Association for the
Advancement of Dutch-American Studies
The Association for the Advancement of Dutch-American Studies (AADAS) held its eighteenth biennial meeting near Sheboygan, Wisconsin from 9 to 11 June 2011. The conference theme was “Past and Present: The Importance of History for Dutch-Americans.” A pre-conference day included a tour of Little Chute, Wisconsin. The local host was Mary Risseeuw of the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Sheboygan Falls.
Wisconsin is home to large populations of Americans of Dutch and German ancestry, and this setting provided an opportunity to address this state’s place in Dutch-American history and further explore the ongoing interest in Dutch identity across the United States today.
“The Importance of History for Dutch-Americans” was manifest more in the content of the presentations than as an articulated theme. That content was extremely rich. Leading off the twenty presentations were Hans Krabbendam of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middleburg, the Netherlands, and Robert P. Swierenga, Albertus C. Van Raalte Research Professor at the Van Raalte Institute and author of the recently republished Dutch Chicago: A History of the Hollanders in the Windy City (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), who compared Dutch Catholics and Dutch Protestants in Wisconsin. Since some Dutch Calvinists in the audience who grew up in Wisconsin could still remember a time when the existence of Dutch Catholics there (let alone a whole settlement of them) was unknown, the comparison was revelatory. The program was further enriched by five scholars from the Netherlands, one of whom, Yvette Hoitink, appeared via Skype. A selection of papers will be published by Van Raalte Press in 2012 with Nella Kennedy as lead editor and mailed to all dues-paying members of AADAS.
Please visit www.aadas.nl for more information about AADAS.