Roosevelt Study Center
The Roosevelt Study Center is a research institute, conference center, and library on twentieth-century American history located in the twelfth-century Abbey of Middelburg, the Netherlands. It is named after three famous Americans, whose ancestors emigrated from Zeeland, the Netherlands, to the United States in the seventeenth century: President Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), and Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962).
History and activities
The late Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., noted American historian, and William J. vanden Heuvel, then president of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, New York, were the Founding Fathers of the Roosevelt Study Center (RSC). They thought that Middelburg, capital city of Zeeland, was an excellent place for the establishment of a European research facility specialized in twentieth-century American history. Their initiative, discussed with the Provincial Government of Zeeland in the years 1982-1984 resulted in the opening of the Roosevelt Study Center in 1986. The RSC is subsidized by the Provincial Government of Zeeland and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Private corporations and institutions sponsor particular programs of the RSC.
The RSC cooperates with Dutch universities in research projects, as well as with the Theodore Roosevelt Association and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in various ways. The center, for instance, annually awards the best Master Thesis on American History with the Theodore Roosevelt American History Award (TRAHA), which grants the winner a trip to the key sites of interest of the Roosevelts .
Furthermore, the RSC is also regularly organizer and host of conferences and lectures on U.S. history and culture as well as on European-U.S. relations .
The RSC is a founding member of the American Studies Network, a cooperation of the twenty outstanding American Studies Centers
in Europe . It has an annual newsletter, The Roosevelt Herald, and an inhouse publications series. Monographs written by RSC staff and collections of essays based on RSC conferences edited by RSC staff have been published over the years by publishing houses in Europe and the United States.
Collections and research
While the extensive book collection, with more than 8500 entries, can be searched by use of an online catalogue , the Roosevelt Study Center also owns more than a hundred microfilm collections and digital resources, which are listed on the Center's homepage under the "Collections" section .
Researchers in American History, Culture, or Dutch-American relations, are strongly advised to contact the RSC to make an appointment for visiting the library. The Roosevelt Study Center offers two kinds of grants for stimulating research in Middelburg : the Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair is meant for American scholars, while the RSC research grants enable European scholars and students to research various topics related to U.S. history at the Roosevelt Study Center without crossing the Atlantic. European graduate students can also apply for a travel grant at the European Association for American Studies, the EAAS travel grant .
Four Freedoms Awards
Since 1982, the year that commemorated the centennial of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's birth and the bicentennial of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Netherlands, The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medals are awarded in even-numbered years in Middelburg's Abbey and in odd-numbered years in Hyde Park, New York. These prestigious medals are awarded to men and women who have demonstrated an enduring commitment to the four principle freedoms as expressed by President Franklin Roosevelt in his State of the Union Message of January 6, 1941: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from want, and Freedom from fear.
The laureates of the Four Freedoms Awards in Middelburg include:
- H.R.H. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands
- His Holiness The Dalai Lama
- Václav Havel
- The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu
- Nelson Mandela
- Kofi Annan
- Mohammed ElBaradei
For more information, visit the Roosevelt Stichting's website .