Registration for the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2016 is now closed. With urgent questions, contact us


Register for the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food

Welcome on the website to register for the Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food 2015. Please use the menu on your left to navigate to: Register or Program. 


The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food has the aspiration to become an annual point of assembly and an exchange of knowledge in the field of the food history. It intends to stimulate debate and research that bridges the gap between different disciplines. Another aim is to transfer academic research to a wider public and stimulate research using the Special Collection of the University of Amsterdam. The symposium is therefore targeted at both an academic and a professional audience.

The Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food is the result of a collaborative partnership between the Special Collections, University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam and the research unit Social & Cultural Food Studies (FOST) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.



Fire, Knives and Fridges - The material culture of cooking tools and techniques
This year’s topic is inspired by the renewed interest in traditional cooking and preservation techniques, such as baking and fermenting, but also by innovations like sous-vide cooking and molecular gastronomy. Since prehistoric times humans have used tools, such as fire, grindstones, and knives to transform raw ingredients into edible food. Anthropologists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss and Richard Wrangham have suggested that it is the discovery of cooking which sets humans apart from apes and makes us a “cooking animal”. In their view, advancements in the technology of cooking mark the human transformation of (raw) nature into (cooked) culture.
From the control of fire onward, technology defines the way we eat: what we eat and cook depends on how we cook it. Tools and techniques are first adopted because they meet a certain need or solve a particular problem, but over time they become an integral part of food culture. Yet, they do not emerge in isolation, but through interaction with local resources, cultural preferences, technological innovations, prosperity levels, and beliefs. The symposium aims to explore how cooking techniques, skills and tools as a form of material culture have shaped food cultures and eating habits – and vice versa.

Friday, 15 January – Saturday 16 January 2016
Venue: Aula of the University of Amsterdam, Singel 411, 1012 XM Amsterdam.
Symposium fee is €40 (reduced fee €25).
Since places are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis, please register as early as possible.

Organizing Committee
Filip Degreef; Antonia Mazel; Joke Mammen; Nathalie Parys; Steph Scholten; Ingrid de Zwarte

Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Ir. Louise O. FrescoMrs. Claudia RodenProf. Dr. Peter ScholliersProf. Dr. Irene E. Zwiep.

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 event registration made easy