In the summer of 1816, the Dutch man of letters and businessman Willem de Clercq, who was also a prominent figure in the Dutch Réveil movement, visited Saint-Petersburg. After the cessation of French domination, the main goal of his business trip was to resume and expand the grain trade relations of the De Clercq family with Russia. About this journey De Clercq composed a comprehensive report, in which he not only described the business aspects of his mission, but also depicted his observations and experiences, both on the way to Saint-Petersburg and back to the Netherlands. One of the versions of this report was published in a 1962 edition by De Clercq’s granddaughter dr. E.M. Kluit: Per karos naar St. Petersburg. Reisdagboek van de Amsterdamse graanhandelaar Willem de Clercq uit het jaar 1816. The website of the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (Huygens ING), where the journals of Willem de Clercq are currently being published, offers another version of this particular journey. On the same website the route of his outward and homeward journeys have been tracked, using interactive maps.
On the occasion of the bicentenary of this event, an English-language seminar will be held on Wednesday 21 December 2016 at the Netherlands Institute in Saint-Petersburg:
By Coach to Saint-Petersburg
The Russian Adventures of the De Clercq Family in the Nineteenth Century
12:00-12:30 Doors open, coffee and tea
12:30-12:40 Dr. O. Ovechkina, director NIP: Welcome
12:40-12:50 Drs. Hugo Brouwer, vice-consul of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands in Saint-Petersburg: Opening
12:50-13:20 Dr. E.C.M. Huysman, Huygens ING: The Willem de Clercq Diaries: an Exemplary Collaborative Project
13:20-13:50 Dr. A.B.G.M. van Kalmthout, Huygens ING: So Many Distinctive Capacities of Human Nature. Willem de Clercq as a Multitalent
14:50-15:20 Prof. dr. I. Michailova, University of Saint-Petersburg: Willem de Clercq’s Place in Dutch Literature in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century
15:20-15:50 Dr. P. van Nunen, HOVO Brabant and Maastricht; MNM Ruslandcentrum, Maastricht: A Northern Summer: a Dutchman Travelling round the Baltic to Saint-Petersburg
15:50-16:05 Coffee and tea break
16:05-16:35 Drs. D.C. de Clercq, Historisch Bureau De Clercq / Nederlands Patriciaat: To Russia, for Love. Willem’s Nephew Pieter Hendrik de Clercq (1849-1895), Banker in Saint-Petersburg
16:35-17:05 Dr. H.J.C. Kern, University of Leiden: A Dutch Eye on Russia, in European perspective
19:00-21:30 Reception at the Residence of the Dutch Consul-General in Saint-Petersburg, Angliskaya naberezjnaja 12.
Registration at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information: Ineke Huysman or Ton van Kalmthout, Huygens ING: