CERVANTES BENELUX ENGLAND
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I saw the programme on BBC1. You are completely on my line love.
Completely! By confirming my letter to the Secretary of Justice
the payment of the government can be realized and I will be able
to pay her a second salary as one of the new managers of the organization.
This will also be the case with Peter. He is a fighter and I think
he understands this message very well. Peter, Elizabeth and me
are the nucleous of the so called 'Delta network', surrounded
in former days by members of criminal organizations. Now these
people have to face their own responsibilities in our society.
Not only the children of Angola are to have a future. Our children
as well. As far as I can see you have made great progress already
in finishing with the excess lumber in your life. I followed the
television programme of yesterday with great attention and interest.
You started to work a new job helping to change this world already.
You showed the Mirror to the world. They can look in it. You started
creating happiness in the hearts of the people of Angola.
The 25th of January I showed your photograph
to the Angolan boys in Utrecht and inmediately they started to
sing, make music and dance and they could not stop. That's what
you did! I also heard the reactions of politicians. Of course
you are not a loose cannon. As the mother of the King you have
nothing to do with party politics. I can not understand that politicians
in your country involve themselves in what you are doing. They
have to take their own responsibilities. You set an extremely
important example however to highlight the problem. Indeed these
children are to have a future. Like any other child. As a matter
of fact my special wish is to do the same work as you are doing.
Put the ideas of Cervantes into practice as expressed by don Quijote
according to the text of the speech I prepared last year in occasion
of the visit of King Juan
Carlos to our country on the 11th of May last year.
I sent the text in Dutch and Spanish to
the secretary of the Roosevelt
Foundation, who was responsible for the organization of the
Four Freedoms Award. The translation is as follows:
Concerning the relationship between
Heydanus, Erasmus and Cervantes I have the honour to tell You
the following story. During many ages the people of the Iberian
continent has been fighting a long struggle of more than seven
centuries against the representatives of a culture who had occupied
the actual Spanish territory. From the small areas of León
and Old Castile the authentical inhabitants started the combat
to reconquest their right to express themselves freely and to
be able to live according to the norms of their own faith.
Also from our regions representatives
of the noble families rushed into their defense. I can limitate
myself by mentionning the names of Charles Martel and Charles
the Great, but there were more who remain relatively hidden in
history of European society.
At this historical moment we
find ourselves on a historical place that evoques the thought
of the existance of the powerful noble families of the Heydenrijk,
the Western European civilization of the sixth and seventh century.
In this town Middelburg we remind for example a descendant of
that civilization, Man of State Gaspar van der Heyden, also called
During the government of Emperor
Charles V Gaspar van der Heyden was born in 1530 in Mechelen,
between Antwerp and BRUSSELS,
as the son of the noble family of Hainault. Just like the christians
from Your country were convinced of the truth of the norms of
their faith Gaspar must have felt dat convictions are a product
of the cultures giving us our right of existance. From the first
confrontation with the spiritual values of the roman church until
his death in 1586 Heydanus dedicated his whole life on the defense
of the convictions of the inhabitants of our low countries and
became the founder of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands.
Perhaps superfluous to mention
that his initiatives caused the Dutch-Spanish conflict of 1568
till 1648. From 1566 till 1578 Heydanus had his residence here
in Middelburg. He was a good friend of Prince William of Orange
and Marnix of Saint Aldegonde, the writer of our national anthem.
On the 12th of June 1575 Gaspar was a witness at the marriage
of Prince William and Princess Charlotte de Bourbon.
A spiritual ancestor of Gaspar
van der Heyden was Erasmus of ROTTERDAM
(1465-1536). He had a very good relationship with Spain. He ever
said: "I owe more to Spain than to my allies and which other
nation however". The proclamation at that time of the Unity
of Religion by the Catholic King and Queen although caused the
rejection of his books. Erasmus had manifested himself as the
advocate of a dared ideal of religious freedom: he preached an
internalized christianity that should abandon dogmas, ceremonies
Between 1522 and 1525 Spanish
erasmism was born. After having established Emperor Charles V
in Valladolid in 1522 the Spanish philosophers Vergara, Gattinara
and Valdés became strongly under the influence of Erasmus.
In Spain particularly the erasmian ideas about the law of love
and peace found a response. Erasmism reaped its most important
triumphs in Alcalá de Henares. In 1525 the printer of Alcalá
printed the most important works of Erasmus, like the Enquiridion
or the Handbook for the Christian Knight. In 1508 Erasmus already
wrote his Praise of Lunacy.
In the same city of Alcalá
de Henares in the year 1547 the famous writer don Miguel de Cervantes
y Saavedra was born, just like Heydanus as the son of a noble
family. Their will not be any doubt that the thoughts of Erasmus
have considerably influenced the spirit of don Miguel.
From 1559 the Council of the
Inquisition forbid the greatest part of the religious works of
Erasmus and many erasmists were convicted to prison and even to
the stake. In that atmosphere Cervantes - with his critical mind
- evidently could not express his erasmian ideas in the open.
Although Cervantes lived some time later the power of the Inquisition
still remained considerable. Consequently it was very probable
that Cervantes exposed his ideas in his Don Quijote under the
cover of the lunacy of his main character. A similar idea we also
find in the Praise of Lunacy of Erasmus. In this booklet lunacy
talks and says:
"The truth is hated by
kings. But with my lunes it is just so curious, that not only
true observations, but even direct terms of abuse are heard at
with pleasure; yes, the same declaration produced by the mouth
of a wise man, that would have cost him his head, produces, heard
from a lune, incredible pleasure."
If the personalities that surrounded don Quijote not had held
him for a lune, don Quijote would have landed in prison on the
The erasmism of Cervantes can
fairly well derive from a direct approach to and a thorough contemplation
on the work of Erasmus, since Cervantes was a pupil of the Madrilan
humanist Juan López de Hoyos, who quoted the name of Erasmus
in 1569, ten years after the index of inquisitor Valdés.
The Praise of Lunacy dealt with
universal madness. It was the satyre on the ideals and human illusions.
In this booklet Erasmus ridiculized the noble ideals at the time
and honoured lunacy. This way he expressed that passion leads
to madness, that this madness causes a vital impulse, so much
that this could contribute to the progress of the world. This
social problem of the end of the fifteenth century we also see
reflected in the don Quijote. The passion of don Quijote to read
romances of chivalry made him mad and on a certain moment he took
the decision, or: he received the vital impulse to travel around
the world to attack every injustice, to put right what is wrong
and to protect widows and orphans.
Cervantes introduced in the Quijote
the duality of the most supreme and the ridiculous, that Erasmus
had labelled as essential characteristic of lunacy. In the supreme
illusion of the madness of don Quijote we find the highest possible
ideals of christian humanism, such as charity and inner devotion
and still much more which is to be found in the Enquiridion. The
Enquiridion was translated in Castillian in 1524 and the success
was so great that no other religious book ever had found its equal
since the introduction of the art of printing in Spain. It appeared
in 1526 with the inquisitorial approval of don Alonso Manrique.
In this book Erasmus invited
everyone to let to be born in him or herself a new human being.
The christian knight, whose ideal image he painted, had to go
his way with invulnerable armour, shining in power and faith.
He had to ride his horse with open vision and not paying attention
on death. The most essential characteristic of christianity was
according to Erasmus rule five of the Enquiridion, in which he
stated 'that one should pay little attention to all visible
matters and how good it is to direct ourselves always to the invisible
things". According to Desiderius Erasmus one had to raise
from the flesh to the spirit, from the visible to the understandable
and to get into practice the ideas of the spirit. Thoughts that
have not lost their actual value.
We find still more influences
of Erasmus in the thoughts of don Miguel, like the pastoral ideal,
the moral fantasy, the probability of the fantasies, popular wisdom,
the ideal of simpleness and the ethics to be prepared to forgiveness
and resignation. Cervantes designed an own vision of the world,
based on expressions of people of all parts of society. Cervantes
based his vision on the world on what him appeared to be and not
on uniform objectivities. Cervantes and Erasmus strengthen themselves
for the spontaneous right, a critical attitude against reality,
traces of subjectivity, the autonomous use of sense, both concerning
secular as sacral matters, the from individual virtue dependant
honour and the free will.
What is the significance
of the situation for nowadays?
The free will and freedom of opinion form the basic conditions
for the development of the European Union. A new European faith
is necessary for our youth and new norms, based on ethics, integrity
and human dignity. The Dutch Spanish conflict ended in 1648 with
the Treaty of Munster. The contacts between our countries diminished,
but many Dutch hispanists remained the contact with Your country
and educated many Dutch speaking people to be a teacher in Spanish
in the Netherlands, inclusive Belgium. Thanks to their contribution
from 1998 Spanish will be accepted officially in the educational
system of our country. Exactly 350 years after the Treaty of Munster.
At the same time we need to open a labour market for our future
Your presence here, as the Sovereign who restored democracy in
Spain, is a prove of the strong relationship we have, the coronation
of the ideas of Cervantes, Erasmus and Heydanus and point of departure
for a future fertile collaboration. I hope to meet You in the
year 2000. Thank you
King Juan Carlos could not give
me a place in the ceremony of the Four Freedoms Award. He had
to choose for the traditional protocol, but I congratulate YOU
on your first television programme about Angola in which I see
reflected all the ideas expressed above. It gives me the conviction
that We share the same ideas and that you and I are even so worried
about intolorance as Erasmus, Cervantes and Heydanus and I even
will add their English spiritual partner Thomas More.
Looking to myself. That is what
I want. Travelling around the world. My highest wish is to do
the same work as you do and doing it together. You express yourself
perfectly in English. I can do it in Spanish. And of course stick
to my core business: helping you with the education of your children.
That will remain my ultimate goal. The price that I have to pay
is that I must hand over the building of the Institute to other
people. Of course I will not give up my rights, but the company
can be run by good managers, starting by a good Commercial Manager
Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, England and Wales, Elizabeth
as the sub director England and Wales and Peter as the sub director
Benelux, for example. George called this morning that his mother
in law has been taken into hospital and our conversation of today
has to be postponed. He calls back tomorrow. Nevertheless I will
go to Schiphol this afternoon and discuss the issue with the management
of Schiphol Airport. I am prepared to pay a price by leaving the
management of the company to other people. But first of all someone
else has to pay the price: the Dutch Government. I am not responsible
for drugs trade and killing people in our country. THEY are. And
so they have to pay the bill. Like you did for me. Now it is their
FEBRUARY 1997 MEETING AT AMSTERDAM AIRPORT
INSTITUTO CERVANTES BENELUX is legally registered at the Benelux Trade
deposit numbers 0508277 and 843323 in class 41: education, trainings
and courses and is a tradename of the Foundation
in Nijmegen, registered under number 41211928
of the Chamber of Commerce of Amsterdam (IBAN: NL91INGB0004729266
is registered for England and Wales under Company No. 3300636
INSTITUTO CERVANTES BENELUX está legalmente depositado
comercial en el
registro de marcas del Benelux-Bureau
voor de Intellectuele Eigendom bajo los números de depósito 0508277
y 843323 en clase 41: educación, enseñanza y cursos
y es un nombre comercial de la Fundación Stichting
en Nimega, inscrito bajo número 41211928
de la Cámara de Comercios en Amsterdam (IBAN: NL91INGB0004729266 BIC: INGBNL2A).
is registered for England and Wales under Company No. 3300636
INSTITUTO CERVANTES BENELUX is als handelsmerk wettig gedeponeerd bij het Benelux
Bureau voor de Intellectuele Eigendom onder depotnummers 0508277 en 843323 in klasse
41: onderwijs, opleidingen en cursussen en is een handelsnaam
van de Stichting
te Nijmegen, ingeschreven onder nummer 41211928
van de Kamer
van Koophandel te Amsterdam
(IBAN: NL91INGB0004729266 BIC: INGBNL2A). Instituto
is registered for England and Wales under Company No. 3300636