Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the annual international point of assembly and an exchange of knowledge in the field of Food history in the Netherlands. It intends to stimulate debate and research that bridges the gap between different disciplines. Another aim is to transfer academic research to a wider public and stimulate research using the History of Food Collection of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The symposium is therefore targeted at both an academic and a professional audience.

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the result of a collaborative partnership between Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam, the Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University & Research and the research unit Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Organizing Committee
IJsbrand van Dijk;  Antonia Mazel; Joke Mammen; Jon VerrietIngrid de Zwarte

Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Ir. Louise O. Fresco; Mrs. Claudia Roden; Prof. Dr. Peter Scholliers; Prof. Dr. Irene E. Zwiep.

Friday, 15 November – Saturday 16 November 2019
Venue: Aula of the University of Amsterdam
Singel 411, 1012 XM Amsterdam.



Symposium fee: € 90  (Early Bird until 15 September: € 75)
Reduced fee: € 45 (students; friends of the Allard Pierson UvA)

To register please follow this link.

Since places are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis, please register as early as possible.

For an update on the Symposium please sign in here.


(Post)colonial foodways

creating, negotiating, and resisting transnational food systems

Because of its manifold effects on individuals, cultures, and countries, from the 15th century onwards the colonial era had far-reaching impacts on existing foodways. Colonial rulers often imposed exploitative food systems upon the colonized, resulting in relationships that have been perpetuated, mediated, and resisted to this day. Because of their troubling and complex legacy, colonial foodways have become an essential theme in recent histories of transnational food production, consumption and trade practices from early modern mercantilism to the present. By shifting the focus from two-way colonizer-colonized relationships towards (post)colonial networks and their various nexuses, truly transnational histories are emerging that decenter Europe and go beyond traditional narratives.

Food history and (post)colonial history intersect in various ways. Theories about exploration and exploitation offer insights into (proto)capitalism and the consumption of commodities, the agency of populations in the Global South, the transfer of food technologies, and the ecological impact of restructuring and repurposing vast areas of land. Studying material culture and (post)colonial food customs, furthermore, advances an in-depth understanding of the historical negotiation of identities and ideologies. The hybridization of national and migrant cuisines, culinary (neo)colonialism, and shifting perceptions of gastronomic ‘authenticity’ all underwrite the continuing influence of the colonial era on how we speak about food and, subsequently, about ourselves.


Preliminary Programme

Friday, 15 November 2019

09:00 – 10:00 Registration and coffee
10:00 – 10:05 Welcome Marike van Roon

10:05 – 10:30 Professor J.M. van Winter Stipend

10:30 – 11:00 Keynote lecture: Katarzyna J. CwiertkaFrom Colonialism to Nation Branding: The Persistent Legacy of Japanese Rule in Korea (1910 – 1945)

11:00 – 11:10 Short break

11:10 – 12:40 Panel 1 – Transatlantic legacies of slavery

12:40 – 13:00 Intermezzo – Postcolonial foodways in the Netherlands

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 15:30 Panel 2 – Nationalist policy and (de)colonisation

15:30 – 16:45  Coffee & Tea break

16:45 – 17:45 Prize-giving Ceremony of the 2019 Johannes van Dam Prize and the Joop Witteveen Prize
18:00 – 19:30 Drinks at the Allard Pierson.


Saturday, 16 November 2019

09:00 – 09:30 Registration

09:30 – 10:30 Panel 3 – Pursuits of the postcolonial food industry

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee & Tea break

11:00 – 12:00 Panel 4 – Representing the Nation: authenticity and appropriation

12:00 – 12:20 Wrap-up by Marlou Schrover

12:20 – 12:30 Closing remarks and topic for 2020

Afternoon Programme of the Foodie Festival at the Allard Pierson (festival starts at 13.00)


Call for Papers

Abstract submission is closed.
Please look here for the CfP: Call for Papers 2019.



Participants are free to make their own accommodation booking. Many hotels are situated in the vicinity of the conference venue in the Amsterdam historic city centre. The following website can be useful:
Hotel De L’Europe (*****) offers a special rate to the participants of the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food: Deluxe Room – EUR 320, per room per night, one person. This includes BTW and breakfast. City tax is not included. Please send an e-mail to if you have any questions.



Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam

The Allard Pierson preserves and maintains the academic heritage of the University of Amsterdam. There are over a thousand sub-collections, comprising rare and valuable books, manuscripts, prints, photographs and much, much more. The collections serve educational and research purposes but are also there for the general public.

Amsterdam School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam
The Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH) is a research institute of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. The institute focuses on culture and history. Research is organized both along thematic lines (religion, the city, theatre, conflict, medicine), and in terms of periods in time (e.g. the classical period, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Golden Age, the contemporary period), which are studied from an interdisciplinary perspective (art, history, literature, music, theatre, etc.).

Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University & Research
The Rural and Environmental History Group (RHI) is a chair group within the Social Sciences Department at Wageningen University & Research (WUR), which offers various courses in history to students of WUR and has a research program that is situated at the crossroads of rural, environmental, social, economic, and global history. The mission of the RHI is to offer temporal depth to societal debates and social theories on sustainable and equitable welfare development.

Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
FOST is a research group for social and cultural food studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The research group, founded in April 2003, works in collaboration with the Vlaams Centrum voor Volkscultuur, the Institut Européen de l’Histoire de l’Alimentation and the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique.
FOST aims at consolidating the expertise on foodstudies by inviting (foreign) specialists to workshops and colloquia, by operating within networks, by publishing and contemplating about food studies, and by performing new (multidisciplinary) food research.

Past years:

For the details on the topics and the programme of the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food of the past years please click on the titles:

2018 – Body and Soul

2017 – Making Sense of Taste

2016 – Fire, Knives and Fridges

2015 – Food, Hunger and Conflict

2014 – Cooking up the Low Countries : Textual and Visual Representations of Culinary Culture in Belgium and the Netherlands (16th-21st century)


The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food has been made possible with the generous support of the Amsterdam Universiteitsfonds, Amsterdam School for Historical Studies – University of Amsterdam, Bibliotheken Eemland, Carrera Culinair, CIRFOOD, Fontaine Uitgeverij, Hotel De l’Europe, Huizinga Instituut, LAM, Nijgh Cuisine, Rural and Environmental History Group, Wageningen University & Research, Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek, Uitgeverij Terra and Allard Pierson | Collections of the University of Amsterdam.