Jan Bank, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1940. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Professor of Dutch History at Leiden University.
Fellow (1 September 1995 – 30 June 1996)
In September 1995 I stated that I would devote my stay at NIAS to the writing of a manuscript on the cultural history of the Netherlands around the turn of the century (1900). Such a project is part of a broader research programme on the history of Dutch culture within a European context, financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Its origin goes back to the period of the Treaty of Maastricht (1991), when the survival of Dutch culture in a process of continuous European integration became a source of national concern.
Ten months later, in June 1996, I find my work half done; according to my intentions. The manuscript has to be finished in the summer of 1997. In my NIAS year I completed first versions of a chapter on urbanisation and urban planning and on the history of the Protestant religion in the Netherlands around 1900. I have also written paragraphs on nationbuilding and cultural identity or sections on Dutch education. In the forthcoming year I have to pay attention to such themes as the growth of masscommunication (especially visual communication) in the Netherlands at the turn of the century and the history of Catholic religion. The written parts of the manuscript have to be discussed and revised.
NIAS proved to be a sanctuary in the academic world. There I was allowed to study and reflect without any bureaucratic disturbance. Our community of scholars in 1995/96, with its diversity of disciplines and individuals, gave me the real experience of academic freedom and imagination.