BBC Free Thinking (Radio 3)- 'The Dutch Connection'

Press/Media: Relating to Research


Adam Smyth loves books - as well as being a Professor of English Literature he runs an experimental printing press from a cold barn in Oxfordshire. Who better then to tell us about the quirky pioneers of print, the subject of his new publication The Book-Makers? In this programme he takes us to 1490s London to tell the story of Wynken de Worde, a Dutch immigrant who came to work at William Caxton's press, the very first printing enterprise in England. A canny businessman, de Worde set about making all things printed into Early Modern must-haves.

At the same time as books and printing took hold in England, a network of communications grew across Early Modern Europe. Dr Esther van Raamsdonk is an expert in Anglo-Dutch relations and the people, goods and ideas that moved back and forth across the North Sea at the time. We will learn how myriad changes they brought continue to shape our society and also about the many cheese-based jokes published about the low countries when relations soured.

And Dr Elise Watson researches books and early modern Catholicism. She has stories to tell about crafty Dutch Catholic lay sisters running bookshops, establishing schools and outselling the guilds in Amsterdam with their book stalls and door-to-door peddling. What sort of influence did they have on Early Modern England?

Period29 Feb 2024

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleBBC Radio 3 - Arts & Ideas
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletBBC
    Media typeRadio
    Duration/Length/Size46 minutes
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Producer/AuthorOlive Clancy, Free Thinking
    PersonsElise Watson