A club without a clubhouse

President José van Dijck

How much longer is it going to take? We have been hearing this question on a regular basis recently from members or employees who, from the windows at the rear of the Trippenhuis, can see how the Tinbergen Room is becoming separated from the surrounding buildings. The demolition work is still in full swing and the disturbance – to staff and members, but also to nearby residents – is a matter of concern for the Academy Board.

The Dutch Central Government Real Estate Agency [Rijksvastgoedbedrijf], the owner and project manager, has sworn to us that ‘reconstruction’ can start at the end of March, but so far the timetable for the building process has had to be adjusted several times. We are doing everything in our power to inform and accommodate those who are suffering the most inconvenience as a result of the construction work, but we cannot make it more pleasant. At present it looks as if, at best, it will be possible to use the room again at the beginning of 2019.

A club without a clubhouse has to find other ways of surviving its temporary displacement. Luckily, most members have now found their way to the Amsterdam Public Library [Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA)] and we have also used a number of alternative locations such as the Royal Industrieele Groote Club on Damrak and the Dutch East India Company room [VOC-zaal] in the buildings of the University of Amsterdam on the opposite side of Kloveniersburgwal. We are trying to accommodate the wishes of members as best we can. If you have any recommendations or tips on how to use the rooms better or about other spaces to try, we would be happy to hear them.

Luckily, an impaired clubhouse does not appear to lead to an impairment of club spirit. We are pleased to note that the domains and advisory councils established last year are now going ‘full steam ahead’. We have had a few exceptionally interesting domain afternoons, such as the afternoon of the Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences and Law Domain (GMRW) on climate change and behaviour, and the recent afternoon of the Medical, Biomedical and Health Sciences Domain (MMGB) on replication research. And we are also gradually seeing more convergence in the various activities of domains and advisory councils. We will also soon be following up on the suggestion from the committee chaired by Pim Levelt to organise emeritus meetings. The first of these meetings, on ancient Jewish inscriptions, was on 19 March. In addition to emeritus professors, all other members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Young Academy and the Society of Arts are of course also welcome. 

Academy Fund

We also want to help boost our club spirit a little more by transforming the wide variety of instruments that the Academy has for funding activities – the Academy Colloquia, the Conference Grant Fund, the Visiting Professors Fund and the Academy Members Meetings Fund – into a clearly understandable set of funding possibilities. At the end of March, an advisory committee consisting of domain directors led by Jan Willem Gunning will consider how the patchwork of small grants can be deployed more effectively in order to strengthen the Academy’s substantive focus and domain-based activities. This committee will advise the Academy Board on a target or targets for an Academy Fund that is to be created, for which a maximum of 500,000 euros will be available annually from 2019.

It is hoped that the Academy Fund will bring new impetus and added value to the joint activities of the domains, councils and members. So we hope that once the reconstructed entrance and Tinbergen Room have been delivered at the end of 2018, our club spirit will be stronger than ever!

José van Dijck