Universiteit Leiden

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Royal honour for Gert Oostindie

Gert Oostindie, Professor of Colonial and Postcolonial History, has been made an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. He was awarded the royal honour by Leiden mayor Henri Lenferink after giving his valedictory lecture, ‘The future of the colonial past’, in the Academy Building of Leiden University on 17 December.

Gert Oostindie (1955) became head of the department of Caribbean Studies at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) in 1983, and was appointed director of the institute in 2000. He has also been Professor of Colonial and Postcolonial History at Leiden University since 2006, and was Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Sociology of the Caribbean at Utrecht University from 1993 to 2006.

Valedictory lecture

In his lecture about the Netherlands’ colonial and slavery past and its present-day resonance, Oostindie emphasised how important it is to talk about this history because it can bring people together in society. In telling this history, he said, people should seek the nuance, the differences in perspective and the contradicting voices, and should provide room for other dimensions such as emotion and imagination. But that this should be based on a good understanding of the historical context.

The full text of the valedictory lecture ‘The future of the colonial past’ can be found here (in Dutch).

Photo: Gert Oostindie’s wife Ingrid Koulen pins the medal on her husband on behalf of the mayor of Leiden.
Photographer: Froukje Vernooij.

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