The van Kleffens in London and Diplomatic Couples – Book review

“For all the people behind the scenes” is the dedication of Susanna Erlandsson’s book and sets the tone for her study in diplomatic history. The book follows the international careers of a Dutch diplomatic couple, Eelco van Kleffens and his wife Margaret van Kleffens. The choice of the subject of this “micro study” forms one of the main messages: Diplomacy was not just a profession for one person, but a profession for two. The manifold challenges included not only the official diplomatic policy with negotiations, correspondence, and political guidelines but also the informal, social: receptions, conversations, and networks. As argued convincingly by Barbara Keys, the political can not be separated from the personal, and sympathies and antipathies always had an impact on diplomatic relations. Even the contemporary foreign offices of the individual countries (cited here from Dutch sources, but also from the British Foreign Office) understood this impact and saw the diplomat’s wife as responsible for the creation and filling of such informal spaces.”

Rezension zu: S. Erlandsson: Personal Politics in the Postwar World | H-Soz-Kult. Kommunikation und Fachinformation für die Geschichtswissenschaften | Geschichte im Netz | History in the web (

Cite this blog post
Julia Eichenberg (2023, March 31). The van Kleffens in London and Diplomatic Couples – Book review. The London Moment. Retrieved April 22, 2024, from

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