Ûnder wetter by Koos Tiemersma (2009)—in which an orchestrated flood leads to Fryslân’s demise—in the Dutch cultural narrative of de strijd tegen het water, wherein flood history is united with national pride and loss. Building on the work by Pieter Vermeulen, with a specific focus on the notion of the ‘future reader’, it highlights how the novel frames its narrative to build upon reader’s cultural memory, and how it intricately links the flood to the death of Frisian language and culture. As such, it concludes that the climate crisis in Frisian and Dutch context truly becomes a crisis of culture, too.

Kelly van der Meulen graduated with a double master’s degree in literature from Utrecht University. Her research is centred around ecocriticism and cultural memory studies, with a focus on climate change narratives. Her thesis explored the role of flood memory in contemporary Dutch literature.