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An Amsterdam Cortege

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Chapter Summary

A recurrent motif in the historiography of Amsterdam Athenaeum is the notion that the period 1632-1649 marked its golden age, followed by an era of decline. There is little proof of the practical applicability of education offered by the Athenaeum. The criterion for recruitment and preservation of professors in the first period was mainly prestige; in the second period their place of origin. In the third period these elements were of equal importance. The professors of philosophy formed the backbone of Athenaeum during this period, and compensated for a series of failures in the chairs of language and history. It was only at the beginning of eighteenth century that the situation became unmanageable, due partly to an unexpected loss of professors from Athenaeum, and partly to a crisis in higher education of the Republic, during which all universities struggled with declining numbers of students, coinciding with a general economic decline.

Keywords: Amsterdam Athenaeum; economic decline; higher education; philosophy; prestige; professors; recruitment; universities



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