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Conference explores lesser known Dutch communities in N.A.

North American ‘pockets’ persist

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - A bilingual conference, planned for September 29 and 30, 2004, tries to establish the effect of migration on the development of religious and ethnic identities. ‘Melting Pot’ will be held at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, one of the organizers of the event.

The conference will delve into the reasons of the persistence of isolated Dutch communities in North America, 1800-2004. Although Dutch immigrants easily assimilate, a number of groups tried to maintain their distinct identity in the past two centuries, usually supported by strong religious convictions. Assimi-lation can be seen widely in the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA).

Outside these two North American denominations, other, smaller church groups with ties to church federations continue to derive their identity from continental (Dutch) theology traditions. They can be categorized as Pietists, Strict Calvinists and Free/Indepen-dent/Utopian.

The conference seeks to locate and analyze the relatively lesser known Dutch communities in North America. It will help to understand the variety in scenarios for the Dutch immigrants and they will be compared to the experiences of other ethnic groups, such as the Amish.

History and social science academics from both sides of the Atlantic will share their insights at the conference. Anyone interested can register or request information by contacting The program can be found at The Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, the Netherlands, is one of the other organizers, together with, the Sociology Department of Tilburg University, and the GKNv Archives and Documentation Center at Kampen.