A new book published by the Van Raalte Institute at Hope College offers a variety of perspectives on the Dutch immigrant experience.
Through its Van Raalte Press, the institute has published "Across Borders: Dutch Migration to North America and Australia," a collection of papers that were presented during the international biennial conference of the Association for the Advancement of Dutch-American Studies (AADAS) held in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, in June 2009. The volume features 18 essays grouped within six themes: an overview; Canadian history; literature and language; immigrant experiences in the United States; labor organizations; and recent trends in migration and memory.
The book was edited by Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Suzanne M. Sinke and Robert P. Swierenga. Nyenhuis is director of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute and Swierenga is a research professor with the institute, and both were among the conference's presenters and have essays in the volume.
The book focuses on the latter half of the 19th century through the first part of the 21st. Although the Dutch experience with both North America and Australia began in the 1600s, with New York founded by the Dutch as New Amsterdam, major waves of émigrés from the Netherlands arrived in the United States in the middle 1800s - the same influx that led to the founding of Holland--and in Canada and Australia following World War II.
The chapters and their authors are: "Identities in Fragments? Growing Up at the Borderlands of Religion, Ethnicity, and Nation," by William H. Katerberg; "Churches Reach Across Borders: 'Emigration Culture' as a Concept to Analyze Religious Aspects of Emigration," by Enne Koops; "The Role of Emigration Deputies and Immigration Committees in the Transfer of CRC Membership Papers from 1946 to 1960," by Janet Sjaarda Sheeres; "The Catholic Church and the Settlement of Dutch Catholic Farmers in the Diocese of Antigonish, Eastern Nova Scotia, in the 1950s," by Gerrit H. Geerts; "Seeing Small-town Ontario through the Eyes of a Dutch Immigrant in 1910," by Gerrit Sheeres; "American Influence on the First Dutch Settlement in Alberta," by Donald Sinnema; "Examining the Early Works of Three Dutch-Canadian Writers: John Terpstra, Hugh Cook, and Aritha Van Herk," by Alida De Peuter and Joanne van Dijk; "Tilling the Occupied Garden," by Kristen den Hartog; "Emigration to North America in Dutch Juvenile Literature," by Hans Krabbendam; "D.J. Doornink and the Early Years of the Dutch-American Book Selling Trade," by George Harinck; "Yankee Dutch: Later Developments," by Jaap van Marle; "Religion, Ethnicity, and Generation: A Study of Older Dutch-Americans in Holland, Michigan," by Peter Ester and Jacob E. Nyenhuis; "Dutch Immigrant Murderers Go to the Gallows," by Robert P. Swierenga; "Jan Vogel and the Dutch Settlement of Missaukee County," by Huug van den Dool; "Fighting at the Borders: Dutch Americans and the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913," by Robert Schoone-Jongen; "'We Cannot Create a little Holland in America': The Difficult Bonds between the Christian Labour Organizations of the Netherlands, the U.S.A. and Canada in the First Half of the Twentieth Century," by Paul Werkman; "'Dutch Australians at a Glance' (DAAAG) Virtual Centre and Portal: Acknowledging the Past and Sustaining the Present and Future," by Nonja Peters; and "'Ik vertrek': Some Trends in Recent Emigration from the Netherlands," by Mari Smits.
The book is dedicated to Karen G. Schakel, who died on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009, at age 67. Schakel was the office manager and editorial assistant for the Van Raalte Institute from 1997 until her death, and had been registrar and copy editor for the 2007 AADAS meeting, which was held at Hope.
Formed in 1979, AADAS seeks "to encourage research and nurture a continuing interest in the history, life, and culture of the Dutch in North America." The association has sponsored its biennial conferences since 1981 to stimulate active scholarship and facilitate the exchange of ideas and research projects.
The Van Raalte Institute is located in the Theil Research Center at 9 E. 10th St. and specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration and the contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States. The institute is also dedicated to the study of the history of all the people who have comprised the community of Holland throughout its history.
Copies of "Across borders: Dutch Migration to North America and Australia" cost $22.50, and a limited number are available through the institute, which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7678.