Visiting Professor

Let’s pretend for a moment that I’m not me; that has its uses on occasion. I’m going to pay myself a visit. My room number is up in the thousands, and to reach it I have to enter a Stalinist building with staircases, lifts and corridors. Behind every door people are in furious pursuit of…

Beekman’s Indies

Exactly 400 years ago, in 1596, a travel book was published in Amsterdam. Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s Itinerario signalled the beginning both of Dutch colonial expansion to the Spice Islands of South East Asia (present-day Indonesia) and of Dutch colonial literature. Fifty years later, in 1646, this was followed by Willem Bontekoe van Hoorn’s Journael,…

Grounds for Memory

Colonial Literature from the Former Dutch East Indies The colonial literature of the Netherlands is, with the possible exception of Spanish and Portuguese letters, the most voluminous and innovative of colonial literatures in the Western world. It also has one of the longest traditions. If we restrict ourselves to the literature produced in the former…