From Olinda to Holland


While browsing online, I found the following quote (read more, PT) from the year 1630:

Friar Antonio Rosado, from the Order of the Patriarch of Saint Dominics, visitor from the Holy Office, gave, in the pulpit, a sermon that pronounced: “[…] from Olinda to Holland there is nothing more than the changing of an i with an a, and this village of Olinda must be moved to Holland, and it must be embraced by the Dutch before many days; because there’s isn’t enough justice on earth, there must be help from heaven.”

That, in turn, made me curious about the phrase “de Olinda a Olanda”, and that’s when I found the thesis (then book) mentioned below, to which I’ve added the English abstract:


“The theme of this dissertation is the circulation of people, objects and knowledge between Portuguese America and The Netherlands in the seventeenth century. Its aim is to understand how knowledge about the New World was assembled in seventeenth century Holland. This process of assembling colonial knowledge had already begun in the sixteenth century, when Flemish and Dutch merchants traded sugar and other goods on South American coasts. It gained momentum, however, after the establishment of a Dutch colony in the northeastern coast of Brazil in 1630.

In order to understand how the colonial encounters and the exchange of objects helped to create and shape Dutch knowledge about the New World, this dissertation presents an analysis of the collection of curiosities owned by count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679), who was governor-general to the Dutch colony in Brazil between 1637 and 1644.

In that period, Nassau assembled a private collection that included natural species, artifacts, and visual representations of the colony’s natural world, landscape, and inhabitants. Therefore, in this dissertation we attempted to identify, as far as possible, which objects composed the collection, how Nassau acquired them and, more importantly, the meanings and usages ascribed to the count’s collection. This research relied on the remaining objects that comprised Nassau’s collection, which are today scattered in European museums and libraries. Likewise, books about the New World published in Holland; journals and reports written by people who were in Brazil in the service of Nassau or of the Dutch West India Company; and correspondence and narratives by members of the Dutch court were used as sources. The conclusions presented in this dissertation refer to the way through which Nassau conducted his political carrier in Europe after and because of his experience in Brazil, as well as to the dynamic nature of the construction of colonial knowledge, composed of layers of experiences.”

Here’s a preview (PT) of the first 20 pages.


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