Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Dutch city of Rotterdam opens Erasmus museum

A museum dedicated to one of the most famous former residents of Rotterdam, writer and theologian Desiderius Erasmus, was opened by the Dutch city’s mayor on Tuesday.

Erasmus, whose real name was Gerrit Gerritszoon, was born on October 27 over 640 years ago. One of the most influential books written by Erasmus was Lof der Zotheid (The Praise of Folly) which is well known to scholars around the world.
The Erasmus museum is being opened in advance of 2011, which has been designated Erasmus year.

It is hoped too that the museum will increase knowledge about the writer in his native city. Last year a poll showed that 65 percent of the local population thought that Erasmus is the designer of the city’s imposing Erasmus bridge.
The city has a university and a hospital named after Erasmus, but unlike the Rembrandt house in Amsterdam or the Beethoven house in Bonn in Germany, until now the Rotterdam writer has not had a museum dedicated to his life and influence.

Historians are still quarrelling about where Erasmus was born. Some believe his birthplace was actually the nearby but much smaller city of Gouda. However, there is general agreement that the famous theologian and writer spent his formative years in Rotterdam.

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