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Dutch Wednesday 19.02.20: Imagination & Utopias

Dr. Jaap Grave

On February 19, the second Dutch Wednesday lecture was held at the Netherlands Institute in St. Petersburg. The lecture will be given by dr. Jaap Grave. He is affiliated with the Faculty of Dutch Studies at the University of Münster and the State University of St. Petersburg. The lecture was about imagination and utopias in literature.

Dr. Jaap Grave (1964) studied Germanic language and literature at the University of Groningen and the University of Münster and obtained his PhD in Germanic Languages ​​(Dutch and German) at the University of Ghent, on the thesis Zulk vertalen is een werk van liefde (1999) . He is currently a lecturer in Dutch Studies at the State University of St. Petersburg and affiliated with the University of Münster. He also taught at various universities in cities around the world, and published books and scientific articles.

Dutch Wednesday 29.01.20: Traces of trauma. Two cities and the Second World War: Nijmegen and St. Petersburg

Prof. dr. Evert van der Zweerde en dr. Lennert Savenije. 

2020 marks the 75th commemoration of the end of the Second World War on the Western and Eastern front. In the Netherlands as well as in Russia, the end of the war will be commemorated on a national, local and individual level. It is therefore interesting to compare how WW2 is commemorated today in a Russian and a Dutch city. Are there similarities, differences? Moreover, how can (the approach of) history explain this? What can we learn from each other?

Prof. dr. Evert van der Zweerde (born 1958) is professor of social and political philosophy at Radboud University Nijmegen. His fields of interest are political philosophy (questions of ideology, democracy, identity) and Russian philosophy. He wrote his PhD on philosophy in the USSR (for which he received the Premium Erasmianum), and recently a collection of his articles appeared in Russian translation: Взгляд со стороны на историю русской и советской философии; сборник статей (СПб: изд. Алетейя, 2017).

Dr. Lennert Savenije (born 1985) works as a historian at Radboud University Nijmegen. He focusses on the history of the German occupation of the Netherlands during WW2 and has written a book about Nijmegen during wartime. This book was awarded with the Van Winterprijs, the prize for the best local and regional history book in 2019.  


Dutch Wednesday, 20.11.2019: Imaging the Event Horizon in the Galactic Center and M87

Prof. dr. Heino Falcke, Radboud University

When illuminated by ambient light, the event horizon of black holes will cast a dark shadow. For the supermassive black holes in the Galactic center and in M87, this shadow is detectable with the “Event Horizon Telescope” (EHT), a global mm-wave very long baseline interferometry experiment. With advanced computer simulations the appearance of the sources and their shadows can be modelled and predicted in detail. A first global campaign of the EHT was successfully conducted in 2017 and the data is currently being analysed and we discuss here the first results.
Heino Falcke has a broad background in theoretical astrophysics as well as experimental radio astronomy and is full professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. In 2011, Falcke received the Spinoza award, the highest science award of the Netherlands, and is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW) since 2014. He was honoured with the royal distinction of knight in the order of the Netherlands Lion for his scientific work in 2016.

Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis, Utrecht University

Being healthy is highly valued by most individuals, but, on the other hand, acting in a health-promoting way in our day-to-day lives is not easy.  Dr. Kamphuis discusses what we already know about the role of sociocultural and material circumstances for socioeconomic inequalities in health-related behaviours, some recent insights from current research projects she is involved in, and important future research challenges.

Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, of Utrecht University. In the city of Utrecht, she collaborates with policy makers, architects, and housing corporations to develop a systems-based strategy for reducing health inequalities.

Nikolay Pirogov: a belated student of the Leiden medical school? A joint medical history of the Netherlands and Russia

Inge Hendriks, graduate of Slavic Language and Literature at the Leiden University

Did you know that the Netherlands and Russia had close relationships in the medical field during the 18th and 19th century? A significant number of Dutch physicians came to practice in Russia and occupied senior positions in Russian medical services. Likewise, talented Russian-born students were sent to Leiden on state scholarship.

Inge Hendriks is a graduate of Slavic Language and Literature at the Leiden University. She is currently a PhD-researcher at the Leiden University Medical Center where she is researching the History of Medicine of 19th century imperial Russia, with a focus on Nikolay Ivanovich Pirogov. 

An Unknown Dutchman from Drenthe: Louis van Heiden in Russian Service

Prof. Dr. Hans van Koningsbrugge - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Louis van Heiden: Admiral in Russian Service

Who was Louis van Heiden? How did he reach such a high position in Russian service? How did he become a living legend after a sea battle on the coast of Greece? Hans van Koningsbrugge will speak about the troubled times of the Batavian Revolution, the difficult start of Van Heiden’s Russian career, gossip and intrigues, and the longing for his family back home. And, of course, his fame, his welcome back in the Netherlands, and his unavoidable return to Russia. Van Heiden’s life is told against the background of late 18th and early 19th century European politics.

Prof. Dr. Hans van Koningsbrugge (1959), works at the University of Groningen since 1990. He is professor of Russian history and politics and director of the Netherlands-Russia Centre and the Centre for Russian Studies.

Dutch Wednesday, 27.03.2019: Re-creating the Rembrandthuis: Analogies and Antagonism between Antwerp and Amsterdam

Dr. Arjan de Koomen - Universiteit van Amsterdam

As a beneficial coincidence, the houses of the two most important artists from the Netherlands have survived. Art lovers in Antwerp and Amsterdam strove to acquire the houses in order to “turn back time” to the days of Rubens and Rembrandt, and make them into places of local as well as universal veneration for these artists. As both houses had changed unrecognizably, the question if they should and could be made into artist house-museums was hotly debated and provoked an early public discussion on the issue of historical reconstruction.

This lecture is about the competitive interplay between the Flemish and Dutch initiatives in the creation of the respective house-museums. A fascinating aspect are the differing ways in which each house-museum has dealt with the dilemma of historical re-creation.

Arjan de Koomen is art historian affiliated to the University of Amsterdam. He teaches art of the Renaissance and Baroque period, with an emphasis on Italian and Dutch art. Recently, he has introduced so-called Technical Art History at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. At the moment he is program director of four disciplines and has joined the advisory board of the Dutch Institute in St. Petersburg. Eralier in his career he worked at the Rijksmusuem as curator of sculpture and at the Dutch Art Historical Institute in Florence, as sister institution of Petersburg's.  

Dutch Wednesday 27.02.2019 - Creative Designs in the Hermitage: interaction between knowledge, collection and presentation​

Marlies Kleiterp - Hermitage Amsterdam

Making an exhibition is a process that can take several years, and you are not doing it alone. With a permanent partner as a the State Hermitage Museum – with a treasury with more than three million works of art - the Hermitage Amsterdam has a unique position in the Netherlands. In her lecture, Marlies Kleiterp will talk about this unique cooperation, which is based on exchange of knowledge and mutual respect. A crash course: how to make an exhibition?

Marlies Kleiterp is Head of Exhibitions at the Hermitage Amsterdam and De Nieuwe Kerk. She studied Art History and Archaeology at the University of Leiden. After graduation, Kleiterp started at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, where she worked until 2005. Since then she fulfills her current position. She is also a board member of the International Committee of Exhibition Exchange (ICOM), a member at International Organisers Group (IEO), the Master's students selection committee for Museum Studies at the University of Amsterdam and also a member of the advisory council of the Dutch Institute in St. Petersburg.


Hans Schilderman

Dutch Wednesday, 28.03.18: Religion and Solidarity

Prof. Dr.  J.B.A.M. (Hans) Schilderman - Radboud Universiteit

What is the significance of religion for shaping the social lives of European citizens? Public life is said to privatize, pluralize and commercialize. Europeans live in welfare states and the market increasingly addresses their needs and concerns. The contribution of religions to the basic concerns of social life – so influential in many countries over the past centuries - has often been overhauled by the institutional provisions and public insurances for our care and wellbeing. Is there any room left for the social tasks of religions and the churches? Or does religion grow into a marginalized phenomenon: more a private concern in family life than a public effort to realize societal concerns? There are both normative and descriptive sides to these questions. The normative side concerns the issue what religions’ contribution to modern societies should be. What are the moral concerns that motivate their contributions? The descriptive side assumes simultaneously a preceding and subsequent question: does religion in fact represent a social force and if so, to what objectives does it successfully contribute? Answers to these normative and descriptive questions do not necessarily match.

Some of the intricacies of this issue I hope to clarify in this lecture at the Netherlands Institute in Saint Petersburg. After sketching some religious differences among European countries and their church-state dependencies, I will clarify the notion of solidarity from the idea of social capital. In doing so I hope to discuss religions’ opportunities and inevitable limitations in morally engaging in social issues.

Prof. Dr J.B.A.M. (Hans) Schilderman (1959) is professor ‘Religion and Care’, and key domain chairholder in Empirical and Practical Religion at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Radboud University in the Netherlands. His teaching interests and research expertise cover a variety of topics ranging from spiritual care, ritual and ethics to cross-national research on social and political issues in religion. He has been engaged in the NORFACE funded research program on religion and solidarity (EURESOURCE) and has been president of the International Society of Empirical Research in Theology (ISERT). As supervisor of the master 'spiritual care' he publishes on professionalization issues in spiritual care, and is currently studying the religious significance of quality of life in suffering.

Dutch Wednesday, 11.09.17: Perception and Truth

Prof. Dr. I.E.C. Sommer, Universiteit Utrecht 

What we perceive and how we perceive it is the result from an intricate collaboration between our sense organs and our brain. Only small aspects of our surrounding are entered to conscious perception, with emphasis put on contrast, unexpected objects and movement. From there, we interpret these selected fragments on the basis of previously learned associations, using likelyhoods to guess the whole picture. What results is a strict subjective perception of the world, heavily biased towards expectations and previous experience. If we realize how subjective our world view really is, it helps overcome different views.

Iris Sommer is Professor Psychiatry at the University Utrecht and was elected a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Science (DJA of KNAW). She is an invited member of AcademiaNet, making her one of the 500 leading women in sciences and putting her on the same list with the organization's chair Angela Merkel.

Dutch Wednesday 17.05.2017: Sincerity after Communism

Prof. dr. Ellen Rutten, Universiteit van Amsterdam

UvA profile: 1/e.rutten1.html
email address: ellen.rutten@uva.nl
personal website: ellenrutten.nl 


In present-day public discourse, concerns about the sincerity of individuals, institutions, and cultural objects thrive. To what extent does the philanthropy of Zuckerberg and other Internet billionnaires spring from sincere social commitment, and to what extent does it boil down to mere commerce-driven media manipulation? Do Danish arthouse films signal a move away from postmodern sarcasm to a cinematographic “neo-sincerity” or is full-fledged sincerity today impossible in art? Is opposition blogger Aleksei Navalny driven by genuine political engagement, is he introducing a public “new sincerity” that is primarily career driven, or is he doing both at the same time? 

Ellen Rutten is Full Professor of Literature, with a special focus on Slavic Literatures, at the University of Amsterdam and leader of the research project Sublime Imperfections. She is co-founder and was editor (2008-2015) of new-media journal Digital Icons. From January 2016 onwards, Rutten is editor-in-chief of the journal Russian Literature.

Adam Cohen

Dutch Wednesday 16.11.2016: Drug Research in Leiden, from Foxglove to EPO  

Prof. dr. Adam Cohen, medical Center, Leiden University

Drug research in Leiden, from foxglove to EPO

Around the 1980's patients were admitted to hospital for minimally 6 weeks to cure their duodenal ulcers. We were taught at the time that this was a psychiatric disease. Today we know it is an infection and treatment is generally at home by the general practitioner with drugs rather than with operations. We can expect many similar spectacular developments for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and cancer in the near future.

Dr. Adam Cohen, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Leiden and director of the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR).

Monika Baar

Dutch Wednesday, 10.02.2016: Small is Beautiful. The History of Political Thought in ‘Marginal’ Cultures

Prof. dr. M.K. Monika Baár, Modern and Contemporary History, Leiden University

Which are the universal attributes of political thought and which are the characteristics that differ across time and space? 

Peter Barthel

Dutch Wednesday, 27.01.2016: The Most Discussed Star

Peter Barthel, Professor of Astrophysics, Groningen University

The Star of Bethlehem: the history of its interpretation, ancient near-eastern astronomy, astrology and the Magi, astrology in the Greco-Roman and the Jewish worlds, the early Christian world and some modern points of view.

Jan Nijman

Dutch Wednesday, 02.12.15 Urban revolutions

Prof. dr. Jan Nijman, University of Amsterdam

This lecture singles out five such moments, or revolutions: the first cities of the neolithic age, the ancient republican city, the early modern bourgeois city, the industrial city, and the information city.


Dutch Wednesday, 28.10.15: 20 Years of International Climate Change Politics: what has been achieved, what has gone wrong and what might happen next

 Philipp Pattberg, Transnational Environmental Governance, VU University Amsterdam

In this lecture prof. Pattberg critically discusses more than 20 years of international climate change diplomacy including a new climate agreement which will be negotiated in December of this year in Paris.

Jan Luiten van Zanden

Dutch Wednesday 7.10.2015: Democracy and economic development – a perspective from economic history

Prof. Jan Luiten van Zanden,  Utrecht University

Economic history is focused on the wealth and poverty of nations: why some parts of the world have achieved sustained economic growth and why did other parts of the world stay behind.  What is driving the ‘great divergence’ between nations?  To what extent do different institutions and cultures play a role? 

Pascal Gielen

Dutch Wednesday, 06.05.2015: No Culture, No Europe

Pascal Gielen, Director of the Research Center Arts in Society, Groningen University

The central proposition of his last book ‘No Culture, No Europe. On the Foundations of Politics’ (2014): culture is the basic source to give meaning and form to societies. “We need to study culture as a sensemaking process” 


Rene ten Bos

Dutch Wednesday, 1.04.2015: Water. A geophilosophical history 

René ten Bos, Professor of Philosophy and Organizational Theory, Radboud University

In his lecture the Dutch philosopher René ten Bos speaks about the philosophical tradition of the concept of water and our relation to water from a philosophical perspective. This indifference and hatred of water and, more specifically, the sea is part and parcel of the history of Western philosophy.  René ten Bos discusses this thalassophobia at length and also provides an explanation for the rather paradoxical fact that mankind in spite of this phobia and hatred actually did venture to sail the seven seas.

Jan Rath

Dutch Wednesday, 11.03.15: Neighbourhood Transformation in the Netherlands: Ethnic Teahouses vs Hipster Coffee Bars

Prof. Jan Rath, University of Amsterdam

Jan Rath, professor of Urban Sociology at University of Amsterdam, has done research on a wide array of  topics including sociology, urban studies, politology, gentrification, immigrant entrepreneurship etc. He is particularly interested in the ways in which cities in a globalizing world help shape unity and diversity. His research focuses on how the urban opportunity structure  - notably its political, economic and symbolic dimensions - shapes life chances and social relations, and vice versa. 

Thijs van Kolfschoten
Thijs van Kolfschoten


Dutch Wednesday, 26.11.14: Expansion and Extinction: the Collapse of the Mammoth Steppe Fauna

Prof. dr. Thijs van Kolfschoten, Leiden University


A special Cleveringa lecture about the dynamic, fascinating process of expansion and contraction of the woolly mammoth. 

Piek Vossen

Dutch Wednesday, 29.10.14: What if computers could read the news?

Prof. dr. Piek Vossen, VU University Amsterdam

Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen develops computer programs that read massive streams of daily news to extract what happened, when and where, and who is involved: 'Now, we can start ask ourselves the question how much the world changed yesterday according to the news'.

Zef Hemel

Dutch Wednesday, 19.09.2014: 'Cities in Transition: The Case Of Moscow'

Zef Hemel, professor on Urban and Regional Planning (Wibaut Chair) at the University of Amsterdam  

As a planning practitioner based in Amsterdam, Zef Hemel was involved in some major planning efforts in the Moscow region over the last years. In his lecture he shared his views on the future of Moscow, based on his theoretical thoughts of cities functioning as 'brains'.

Herman Philipse

Dutch Wednesday, 28.05.14: Religious Belief in the Age of Science

Herman Philipse, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Utrecht University

The core thesis of the lecture is the following: if you want to be an intellectually responsible atheist, you have to do more work than Marx, Nietzsche, or Freud ever imagined.

Evert van der Zweerde

Dutch Wednesday, 16.05.14: Democracy. One size fits all?

Prof. dr. Evert van der Zweerde, Radboud University

Is there one 'type' of democracy that would – or even should - fit the whole world, irrespective of history, geography, or civilization, or should we differentiate and conclude that each people gets the regime it deserves?


Dutch Wednesday, 06.05.13: The scent of the sea - Ode to Emiliania

Prof. dr. Jos van den Broek, Leiden University 

The scent of the sea - Ode to Emiliania is an interactive visual lecture in which the origin of the odour of the sea is revealed. This lecture is initiated by Satellietgroep and The NIP in the context of the project 'Now Wakes The Sea'.  

Julia Noordegraaf

Dutch Wednesday, 09.10.13: Participatory Archiving. Audiovisual Archives in the Digital Age

Prof. dr. Julia Noordegraaf, University of Amsterdam 

The proliferation of digital technologies has changed the way we perceive of and use audiovisual archives and their holdings. Unlimited online access and active user participation have become crucial for an archive’s visibility and public existence.

Rens Bod

Dutch Wednesday, 05.06.13: Unexpected Applications of the Humanities

Prof. dr. Rens Bod, University of Amsterdam 

There is no need to be modest about the feats and deeds of the humanistic disciplines – it is only that humanists could sell them much better.

James Kennedy

Dutch Wednesday, 12.09.13: The End of Tolerance? Religion and Politics in the Contemporary Netherlands

Prof. dr. James Kennedy, University of Amsterdam

If there is one word with which Dutch history is associated, it is its fabled tolerance, especially during it Golden Age. That seems to be in short supply now, with many Dutch actively questioning how good it actually is to practice forbearance toward those with unacceptable ideals.