Individual and Collective Identity – Dutch Public Intellectual Bas Heijne


  • Odile Heynders


Public Intellectual, Cultural Authority, Literature, Identity, Community


This article focuses on the democratic debate in Dutch society and the interventions made by one particular writer. After a review of studies on the intellectual tradition, the paradox of the public intellectual is addressed: s/he has to present universal ideas and seriousness of critique and is supposed to popularize knowledge in order to reach and influence the audience. Subsequently, the work of Bas Heijne is scrutinized. By writing essays and reflecting on topics such as populism, identity and community in an era of globalization, Heijne takes up the position of the traditional and morally conscious intellectual wielding cultural authority.

Author Biography

Odile Heynders

Odile Heynders is professor of Comparative Literature at the Department of Culture Studies of Tilburg University. Her research focuses on Public Intellectuals in Europe, and particularly on the edge of literature and political discourses. She also works on a research project on representations of the ‘History of the Present’ (Srebrenica).




How to Cite

Heynders, O. (2013). Individual and Collective Identity – Dutch Public Intellectual Bas Heijne. Journal of Dutch Literature, 4(1). Retrieved from