Pelle van Dijk

  • Posted on: 8 September 2015
  • By: nicolaas
About the participant: 

Pelle van Dijk is currently finishing his RMa in History at the University of Amsterdam. In his research, he looks at various elements of Dutch neutrality in the period 1899-1939. In his time as research assistant at the Royal Library in The Hague, he developed an interest in the unknown story of Arius van Tienhoven.

Title of lecture: 
Arius van Tienhoven, a Dutch doctor at the Balkan front

In 1912, Dutch surgeon Arius van Tienhoven undertook a Red Cross mission so he could help wounded Serbian soldiers fighting in the Balkan. In the following years, Van Tienhoven served the Serbian Red Cross during the First World War and travelled through Eastern Europe. In this paper, I will examine the interesting sources he left us, containing both journals and photographs. Some of these were only discovered last year. Van Tienhoven was not afraid to give his opinion, so the sources he left us give an interesting perspective on the atrocities he witnessed at the Eastern Front, thus contributing to our understanding of and the research into this aspect of the First World War. In my lecture, I will specifically focus on the way he described Serbia and its people, thereby using various elements of the ‘Othering’ concept. Van Tienhoven defended the Serbian case and criticized Western societies.