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Arabs in the West

Native speakers of oriental languages in the Dutch Republic (1600-1700)

Arabs in the West is an exhibition about the contribution of ‘oriental’ travellers to the academic study of oriental languages in the Dutch Republic, and to Dutch collections of manuscripts from their part of the world. The personal contacts between scholars in the Republic and their Muslim, Jewish and Eastern Orthodox Christian correspondents facilitated a more realistic and objective view of the Arab world.

You will find a selection of high-resolution images of documents shown at the exhibition ‘Wijzen uit het oosten/Arabs in the West’, which was held in the Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, June 23-September 20, 2016, as part of the triptych Ontmoetingen met de Oriënt (Encounters with the Orient).


Turbans on the Dam

Turbans on the Dam

Johannes Lingelbach, The Dam, 1656. Lingelbach painted the Dam square of Amsterdam, with the new city hall under construction, as the centre of world trade. To the right of the Waag [Weighing House] are three Middle Eastern merchants.

Amsterdam Museum.

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The exhibition was initiated by Gerard Wiegers in the context of the Encounters with the Orient research-project, and realised in close collaboration with Leiden University, the University of Amsterdam’s Special Collections department and the Allard Pierson Museum.

Guest-curator: Dorrit van Dalen.

Advisers: Jan Schmidt, Arnoud Vrolijk, Hüseyin Sen.

Responsible for Online Exhibition: Jan Loop (Kent) in collaboration with Information Services, University of Kent.

With thanks to: Ayhan Aytes, Clara ten Berge, Wilfred de Graaf, Hilary Kilpatrick, Gerald J. Toomer, the John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester, University Libraries Leiden, University Libraries Amsterdam, Regional Archive Leiden en Omstreken.

A special issue of Lias, Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and Its Sources accompanies the exhibition. It features the article from which translations of the letters of Niqulaus ibn Butrus were taken, and an article on ͑ Abd al-͑ Azīz and Theunisz:

Hilary Kilpatrick and Gerald J. Toomer, 'Niqulawus al-Halabi (c.1611-c.1661): a Greek Orthodox Syrian Copyist and his Letters to Pococke and Golius', in Lias. Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and Its Sources, vol. 43 no. 1, 2016. pp 1-160.

Dorrit van Dalen, ‘Theunisz and ‘Abd al-‘Azīz: a friendship in Arabic Studies, 1609-1610’ in Lias. Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and Its Sources, vol. 43 no. 1, 2016. pp 161-189.

Dorrit van Dalen and Gerard Wiegers, Wise Men from the East


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