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Focus on minister’s legacy

University to mark Mansholt’s 1908 birthday with symposium

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

VEENDAM, the Netherlands – The 100th anniversary of the birth of a key Dutch’s agriculture minister who also served as the European Community’s agriculture commissioner, is to be the subject of a commemorative symposium. On September13, 2008, the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen will hold a symposium on Sicco Mansholt to honour the famed social democrat farmer, minister and European commissioner.

The symposium, which will take place at the Van Beresteijn cultural centre in Veendam, will be chaired by Dirk Strijker, Professor of Rural Development who holds the Mansholt Chair at the University of Groningen. Current Dutch Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg will open the commemorative event.

The program calls for a range of lectures, including one by Mansholt’s biographer Johan van Merriënboer of the Radboud University Nijmegen. A number of lectures will focus on Mansholt’s significance to Dutch and European agriculture and on the future of agriculture and rural areas. Films will be shown in conjunction with the subjects.

In addition to the symposium, the Mansholt centennial will also be celebrated through several other activities. A sculpture of Mansholt, created by artist Marten Grupstra, will be placed in the areas’s new recreational community the Blauwe Stad. Minister Verburg will unveil the sculpture on September 13. An exhibition on the gentleman grain farmer is already open to the public at Veendam’s Veenkoloniaal Museum.

The symposium is open to anyone. The 10 euro registration fee includes access to the exhibition at the Veenkoloniaal Museum. More information can be found at Sicco Mansholt was born September 13, 1908 and passed away on June 30, 1995.