Dutch Wednesday 2017

'Dutch Wednesday' is een jaarlijkse serie lezingen en discussies op het NIP. De sprekers zijn prominente Nederlandse wetenschappers die op toegankelijke wijze over hun onderzoek vertellen.

Het doel van Dutch Wednesday is verdieping en uitwisseling van kennis en stimulering van academische samenwerking. Tot de doelgroep behoren Russische en buitenlandse studenten, docenten en alumni. Vaak leiden de bijeenkomsten tot nieuwe contacten en gezamenlijke samenwerkingsinitiatieven.

Deze serie is tot stand gekomen met de financiële hulp van het Wilhelmina E. Jansen fonds.

Aankomende lezingen:

September 13 2017, Collaborative lecture: Prof. Dr. I.E.C. Sommer, Universiteit Utrecht and Prof. Dr. P. Scheltens, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Perception and Truth

The first lecture will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Iris Sommer, who will adress the concepts of perception and truth. What we perceive and how we perceive it is the result from an intricate collaboration between our sense organs and our brain. Only small aspects of our surrounding are entered to conscious perception, with emphasis put on contrast, unexpected objects and movement. From there, we interpret these selected fragments on the basis of previously learned associations, using likelyhoods to guess the whole picture. What results is a strict subjective perception of the world, heavily biased towards expectations and previous experience. If we realize how subjective our world view really is, it helps overcome different views.

Iris Sommer is Professor Psychiatry at the University Utrecht and was elected a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Science (DJA of KNAW). She is an invited member of AcademiaNet, making her one of the 500 leading women in sciences and putting her on the same list with the organization's chair Angela Merkel.


Dementia. The challenge of the 21st century

The second lecture will be held by Prof. Dr. Philip Scheltens, who will speak about dementia as the medical challenge of our century. He will guide us through the recent developments in prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease.  

Philip Scheltens is Professor of Cognitive Neurology and Director of the Alzheimer Center at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, as well as Honorary Professor of Neurology at University College London. From 2011-2015 he has been the scientific director of the Dutch Pearlstring Institute (PSI). In 2012 he initiated the national dementia plan in the Netherlands, called the “Deltaplan Dementie” and was appointed as vice-chair of the board in 2013. He is founder of, and has directed since 2000 the VUmc Alzheimer Center. He was elected member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and was elected as member of the Board of Directors in 2015.


October 11 2017,  Prof. Dr. M. Bartels, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Differences in happiness among people; how can we explain them?

Happiness and well-being have emerged as important study subjects within and across many fields of research. A major driving force behind this is the association with physical and mental health and its pivotal role in socioeconomic issues and economic development. With the increased interest in the importance of well-being it is critically important to understand and reveal sources of individual differences.

In this lecture Prof. Dr. Meike Bartels will present her work on happiness and well-being that describe the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. She will present the current state of art within the field of behavioral and molecular genetic research into well-being, including twin-family studies and molecular genetic findings. She will furthermore explain the importance of her findings for individuals and the society at large. 

Meike Bartels is Professor “Genen en Geluk” (Genetics and Wellbeing) at the Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam). She has been recognized as one of the University's top researchers, is part of the University Research Chair of the VU and works closely together with the Dutch registry for twins. 

Afgelopen Lezingen:

May 17 2017, Prof. Dr. E. Rutten, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Sincerity after Communism

In present-day public discourse, concerns about the sincerity of individuals, institutions, and cultural objects thrive. To what extent does the philanthropy of Zuckerberg and other Internet billionnaires spring from sincere social commitment, and to what extent does it boil down to mere commerce-driven media manipulation? Do Danish arthouse films signal a move away from postmodern sarcasm to a cinematographic “neo-sincerity” or is full-fledged sincerity today impossible in art? Is opposition blogger Aleksei Navalny driven by genuine political engagement, is he introducing a public “new sincerity” that is primarily career driven, or is he doing both at the same time? Prof. Dr. E. Rutten studies the cultural practice of a 'new sincerity' in literature, media, art, design, fashion, film, and architecture -- as a global practice, but with special attention for post-communist Russia.

Ellen Rutten (1975) is Full Professor of Literature, with a special focus on Slavic Literatures, at the University of Amsterdam and leader of the research project Sublime Imperfections: Creative Interventions in Post-1989 Europe, which is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Rutten is author of Unattainable Bride Russia (Northwestern University Press, 2010), Memory, Conflict and New Media (Routledge, 2013, with Julie Fedor and Vera Zvereva) and Sincerity After Communism (in print). She is co-founder and was editor (2008-2015) of new-media journal Digital Icons. From January 2016 onwards, Rutten is editor-in-chief of the journal Russian Literature.

April 19 2017, Prof. Dr. L.W. Nauta, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

The Transformation of the Medieval World View: The Contribution of Renaissance Humanism

Renaissance humanism is one of the formative traditions of modern Western civilization, but often ignored by historians of philosophy. They believe that Renaissance humanists were primarily orators and men of letters rather than philosophers. As one prominent scholar said: “the Italian humanists on the whole were neither good nor bad philosophers, but no philosophers at all”. In this lecture Prof. Lodi Nauta will  assess this interpretation. It is true that humanists were no philosophers in the modern sense of the word. However, their critique of the medieval world view was an essential preparatory step for the rise of the new science and new philosophy of the 17th century. In addition, the humanists' studies of the heritage of Classical Antiquity helped these early-modern thinkers and scientists to formulate new theories of the world. Prof. Nauta will thereby give an answer to the main question of the lecture of April's Dutch Wednesday: ‘What place does Renaissance humanism occupy in the history of Western philosophy?’

Lodi Nauta is Professor in the History of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He is the recipient of the Spinoza Prize 2016, the highest award in Dutch science. He is Fellow of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was visiting professor at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence in 2008. He is the author of several books and articles on the history of philosophy; his book on the Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla, published by Harvard University Press in 2009, was awarded two Best Book Prizes.​

March 1 2017, Pauline Kruseman


On March 1 2017, Pauline Kruseman, a Dutch museum expert and the former director of the Amsterdam Historical Museum, will visit the Netherlands Institute in Saint Petersburg. As a special guest speaker of our Dutch Wednesday program, Pauline Kruseman will give a lecture on the History of Amsterdam. Ms. Kruseman has fulfilled multiple highly esteemed and respected positions both within and outside of the Dutch museum world. From 1971 to 1991 Ms. Kruseman held the post of business director and deputy director of the Royal Institute for the Tropics (the ‘Tropenmuseum’), after which, in the period of 1991 to 2009, she worked as the director of the Amsterdam Historical Museum. Under the leadership of Ms. Kruseman, the Amsterdam Historical Museum expanded its museum with a new storage facility. Kruseman is very well known as one of the most experienced and most competent actors within the museum sector, besides which she has also gained a significant degree of respect in other subsets of the cultural sector. Not only has she established an impressive 37-year long service record of experience as director for museums, she also has fulfilled the position of chair for the National Committee of the 4th and 5th of May and enjoys membership of the supervisory board of the Anne Frank Foundation.

Gepubliceerd door  Nederlands Instituut in Sint-Petersburg

18 mei 2017