Love in the Lost Republic of Amsterdam

In Praise of Doeschka Meijsing The cultural officer (or ambassador, if you will) that I was for many years, and the reader and translator I still am – and hope to remain for some years to come – are struggling with each other to decide which as yet untranslated book, which as yet untranslated author(s)…

Idyllic Exile

In the meantime we are still here, but I shan’t commit myself as to whether that is a good or a bad thing. Recently we were in Amsterdam, on the terrace of the Hotel Américain. I was talking about Gemütlichkeit. This was by no means restricted to the German emigrant milieu. We made Dutch friends;…

Internationalism versus Nationalism

The Work of Anne Provoost Jan Decorte (Flemish actor and ex-member of parliament) once declared that the Flemish only truly come into their own through living with other nationalities. That internationalism is echoed in the claim of young people’s author Anne Provoost (1964-): ‘I would find it impossible to write a book set in Flanders’.…

A Great Neo-Latin Scholar

Jozef IJsewijn and his Life’s Work ‘Classical philology leads to all the rest, provided one gets out of it’. This was certainly the case for Jozef IJsewijn (1932-). When, after studying classical philology in Leuven, he chose to pursue an academic career, the only avenue open to him was papyrology. In 1961 the Latin version…

‘Auntie Yet’ and Humanity

The Internationalism of Henriette Roland Holst Henriette Roland Holst-van der Schalk (1869-1952), poetess, writer and socialist, is one of the most revered women in the history of the Netherlands. Her contemporaries hailed her as ‘our greatest poet’ and saw her as a prophetess; the proclaimer of a beautiful, pure and righteous future. The historian Johan…