Pause in posts

 We have decided to temporarily pause adding new posts to this blog. Partially for personal reasons, as our small team sometimes needs to concentrate on work and family issues. Partially for practical reasons, as news on academic events and publications is shared much quicker through social media. Please feel free to follow us on Twitter: @stichtingovn.


Freemasonry at Tong Tong Fair 2016

Tong Tong Fair is a famous, annual Asian festival, which takes place in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 28th May until 5th June 2016 This year, freemasonry and its historical lodge buildings are amongst the themes explored in the festival's exhibition, lecture and actvitities program. For more information, follow this link: tongtongfair.nl/vrijmetselarij/.

Building of Lodge De Vriendschap, Surabaya, founded in 1808.
Photo: CMC Prince Frederik, The Hague


Upcoming thesis defence

Our chairwoman, art historian Andréa Kroon, has for the last few years been working on a thesis with the title: Masonic networks, material culture & international trade. The participation of Dutch freemasons in the commercial & cultural exchange with Southeast Asia, 1735-1853. This project has recently been completed. Kroon will defend her thesis on 26 november 2015 at the Leiden University. More information is availale (in Dutch) in the online calendar of the university.


CMC to remain in The Hague

The Cultural Masonic Centre in the Hague has been closed to visitors since summer 2014 in preparation of an anticipated move to another location. A decision has now been made by the Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands to move its historical archive, library and museum collection from a building in the Jan Evertstraat to its new headquarters in the Javastraat in the same city. This brings an end to years of discussion and controversy about a new home for this important collection of masonic heritage.
Meanwhile, the CMC collection is participating in various digitalisation projects of the National Library in the Netherlands, which means more of the collection will be accessible online in the near future.

14th International Symposium on the History of the Spanish Freemasonry

The CEHME (Center for Historical Studies of the Spanish Freemasonry) International Symposium on the History of the Spanish Freemasonry is taking place in the north of Spain, in Gijón, September 10-12, 2015. The symposium invites scholars to share their experiences and conclusions on the contextual framework of Spanish-Portuguese and Latin American Freemasonry. From Absolutism to Democracy. (1815-2015). Information: rehmlac.com


Network Weave

Research network WEAVE (Western Esotericism in modern Art and Visual Culture) is a thematic network of ESSWE (European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism). WEAVE aims to be a a research network connecting scholars studying the interplay of heterodox spiritualties with Modern western art and visual culture. Scholars of all disciplines, interests, backgrounds and convictions are welcome. The phrase “heterodox spirituality” includes Western esotericism, occultism, occulture, mysticism, alternative Modern spirituality, and contemporary spiritualities. See the new website (which includes a conference agenda) for more information: networkweave.com.


Handbook of Freemasonry

OVN- board member dr. Jan Snoek (University of Heidelberg) and dr. Henrik Bogdan (University of Gothenburg) have been working together for several years on a major project for Brill Academic Publishers: The Handbook of Freemasonry. This pioneering reference work includes contributions from leading scholars in the academic field of study, The first section covers historical perspectives, such as the origins and early history of the Order. The second deals with the relationship between freemasonry and religious traditions, while the third covers organisational themes, such as ritual practice. The fourth section deals with issues related to society and politics - women, blacks, colonialism, nationalism, and war. The fifth and final section adresses the subject of freemasonry's relationship with culture and the arts.


David Vergauwen PhD

Last Wednesday, May 21, David Vergauwen was awarded a doctoral degree from Free University Brussels-VUB, with highest distinction. David Vergauwen is an historian, art historian and musicologist and graduated at Ghent University. He is a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Group Freemasonry-VUB. 
His dissertation subject was "Où peut-on être mieux?" Muziek en muzikanten in de negentiende-eeuwse Brusselse vrijmetselarij. (The best place to be. Music and musicians in 19th-century Brussels Freemasonry.) Supervisor was professor Jeffrey Tyssens. The abstract to his dissertation can be downloaded here


Study day for doctoral students on the history of Freemasonry

After London (2012) and Brussels (2013), the University of Bordeaux hosts the third international study day for doctoral students on the history of Freemasonry. The organizers Andrew Pink (University College London), Cécile Révauger (Université Bordeaux Montaigne) and Jeffrey Tyssens (Free University Brussels-VUB) again welcome young Ph.D-students to present their research to a panel of colleagues and experts. Presentations are given by Amanda Brown, Simon Deschamps, Rachel Kopelman, Miguel Hernandez, Brinda Venkaya Reichert and Christian Meyer. 

Thursday March 13, 2014, 9am - 4:30pm, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France.


Sessions on Western Esotericism at AAR meeting 2014

The next meeting of the American Academy of Religion will include, as has been the case for a number of years now, several sessions organized by the group for Western esotericism (co-chaired by Cathy Gutierrez and Marco Pasi). This group seeks to reflect and further stimulate the current process — reflected in the recent creation of new teaching programs, international associations, journals, book series, and reference works — of professionalization and scholarly recognition of Western esotericism as a new area of research in the study of religion. For more information on the field, see the websites of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE, http://www.esswe.org), the Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE, http://www.aseweb.org), and the Center for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam (http://amsterdamhermetica.nl).

For the necxt meeting of the AAR in San Diego 2014, the Western esotericism group invites paper proposals on the following topics:

• Lived esotericism: In the last fifteen years the concept of "lived religion" has gained attention from scholars and has been at the basis of a growing number of researches and publications. The Group would like to explore the possibility to apply this concept to the study of Western esotericism. Western esotericism has often been studied by focusing on texts and doctrines, more rarely on the actual experiences of esotericists trying to translate those texts and doctrines into lived, daily practice. The predominant approach based on intellectual history has perhaps led to an idealized, partial image of the social and cultural dimensions of Western esotericism. Please note that proposals should not focus necessarily on contemporary Western esotericism. Proposals on earlier periods will also be welcome.

• Esotericism and imaginative narratives: Possible topics include but are not limited to mystical or initiatory rites presented as fiction, novels that deal extensively with the transmission of esoteric knowledge, and esotericism in popular culture and film. As always, the Group seeks papers from as wide a range of historical periods as possible.

• Transformative and performative aspects of gender in esoteric practices (for a possible joint session with the Queer Studies in Religion Group)

• Western esotericism and African American culture: There is in recent years a growing interest in the study of Western esotericism in the context of African American culture. The Group welcomes proposals on this topic (for a possible joint session with the Afro-American Religious History Group).

• Western esotericism and ritual studies: We are interested in receiving proposals that focus on the way in which esoteric rituals can be related to nature, the environment, or ecological concerns (for a possible joint session with the Ritual Studies Group)

Please look for further information on how to submit directly in the AAR website (https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/call-for-papers).The deadline for the submission of proposals is Monday, 3 March 2014.