4th Transnational Rhine Conference: Crossing the Rhine. Globalisation and the Impact of War on the Rhine Economy

4th Transnational Rhine Conference: Crossing the Rhine. Globalisation and the Impact of War on the Rhine Economy

Programme Committee: Prof. Dr. Hein. A.M. Klemann, Dr. Ben Wubs (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Prof. Dr. Werner Plumpe, Dr. Ralf Banken (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)
Maritime Museum Rotterdam/Future Land
Vom - Bis
21.03.2013 - 23.03.2013
Ralf Banken

After three fruitful conferences in Rotterdam (2009), Frankfurt am Main (2010) and Bochum (2011), a fourth Transnational Rhine Conference will be organized in Rotterdam from 21 to 23 March 2013. The forthcoming conference seeks to analyse the long-term impact of globalization and war on the institutions in the Rhine region. In the last two hundred years, periods of openness and cross border collaboration in the region alternated with periods of conflict and war. To explore the long-term development of the Rhine region five different themes and periods have been selected, i.e. The Rhine in Napoleonic Times; The First Globalisation and its Conflicts; The Great War and the Rhine; The Second World War and the Rhine; Globalisation and the Rhine Economy.

The Rhine should not only be seen as a means of water transport, but also as a structuring force of a transnational region, where other means of transport – railways, motorways, pipelines, and electricity networks – clearly followed the river basin. Moreover, big cities and large industrial centres arose near Europe’s main waterway, whereby the river itself also served as the necessary source of fresh water as well as a drain for industrial and household waste. The Rhine crossed borders of several states, with different institutions and conflicting interests. National interests caused co-operation as well as conflicts, and even wars. In 1935, Lucien Febvre wrote that during its entire history, the Rhine was sometimes a border, sometimes a highway and most of the time both. During the 1930s, he tried to convince his readers that the river was not a line of demarcation for Hitler to build his fortifications or France to dig its trenches, but an artery linking countries and economies.

As the Rhine region includes territories in six European national states, the traditional national bias in historiography was problematic; transnational subjects were often overseen, if not ignored. Therefore the aim of this Rhine project, combining economic and business historians, as well as historians of technology and economic geographers, is to analyse the historical development from a transnational perspective. Although the idea is accepted that the Rhine region was a major centre of economic activity, which developed largely since the industrialization of Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Switzerland, it only recently became object of serious historical research. This Rhine project focuses on long-term economic development in Europe’s prime economic region for more than one and a half centuries. The project explores the region’s competitive strength, analyses major changes and continuities, and closely looks into the question to what extent its development depended on the river Rhine.

From the outset four years ago, the organizers ventured to build a transnational network of scholars interested in the history of the Rhine. Initially consisting of scholars from countries along the Rhine and its delta, the Transnational Rhine Network gradually expanded to comprise scholars from all over the world, including Britain, Japan, and the US. The organizing committee has invited an international group of scholars to present their papers and others to discuss these.

Programme Committee:
Prof. Dr. Hein. A.M. Klemann (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Dr. Ben Wubs (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Prof. Dr. Werner Plumpe (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)
Dr. Ralf Banken (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)


4th Transnational Rhine Conference: Crossing the Rhine. Globalisation and the Impact of War on the Rhine Economy (Maritime Museum Rotterdam (1), Future Land (2) , 21-23 March 2013)

Thursday 21 March 2013
Venue: Maritime Museum Rotterdam
13.30-14.00: Registration

14.00-14.10: Werner Plumpe (Goethe University Frankfurt) Welcome and Introduction

14.10-14.30: Jean-Marie Woehrling (Former Secretary General of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine) The Central commission for the Navigation of the Rhine in the service of the Rhine economy: permanence and change

14.30-16.00: First Session: The Rhine in Napoleonic Times
Robert Mark Spaulding (University of North Carolina Wilmington) Reshaping Rhine Commerce in the Era of the French Revolution
Takafumi Kurosawa (Kyoto University) Swinging currency border in the Upper Rhine: Pre-National Rhine Economy as a Border Zone of German and French Currency Systems
Discussant: Harm Schröter (University of Bergen)

16.30-17.45: Second Session: Transnational Rhine Project
Ralf Banken (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Ben Wubs (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Project Discussion: Network, Applications, Methods, Approaches and Topics.
Steven van de Walle (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Experiences in applying for European FP7 SSH funding

17.45-18.00: Launch website Erasmus Centre for the History of the Rhine

18.00-19.00: Behind the Scenes Tour in Maritime Museum Rotterdam

Friday 22 March 2013

9.00-12.00: Excursion Rotterdam Port Authority: boat trip Maasvlakte 2

Venue: Future Land Maasvlakte 2

13.00-14.30: Third Session: The First Globalisation Wave and its Conflicts
Hein Klemann (Erasmus University Rotterdam) The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine, 1815-1914
Joep Schenk and Marten Boon (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Trading Places. How Merchants shaped the Rotterdam-Ruhr Axis in the First Global Economy, 1870-1914
Discussant: Abe de Jong (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

15.00-16.30: Fourth Session: Great War and the Rhine
Eva Roelevink (Ruhr University Bochum) The German Coal on the Dutch Market, or: why it is interesting to have a look on the business history of the German Coal Syndicate and its Dutch Trading Association, 1915-1932
Jeroen Euwe (Université Libre Bruxeles) The Rhine Economy and German Economic Recovery after World War I
Discussant: Richard Coopey (Aberystwyth University)

16.30-17.15: Introducing archives
Florence de Peyronnet-Dryden (German Historical Institute Paris), The electronic inventory of the archive of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission (1919-1930): a new source for the economic history of Germany after World War I.

Saturday, 23 March 2013
Venue: Maritime Museum Rotterdam

9.00-10.30: Fifth Session: The Second World War, its Aftermath, and the Rhine
Martijn Lak (Erasmus University Rotterdam) The Rhine in Ruins. The consequences of World War II: Rhine traffic between the Netherlands and Germany, 1945-1957
Ute Engelen (University of Mainz) Chemical and pharmaceutical companies at the Rhine in Mainz and Wiesbaden after 1945
Margrit Müller (University of Zürich) The "Rhine Economy" and the development of the Swiss Chemical Industry
Discussant: Nil Disco (University Twente)

11.00-12.30: Sixth Session: The Second Globalisation Wave and the Rhine Economy
Klara Paardenkooper (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Containerization, the Rhine and the Military (1945-2010)
Suzanne Hilger (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf) "From the Rhine to the World" - North Rhine Westphalia's Economy in Times of Globalization
Antoine Beyer (IFSTTAR, France) The urban restructuration of the Rhine river ports. Transport function vs. post industrial identities (1990 – 2010)
Discussant: Christian Kleinschmidt (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

(1) Situated in the bustling heart of Rotterdam, the Maritime Museum Rotterdam is one of the world’s top maritime museums. It was founded in 1874 and is the oldest maritime museum in the Netherlands. The museum is a five minutes' walk from Rotterdam highlights such as the Coolsingel and the Erasmus Bridge.

(2) FutureLand offers you a unique meeting and reception location on a most unusual spot in the middle of the Maasvlakte 2 construction work. Make use of the VIP Deck, the comfortable space on the upper floor of the information centre. The glass wall provides a non-stop panorama of Maasvlakte 2 in construction. http://www.maasvlakte2.com/en/index/


Ralf Banken

Historisches Seminar, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/M.