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Abraham Kuyper’s birthplace raising funds for commemorative monument

Initiative by new foundation

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

MAASSLUIS - Plans to honour nineteenth-century statesman Dr. Abraham Kuyper with a statue in his place of birth are going ahead despite a $100,000 shortfall for casting the bronze sculpture and for moving it from Hungary to this Zuid-Holland community. A local foundation had taken over the initiative for the monument, after city council had nixed the proposal last year.

No site has been approved yet for the monument. The foundation is considering three public places, one of which is near Kuyper’s parental home. In 2005, Maassluis’ city council had turned down a request for subsidy, raising questions about Kuyper’s contributions to Maassluis and why he merited a monument. According to the foundation, which then went it alone, Kuyper is a ‘unique figure of historical importance.’

Kuyper (1837-1920) was born the son of the local mainline Reformed Church minister. After studying for the ministry, the modernist preacher went on to become a Calvinist theologian who rallied his community to establish the Free University, the first Dutch political party, wrote numerous editorials in his daily newspaper, turned into a church reformer, scholar, and statesman (he served as prime minister of the Netherlands for four years, from 1901 to 1905. Kuyper is considered the father of Dutch Neo-Calvinism.

At the invitation of B.B. Warfield, Kuyper in 1898 delivered the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary. It was his first widespread exposure to a North American audience. During his time in the United States, he also traveled to address the Reformed emigrant community in several states.

Princeton later developed various initiatives, which now keep Kuyper’s legacy alive in the U.S.A. A small Grand Rapids, Michigan college recently rebranded itself as the Kuyper College. The Netherlands has never established such legacy initiatives although a number of schools are named after him.