Friday, October 18, 2013

Dress Like The Oppressor To Celebrate Your Liberation

Group in historical costume celebrating Waterloo Day in Amersfoort, 1913.

Due to lack of time I can't participate in Sepia Saturday as often as I would like, but I was thinking of preparing a post to commemorate their bicentennial. But this weeks theme is one I cannot ignore.


Before World War I, Waterloo Day (June 18th) was a yearly celebration of the liberation of Europe from the 'evil' French. In 1913 the centennial celebration was larger than usual; this photo shows a group of people dressed like the French (the guy in the middle looks familiar) in the garden of a local cafe.

I've mentioned Napoleon in my posts before (a female Napoleon, his birthplace, his horse,  St. Helena). He even visited Amersfoort once for a few minutes: … un evénement qui rendra la ville d'Amersfoort immortelle à la posterité. Unfortunately, before the mayor could finish his speech the little emperor was already gone at full gallop. In Vienna I secretly flash-photographed the cradle of his son, who led a tragic life. I still don't know if his father, Napoleon I, was a cruel dictator or a visionary reformer.

next episode: ?

16 comments:

  1. Interesting as you say, that they dressed like their oppressors. I guess the 200th anniversary must have been celebrated this year - any photographs of that, and if so, did they still dress similarly?

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    1. Nobody seems to remember Waterloo nowadays (except for the Abba song).

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    2. It's well remembered here in the UK, Rob, as you can imagine.

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  2. I would not have guessed the reason for the costumes without your explanation, as they look a bit like the cast of some operetta. From our perspective in history, after the horrors of WW2 and WW2, we overlook how tragic the Napoleonic wars were to our ancestors. But I like the idea that the humor of a masquerade would conquer that dark memory.

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  3. The Napoleonic Wars got a (brief) mention in my history class at school in connection with the corn laws (if I remember rightly), but not really in any detail nor with respect to Napoleon. I don't think I heard anything about the 200th anniversary.

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  4. And we're so glad you joined us this week too with this very interesting picture. Napoleon is taking his role very seriously.

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  5. I love the costumes and the participants certainly look as if they have taken their roles on board.

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  6. I have learned more about Napoleon travelling than I did in school. This is a great photo!

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  7. Love the costumes, especially the hats. Great post!

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  8. Great costumes with all the feathered hats and lace collars. They must have posed the tall lady next to Napoleon to emphasize his small stature. What a determined look in his eyes!

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  9. Waterloo Day. Great costumes. But immediately in my head I started singing: "Waterloo. Waterloo, where will you meet your Waterloo? Every puppy has his day, everybody has to pay, everybody has to meet his Waterloo." - Stonewall Jackson :))) About Napoleon, all I can say is I wonder what history would have been like if the Russian Army hadn't decided he was to short to join their ranks? Or so the story goes . . .

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  10. I have been learning something about Napoleon and his successors in the art history class I am auditing.

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  11. So wonderful to see you posting here this week, and I enjoy all your visits on my other posts as well. As for your post today, what an interesting time they surely must have had performing. Fantastic costumes and hats! Wonderfully rich history indeed!

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  12. But isnt there a bit of love: respect humour or (at least) ambivalence in your splendid photo? I cant imagine a similar grouping of National Socialists with a Hitler-look-a-like? Great Photo Rob!

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  13. A great photograph and brilliant costumes, they've really gone to a lot of trouble.

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  14. That's a great image with some terrific hats!

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