Disaster Traces

About Us

Learn about how disasters leave their marks on the landscape and how they impact the future

About Us

This site shares research conducted by students of Anthropology of Disaster documenting traces of disaster in the Dutch landscape. Reflecting on memorialization, change, and meaning, the students provide ethnographic documentation of the mnemonic traces of the disaster in the landscape and document their own experience of the past event through their interaction with this landscape, and its inhabitants. They document:

Traces: What traces of the disaster did they still “see” in the landscapes? Are there different ways of “seeing” these traces that you they uncover?

Memorialization: How did the landscape interact with them, other people or other symbolic structures to memorialize the disaster? How and when may this memory be activated?

Reflections: How did they themselves reflect on their interactions with this post-disaster landscape? What does it mean to you to be present in this site, to become part of the memory-network? What has it taught them, and what do they suggest we could further learn based on this?

The papers archived on this site were collected during the course of a bachelor class at the University of Amsterdam about the Anthropology of Disasters from 2012-2014. We hope that they inspire. Not only to remember but also to remain aware of the importance of conserving the lessons from the past to build future resilience.

For more information, please contact Dr. Danny de Vries (d.h.devries@uva.nl).


Funding for this site was provided by the University of Amsterdam through a Grassroots ICT grant.

Some essays are geographically so close together that we cannot present them properly on the map. Therefore, you can click on the region as well as on the individual pins to get an overview of all essays related to that area.


Polygoon Journaal - Stormramp

Latest Additions

Brand Hotel Polen (ANP)

De Hel in Hotel Polen

Geschreven en Gefotografeerd door Anita van der Aar 07/11/2014 Met de titel “De Hel in Hotel Polen” wordt al snel duidelijk dat hiermee een grote brand wordt bedoeld. Deze titel …

By CDC (PHIL #1187) (CDC Public Health Image Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Legionella Disaster

Written by Eva van der Drift 07/11/2014 In 1999 a Legionella disaster occurred in the Netherlands. Lot’s of people suffered from the Legionnaires’ disease. They got pneumonia-like symptoms and the …