18th-20th century newspapers online

The National Library of the Netherlands has made a database available of Dutch newspapers from 1615 until 1995, in which full text searches are possible. These newspapers contain a lot of information on Freemasonry in the Netherlands, but also report masonic news from abroad and include advertisements for contemporary publications on the subject.
For non-Dutch researchers it may be relevant to know that many of these newspapers were written in French (such as the Journal de La Haye, published up until 1849). The website also includes an option to view articles as text-only (OCR), which allows one to 'cut and paste' text in Word and then apply any (free, online) translation programme.
Website: http://kranten.kb.nl


Update on the Cultural Masonic Centre

In earlier messages on this blog, we have asked your attention for the controversial moving plans of the Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands, which involve the historical collections in the Cultural Masonic Centre in The Hague.
this plan met with much controversy amongst academia and heritage professionals. Several list members have actively supported the campaign by the OVN Foundation to respect the collection in its cultural, historical an academic infrastructure in The Hague.
Most recently received news is that the Grand Lodge intends to go ahead with its plans, but... decided to take the topic off the official agenda for the yearly meeting in June 2010. The reason given was that the Grand Lodge is considering a location offered in Utrecht, but that particular plan is in too premature a stage to discuss with the members or bring to a vote.
This means the decision on the Cultural Masonic Centre has been postponed until the yearly meeting of 2011 (or a special interim meeting on the subject, if called for).

The OVN Foundation made an appeal to the heritage sector and all lodges of the Grand East to respect the cultural, historical and academic ties of the collection to the city of The Hague, which go back nearly 300 years. Positive response came from several heritage organisations, which are willing to help the lodges in The Hague to come up with a more suitable plan. Many academics in the field of study wrote letters of support. And many Dutch lodges responded positively, complaining about the decision process used by of the Grand Lodge.

In June, a new Grand Master was installed, who may have a fresh view on the situation. The board members who initiated the plan for the move are no longer in office. Hopefully the new team of decision makers will see the importance of respecting the cultural and historical context of the collection, as well as it's academic infrastructure, and is willing to explore the options of realising its ambitions together with the heritage sector in The Hague.

Readers are invited to give their opinion on the situation via the survey above.

[Image: The Cultural Masonic Centre in The Hague, The Netherlands, www.vrijmetselarij.nl]


OVN research grant 2010

The OVN Foundation has awarded a research grant to to Joyce Stoffelsma, a student of western esotericism at the University of Amsterdam. The grant will allow Stoffelsma to make a professional inventory of the historical archive of the Dutch Federation of the International Order of Co-Masonry 'Le Droit Humain'. This inventory will make the archives dating from 1904 until 1945 accessible for future research. The project is made possible by kind cooperation of Le Droit Humain and The Hague's Municipal Archive. See earlier posts ons this blog for more information. Dr. Marco Pasi of the (chair for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents) at the University of Amsterdam will oversee the progress of the project.