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Hugo Weiland steps back as president of the Foundation for Austrian Studies

On Friday 8 June 2018, Hugo Weiland’s long-standing service was celebrated with a festive lunch organized by board members Ida van Veldhuizen en Hans van Eenennaam.

Photography: Monique Shaw

The foundation’s Austrian curators Prof Dr Arnold Suppan and Prof. Dr. Marija Wakounig, joined Dutch curators as well as board members and several guests in the Leiden Prentenkabinet. Seven speakers, the Austrian ambassador Dr Heidemaria Gürer, Arnold Suppan, and Nicolette Mout among them, expressed their special appreciation for Hugo as well as for his wife Heidi.

Hugo and Heidi have been the heart and soul of the Foundation since 1988: it is difficult to picture the activities of the Foundation without Hugo’s permanent incentive. Moreover, the hospitality offered by Hugo and Heidi in their Oegstgeest domicile gave a special touch to the annual cycle of activities. Without Hugo, we will need to reinvent the Foundation, yet there will be some continuity: Hugo and Heidi will remain a necessary component of the social network and numerous activities of the Foundation, the special chair, the Austria Center, and CEES.

The first Mr. H. Weiland Prize

During the lunch Jeroen Duindam had the pleasure and honour to present the first Mr. H. Weiland Prize to Quinten Somsen for his MA dissertation ‘Prussia’s Franconian Undertaking’ on the Reichshofrat as mediator in conflicts within the House of Hohenzollern. The prize will henceforth be awarded on a regular basis; it rewards excellent research theses on Austrian and Central European history and will be open for all studying at Dutch universities. In addition to the prize, a stipendium will be awarded, supporting research in Austrian archives and libraries for Leiden students. Further details of the Mr. H. Weiland Prize and Stipendium will be published on the foundation website.

Honorary distinctions

During a board meeting after lunch, the formal transfer of responsibilities took place: the new president Steven Engelsman and Hugo Weiland signed the relevant papers. The new president’s proposal to nominate Hugo as honorary president of the Foundation was accepted unanimously and wholeheartedly by the board.

The day ended with another high-point. At Leiden Law School’s Europa Institute the eighth Europa Lecture was given by former Austrian President Prof. Heinz Fischer on ‘Austria and Europe: on the eve of Austria's EU Presidency’. The Academy Building’s auditorium was filled with a massive audience of faculty, students, and an interested general public. The lecture was followed by an animated discussion.

During the reception and dinner following the lecture, two former board members, Jaap Kool and Paul Meerts, were awarded honorary distinctions by Prof. Fischer.


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