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Born in 1872 in Groningen, he studied euro-indian tongues and specialized in Sanskrit after graduating in historic linguistic. At the age of thirty his interests go towards medieval and renascence history and he begins to teach Holland History as an orientalist at the University of Groningen. His approach to history had an aesthetic character, giving a relevant character to art and spectacle. In his most important work, The Autumn of the Middle Ages (1919), he interprets the Late Middle Ages as a pessimist and decadent period instead of a reborn. Alarmed by the rise of National Socialism in Germany, Huizinga wrote several books about critical culture, very similar in analysis to the work by Ortega y Gasset and Oswald Spengler. Huizinga defended that the spirit of mechanical and technical organization had replaced the spontaneous and organic order in political and cultural life. In 1942, after his writings about fascism and his critics to the Nazi occupation of Holland, he is arrested and retained until his death in 1945. He dies a few weeks after the end of the war in De Steeg, Gelderland.