News of: Tuesday, October 17 2006,
A special committee, the Committee for the Development of the Dutch Canon, has presented a new national history curriculum for school classes, the Dutch Canon.
The Dutch Canon lists 50 important topics of history, or 'windows of history', that are all topics that everybody in the Netherlands should know about.
The list ranges from the early farmers 3000 years ago and the Romans, through early Christianity and the Middle Ages to the European Union as the last topic (for now).
Although the Minister of Education (Mrs Van der Hoeven), who instated the Commmittee, explicitly stated as goals of the Canon that it should improve citizenship and help integration of foreign immigrants, the Committee has distantiated itself from this. It says 'national identity' is a complicated, even dangerous concept, and rather than that the Canon serves to save the Dutch national heritage or improves the general knowledge about history (the lack of which is complained about by many), it should serve as a tool for self-development.
The Canon can be seen, including a visual timeline, (and also in English!) on this website.
The 50 topics are fixed, but visitors of the website can expand the topics according the 'wiki model', the same model of the famous Wikipedia Encyclopedia, to which everybody can contribute articles or improvements of articles.
The list of 50 topics is to be revised every 5 or 10 years.