A book-length collection of essays on
Dutch-American history has been published in honor of Robert
The book, "The Dutch-American Experience: Essays
in Honor of Robert P. Swierenga," debuted during a day-long
conference held in tribute to Swierenga at Hope College on
Friday, June 9. Highlights during the conference also
included a ceremony during which Swierenga was named a
Knight in the order of the Netherlands Lion, an honor
bestowed on behalf of the queen of the Netherlands.
The book's essays offer expanded treatments of the
presentations made during the conference. In fact, the book
inspired the event, according to Larry Wagenaar, who is
director of the Joint Archives and co-edited the book and
co-coordinated the conference.
"The conference came out of the book," Wagenaar
said. "We had decided to produce the book to honor Bob, and
needed an occasion to present it to him as a surprise. So
we brought together the authors not only to share summaries
of their work, but to recognize Bob for his contributions to
the field of Dutch-American studies."
Because the book features in-depth treatments of
the topics highlighted during the conference, Wagenaar
believes that the volume has scholarly value beyond its
origins as a way of recognizing a distinguished colleague.
"It's a book that is a significant contribution to the area
of Dutch-American studies," he said.
The book, as did the conference, recognizes
Swierenga for his extensive contributions in the decades he
has spent conducting research, publishing and speaking in
the field of Dutch-American studies.
"The Dutch-American Experience: Essays in Honor
of Robert P. Swierenga" surveys the Dutch immigrant
experience in the past two centuries, presenting four
general sections derived from themes found in Swierenga's
work: the relationship between worldview and immigration,
the journey to the United States, the religious setting and
the role of the individual.
The book also includes a section celebrating
Swierenga's scholarly accomplishments. The book has a total
of 18 chapters, and features 18 authors.
Wagenaar and Hans Krabbendam, who is assistant
director of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, the
Netherlands, are the book's co-editors. "The Dutch-American
Experience: Essays in Honor of Robert P. Swierenga" is
published by VU University Press of Amsterdam, the
The 300-page paperback volume retails for $39.95,
and is available through the Joint Archives of Holland.
Located on the ground floor of the Van Wylen Library, the
archives is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5
p.m., and can be called at (616) 395-7798.
Swierenga has been at Hope since 1996, serving as
a senior research fellow with the college's A.C. Van Raalte
Institute and as an adjunct professor of history. He had
previously been a member of the history faculty at Kent
State, where he served from 1968 until retiring in 1996. He
has written or edited more than a dozen books, and has
written numerous journal articles and lectured widely on
issues related to the Dutch in America.
He holds his bachelor's degree from Calvin
College, where he was an assistant professor from 1965 to
1968, and his master's from Northwestern University and his
doctorate from the University of Iowa.