Jan de Meij, born in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, in 1938. Ph.D. from Utrecht University. Professor of Dutch and Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 1998 – 30 June 2000)
The main purpose of my stay at NIAS was to start a research project on the position of the former colonies under Dutch constitutional law, from the foundation of the Netherlands in 1813 till the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia in 1949 and the forming of a Kingdom of the Netherlands (new style) with Surinam and the Dutch Antilles in the fifties.
While working on this subject I decided to give attention to the developments in the seventeenth and eighteenth century as well, because in the period of the trading companies there were already elements of constitutional law which are important for a better understanding of the situation in the nineteenth century.
Instead of giving a general review of the development of colonial law, as was initially my intention, I concentrated on the general position of the Dutch colonies in constitutional law, as many questions in this field still remain unclear. In my opinion this was one of the reasons why the Dutch government between 1900 and the Second World War failed to find new ways towards more autonomy of her colonies overseas.
At the end of my stay I wrote an article on the discussions of the position of the Dutch colonies in the Dutch constitutio by progressive professors of constitutional law in Leiden and Amsterdam versus more conservative colleagues from Utrecht between 1910 1930 .