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Leiden rekindles Harderwijk’s hopes of regaining a university

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HARDERWIJK – The central Dutch city of Harderwijk (its city charter dates from 1231 when it was walled soon afterwards) was between 1648 and 1811 home to a university, in academic circles frowned upon as a poor man’s institution although it did attract students from abroad, such as internationally acclaimed biologist, botanist and zoologist and biologist Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné), a Swede, who graduated from this university. The still internationally respected Dutch medical pioneer and inventor Boerhaave also graduated in the Guelders’ city. The Harderwijk university, along with the universities of Zutphen and Franeker, was abolished by Napoleon in a time of dire economic circumstances. Harderwijk still regrets its loss as a destination for university students, a situation Leiden’s Prof.dr. Ben van Noort, a resident of nearby Ermelo, would like to rectify. He is leading a committee which has been charged by Leiden University to hold its famed annual Cleveringa lecture for a limited audience in Harderwijk. Since the event is occurring in the bicentennial of Harderwijk’s university loss, it occurred to Van Noort that the lecture also presented an opportunity for an official commemoration and, perhaps, much more.