42 pages 1 hour read

Ian Buruma

Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2006

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapter 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary: “The Healthy Smoker”

Buruma devotes Chapter 3 to introducing the reader more fully to the late Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Descended from both Vincent and Theo van Gogh, Theo came from a line of prominent figures in Dutch culture. Apart from his great-granduncle being the world renown painter, his uncle was a partisan during the German occupation who was ultimately executed by the Nazis. Chapter 3 offers the reader much of Theo van Gogh’s upbringing and influences, including his formative years in The Hague, which came on the tail end of much of the radical “provos” (75) protestations against the way in which many of the war generation handled the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Moreover, Buruma goes on to show how much of van Gogh’s artistic and philosophical influences were well-known Dutch practitioners of irony and satire, art forms he, himself, would later make central elements of his work.

Parallel to the biopic of van Gogh, Buruma also uses this chapter as a way to briefly inform the reader about the radical transformation of Dutch society during the 1950s and 1960s. It was as if “the veil over the dark side of Dutch history was beginning to be lifted” (81) and as though “the postwar generation needed to make up for the failure of their parents” (83).