Johan Huizinga

Dutch cultural historian (1872–1945)

Johan Huizinga (December 7, 1872February 1, 1945) was a Dutch historian, and one of the founders of modern cultural history.

Johan Huizinga


  • The awareness of the all-surpassing importance of social groups is now general property in America.
    • Life and Thought in America, ch. 2 (1972).
  • Educators are aware that they can reach the youth only by making use of gang spirit and guiding it, not by working against it.
    • Life and Thought in America, ch. 2 (1972).

In the Shadow of Tomorrow (1936)

  • Revolution as an ideal concept always preserves the essential content of the original thought: sudden and lasting betterment.
    • Ch. 2.
  • These are strange times. Reason, which once combatted faith and seemed to have conquered it, now has to look to faith to save it from dissolution.
    • Ch. 11.
  • History can predict nothing except that great changes in human relationships will never come about in the form in which they have been anticipated.
    • De historie kan niets voorspellen, behalve één ding: dat geen groote wending in de menschelijke verhoudingen ooit uitkomt in den vorm, waarin vroeger levenden zich haar hebben kunnen verbeeld.
    • Ch. 20.

Quotes about Huizinga

  • The practices that led to the formation of the spontaneous order have much in common with rules observed in playing a game. To attempt to trace the origin of competition in play would lead us too far astray, but we can learn much from the masterly and revealing analysis of the role of play in the evolution of culture by the historian Johan Huizinga, whose work has been insufficiently appreciated by students of human order.
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