A Convenient Desert

The Low Countries as a Refuge for the Spirit René Descartes first arrived in the Netherlands in 1618. An officer in the young Republic’s army, which was more or less idle because of the Twelve Years’ Truce, he stayed in Breda for about a year. Subsequently he spent a few years travelling round Central Europe…

Arrival in Antwerp

The traveller from Central Europe, arriving rather late in the evening, with the rear lights of the city’s cars (most of them American) shining like benevolent, sparkling eyes, is struck by the wealth of this city. He had imagined Antwerp differently, not so elegant, not so extravagantly illuminated by neon signs. Something of the ‘fortress…