In the field of history we are currently observing a 'memory wave'. A key feature of the growing bulk of publications on memory is that they revolve around the relationship to the past in the past. This meta-historical approach implies the study of both scholarly and non-scholarly production, distribution and reception of historical representations. This article discusses some influential notions, such as collective memories and appropriation from a gender perspective. Memory participants sometimes integrate and use the received meanings and values in their own culture, and might disturb the larger mnemonic community to which they also belong. To clarify my argument I furthermore analyse 'Volendams meisje', a famous female Dutch icon.