Maintaining Calvin’s legacy

The purpose of the Frederik Meijer Chair is to engage in scholarship and teaching about Dutch culture. The term “Dutch” refers primarily to the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Dutch-American immigrant culture is only peripherally related to the purview of the chair. The term “culture” is broad in scope with relevance to fields such as history, geography, art history, literature, and theology. The activities of the chair will naturally interact with the university’s Dutch language and culture program and thereby enhance familiarization with the languages of the Netherlands-primarily Dutch, but possibly Frisian as well as Dutch dialects. In communicating a better understanding of the culture of the Netherlands, the chair shall also involve the larger university community, its supporting constituency, and the public at large.

Our country of origin

Calvin University grew from a distinctly European ethnic root, that of a Dutch Christian Reformed community that settled in the Midwest in the last half of the 19th century. Calvin has tended that immigrant root through scholarly and cultural immersion into the Dutch-American subculture in which the university thrives. Less attention has been focused, however, on the still-flourishing culture of Calvin’s “country of origin.” In a time when the university’s interests reach into a myriad of nations and cultures, it has become essential to take a good, critical look at the Netherlands, the country of ancestry of the majority of Calvin students and alumni.

The Frederik Meijer Chair and beyond

Through the Frederik Meijer Chair in Dutch Language and Culture, Calvin University will embark on a thorough and scholarly exploration of the Netherlands, a country eminently worthy of that attention. Not only was Holland a cosmopolitan hub of art and a maritime power in the 17th century, the Netherlands of today is a model of social and economic stability. The Dutch are a continual innovative and impressive force on the world scene in the realms of art, technology, water and land engineering and social policy.

Through lectures, performances, workshops, seminars and art exhibitions, the Frederik Meijer Chair in Dutch Language and Culture will bring the culture of the Netherlands to the community and university that have grown from that culture and to the community beyond.