Dutch fight for LGBTQ rights, history


Anti-homophobia demonstrators, 1969. Photo Jac de Nijs/Nationaal Archief

This 1969 photo shows a demonstration at the Dutch parliament in The Hague. It was the first ever demonstration against homophobia in the Netherlands.

The signs refer to paragraph 248bis of the Dutch criminal law. Then, for heterosexuals it was legal to have sex at 16 years of age, but for homosexuals only after 21 years. The signs called that paternalistic and demanded a law, equal for all. The campaign was succesful. In 1971, paragraph 248bis was abolished. Police until then had arrested 5,000 people to enforce it.

Remarkable progress in a relatively short time. A few years before, in 1962 there had still been an article in Vrij Nederland weekly praising electrical torture of gay men to ‘convert‘ them to heterosexuality. In Vrij Nederland: considered a liberal voice in the Dutch media.

In 1968, a year before the The Hague demonstration, the Leidse Studentenwerkgroep Homoseksualiteit (LSWHl; Leiden Student Working Group Homosexuality) had been founded at Leiden university. Not everyone liked that: a university bigwig asked: What next? A Sadism Working Group?

The LSWH organised parties. One of them was ‘Flikkers voor Vietnam‘, ‘Perverts for Vietnam‘. The money made by organising that party went to medical care for Vietnamese victims of United States bombs.

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Dutch Leiden slavery history


This 6 November 2017 Dutch video is about the new book Sporen van de slavernij in Leiden, Traces of slavery in Leiden.

The history of Dutch city Leiden at first sight seems to have little to do with slavery. Already since the 16th century, slavery was illegal in the Netherlands itself; though legal in the overseas colonies until 1863. The ships of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade departed from seaboard harbours; inland Leiden did not have such a harbour. The slogan of Leiden University was and is: Praesidium Libertatis, bulwark of freedom. Slavery surely does not agree with that?

However, recently a book came out, Sporen van de slavernij in Leiden. The book is by Leiden historians Karwan Fatah-Black and Geert Oostindie.

Leiden citizen Johannes de Laet was one of the founders of the transatlantic slave trading Dutch West India Company (WIC), founded in 1621. The Leiden city government invested so much money in that company that it was represented on the WIC board.

Hugo de Groot in Leiden Groot Auditorium

The Couderc-Temming couple were rich slave owners in 18th century colonial Suriname. After her husband died, widow Johanna Baldina Temming moved to Leiden. She had three servants there. One of them free; two others slaves. Not legal; but it still was like that.

How about Leiden university?

This photo shows a stained glass window in the Groot Auditorium, the most important hall of Leiden university. It shows famous Dutch jurist Hugo de Groot (Grotius, 1583-1645), who studied law at Leiden university. In his hands, his book De juri belli ac pacis. In that book, De Groot defended slavery.

Hugo de Groot was not by any means the last ex-Leiden student defending slavery.

Thomas Hees, with his nephews and African slave

This 1687 painting by Michiel van Musscher depicts diplomat Thomas Hees, who had studied philosophy and medicine in Leiden. It also depicts Hees’ two nephews and, in the background, ‘Thomas the negro’, his African slave.

Samuel Arnoldus Coerman, born in Curaçao, studied law in Leiden. In Dutch law, there was no difference between black and white people. Coerman went back to Curaçao as public prosecutor, intending to make that law work. However, the practice of the Curaçao slavery-based society and its court soon disillusioned him. He went back to Leiden, where he died in 1821, 41 years old.

Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (1798-1872) studied at Leiden university and later became a professor there. He became the leader of the Dutch liberal party and managed to limit the power of the monarchy and increase the power of parliament in 1848, when revolutions all over Europe scared the king into making concessions.

However, Thorbecke was not as progressive on slavery as on the parliament-monarchy relationship. He saw slaves mainly as property, and according to his bourgeois liberalism, property was sacrosanct.

Many botanical garden visitors


175,000th visitors of the year 2017 welcomed, photo by Stefanie Uit den Boogaard

The botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands reports that on 28 November 2017 the 175,000th visitors of the year arrived; Ms Petra Martens and Ms Ghislaine Melman. They got beautiful flowers from the management as their welcome.

Not in any year before so many people had visited the garden.

Ancient Assyria exhibition


This 20 November 2017 video from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden in the Netherlands is about their new exhibition. It is about Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire; which about 700 BC was the biggest city in the world.

25 March 2018 will be the last day of this exhibition.

Birds, bee, Karl Marx and architecture


Canal, Leiden, 13 August 2017

As this blog reported before, on 13 March 2017 we went to the botanical garden. We walked back along the same canal where we had seen a herring gull couple earlier that day. All photos in this blog post are macro photos.

Coot, 13 August 2017

There were birds now as well: the parent coot we had seen earlier, with its two youngsters, one older than the other one. The parent coot stood on a boat.

Mute swan youngster, 13 August 2017

A group of adult and young mute swans passed.

Karl Marx, 13 August 2017

A bit further, we met Karl Marx. Not the person, but the small boat named after him.

Leiden, 13 August 2017

We went left along another canal.

Doelenpoort, 13 August 2017

We passed the 17th century Doelenpoort gate.

Butterfly-bush, 13 August 2017

Finally, we passed a butterfly-bush with a bee on it.

Leiden botanical garden plants


Drynaria pleuridioides, 13 August 2017

As this blog mentioned, on 13 August 2017 we saw the carnivorous plants exhibition in the botanical garden in Leiden. Outside the exhibition hall were interesting plants as well. Like this Drynaria pleuridioides, which is a species from Asia, and other fern species in one of the hothouses.

Drynaria pleuridioides, on 13 August 2017

All photos in this blog post are macro lens photos.

Bulbophyllum medusae, 13 August 2017

Another species in the hothouses was Asian as well; an orchid, not a fern: Bulbophyllum medusae.

Among other orchids in the hothouses were Trichoglossis geminata and Dendrobium bracteosum.

Yet another species in the hothouses was not a plant at all, but an insect: giant prickly stick insects from Australia were still present.

Sacred lotus, 13 August 2017

Outside, there was a small pond in the Chinese garden. Sacred lotus growing there.

Sacred lotus flower, 13 August 2017

With sacred lotus flowers …

Sacred lotus ex-flower, 13 August 2017

sacred lotus ex-flowers …

Sacred lotus bud, 13 August 2017

and sacred lotus buds.

Botanical garden, 13 August 2017

A bit further, a speckled wood butterfly.

We went back from the botanical garden, and saw some birds. So, stay tuned!

Carnivorous plant exhibition


Sarracenia, 13 August 2017

As this blog wrote before, on 13 August 2017 we arrived at the carnivorous plants exhibition in Leiden botanical garden. Where we saw this Sarracenia, a North American plant. Among the species at the exhibition were Sarracenia oreophila, Sarracenia eva and Sarracenia leucophila.

Sarracenia, on 13 August 2017

All photos in this blog post are macro photos.

Drosera binata, 13 August 2017

There were Drosera carnivorous plants as well, like this Drosera binata from Australia.

Drosera binata, on 13 August 2017

And this one.

Drosera binata, Leiden, 13 August 2017

Drosera capensis and many others were present as well.

Carnivorous plant, 13 August 2017

Also at the exhibition was Nepenthes ampullaria from Asia. Though related to carnivorous plants, it is not really carnivorous itself. It does not produce enzymes to digest insects, but formic acid to digest fern leaves.

Carnivorous plant, on 13 August 2017

We went to the exit of the carnivorous plants exhibition hall, to see the rest of the botanical garden. Stay tuned!