2013 is the year in which Russia and the Netherlands celebrate their special, long-lasting relationship. A nation wide programme with a wide range of subjects, such as economics, culture, sports education and sciences and topics in the political and social fields confirm the relationship between Russia and the Netherlands. Several organisations and ministries have a part in the programme, for example the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Maastricht University Library also likes to take this up. The Jesuit Library – as part of the university’s heritage collection – offers many books about Russia. The coming weeks, show cases in both the Inner City and Randwyck Library show some highlights.
Russian-Dutch relations: from missionary work to partnership
Western Europe has always had a special relationship with Russia. In the past Russia was considered an area for explorers and missionary work. Later on the relation changed during times of war, from the Napoleonic to more recent times as an opponent in the Cold War. Lately Western Europe and Russia are partners in peace initiatives.
For the Dutch, the acquaintance with Russia started with the visits Tsar Peter the Great paid to this country in the 17th century in his thirst for knowledge in sciences, such as shipbuilding and architecture.
The clergy, the Jesuits included, have also played an active role in this part of Eastern Europe. Examples of this role lie in the field of the missionary work, scientific voyages of discovery and the study of political developments.