The latest issue of Ken U Zelven, the magazine of the Grand East of the Netherlands, mentions the following news:
The Grand Masters of the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium and the Grand East of the Netherlands have signed a Convenant on 1st June 2010, stating their intent to establish an academic bureau in order stimulate the study of masonic sources in the Dutch language area and to do so within one year. The bureau will support the Chair for the history of freemasonry at the Leiden University.
The author of this article justly remarks that it is curious, that the Statutes will include the formal condition that the academic bureau will be dissolved, if one of the participating Grand Lodges would lose its status as 'regular' masonic body. (Which means: is no longer recognized as regular by the Grand Lodge of England; a recognition which since the 18th century is based on, amongst others, the restriction of membership to men only).
There are several existing international networks and cooperation agreements between academic research centres, heritage institutes and scholars in the field of study, which include irregular masonic bodies (with both male and female members) and their museums. It is customary in academic circles not to state a preference for research into, or in cooperation with, regular or irregular masonic bodies. All of freemasonry, in it's many shapes and forms, is interesting within an historical perspective, and academic research should not be restricted by prejudice or preference, if it's results are to be impartial.
Any new initiative should be applauded, but the preference for 'regularity' stated here, could be interpreted to contradict the intended ' academic' character of this new initiative.
[Source: Ken U Zelven, nr. 7-2010, article by Louis van Koert of loge Concordia ad Libertatem]