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,…