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Rising Tide: What We Can Learn from the Dutch and their Relationship with Water

A Series of Lectures, Films and Special Events Fall 2015: October 7 – November 19

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A Series of Lectures, Films and Special Events
Fall 2015: October 7 – November 19
Montclair State University presents a series of lectures, film screenings and discussions exploring the Dutch and their uneasy relationship with water, as well as what New Jersey can learn from the Dutch experience in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, the program will address related themes such as the Dutch Republic, a former maritime power, and its legacy in New Jersey and New York, and the history of human understanding regarding the sea and natural disasters from a local and global perspective.

Organized By

Montclair State University’s College of Science and Mathematics (CSAM), Harry A. Sprague Library, Global Education Center, College of the Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, WMSC Radio, and the Office of Civic Engagement.

This series was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Additional support has been provided by The Netherlands Consulate General in New York, the Montclair Public Library, the Montclair Historical Society, Greener Bloomfield, the Montclair Environmental Commission, the MSU PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies, the Jacob Leisler Institute and Montclair TV34.

Schedule of Events

  • Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 p.m.
    Cali School of Music, Leshowitz Recital Hall
    A Symphony for our Planet and Global Environment
    New York-based Dutch composer Johan de Meij discusses, performs and screens some of his signature pieces, including his award-winning Symphony No. 3, Planet Earth.
  • October 9 through November 19, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Lobby
    Reflections of Holland: A Digital Photo Exhibit of Water in everyday Dutch Life
    “Reflections of Holland” is a continuous digital exhibit displaying photos that explore the role of water in Dutch life. The photographer, Dr. Peter Siegel, Chairman of MSU’s Anthropology Department, has visited Holland twice in recent years, once as a Fulbright scholar and another as a visiting professor. Each time he spent a semester collaborating and teaching in the Caribbean Research Group, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.
  • Monday, October 12, 2:00 p.m.
    Crane House, 110 Orange Road, Montclair, N.J.
    New Netherland and the Dutch Legacy in New Jersey
    Author and historian Firth Fabend (author of Zion on the Hudson and New Netherland in a Nutshell) recounts the early Dutch settlements of New Netherland located in Northern and Southern New Jersey and discusses their long-term impact on the state.
  • Wednesday, October 14, 7:00 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    Living with Water: A History of Holland’s Unique Experience with the Sea
    Author and journalist Tracy Metz (author of Sweet & Salt: Water and the Dutch) traces the evolution of the Dutch relationship with water. Early on, the sea was perceived as something to be defied in a continuing battle of survival. Time and experience convinced the Netherlands that coexistence made more sense.
  • Thursday, October 15, 7:00 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    Delta Works: The Massive Water Project Born Out of the 1953 North Sea Flood
    Author and journalist Tracy Metz gives an account of one of the most devastating floods in Dutch history, the 1953 North Sea Flood. As a result of that tragedy, Holland set about constructing the network of dams, sluices, dikes and barriers known as the Delta Works.
  • Monday, October 19, 2:00 p.m.
    Montclair Public Library, 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, N.J.
    All That is Blue: A Reading of Select Works by Author Pia de Jong
    Author Pia de Jong (author of Long Days and Fear of Depth) reads from her short story All That is Blue along with other select works. Afterward, the author and Landon Jones (author of Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation) discuss how the sea has influenced her writing as well as Dutch literature in general.
  • Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    Preparing for the Next Superstorm: Where Do We Stand Three Years After Sandy?
    Meiyin Wu (Montclair State University) looks at the steps taken by New Jersey officials and groups to prepare for the next superstorm and assesses how well they have tackled issues identified three years ago. Afterward, Dr. Wu and Dr. William Thomas (Montclair State University) discuss the sociopolitical implications of her talk.
  • Thursday, October 22, 5:00 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    Film Screening and Lecture
    Escaping the Flood
    Neeraj Vedwan (Montclair State University) provides a cultural interpretation of the film Escaping the Flood which describes one family’s odyssey as they discover that their Dutch village will be flooded in 50 years. After the screening, there will be a discussion of the film.
  • Monday, October 26, 6:15 p.m.
    Dickson Hall, Cohen Lounge
    Trial By Water: The Sea and the Dutch National Character
    John Roney (Sacred Heart University) examines the development and molding of the Dutch national character in response to the challenges posed by their struggle with the sea and the constant threat of flooding.
  • Tuesday, October 27, 6:00 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    Panel Session
    The Dutch Way in Hoboken: A Rotterdam Design Firm’s Plan to Protect the City from the Next Superstorm
    A panel consisting of Eric Stern (Montclair State University), Henk Ovink (Kingdom of the Netherlands), Daniel Pittman (OMA Design), Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Hoboken) and John Boule (Dewberry) discusses the winning proposal submitted by Dutch firm OMA for redesigning Hoboken’s waterfront to secure the city from flooding and minimize water damage inflicted by a natural disaster.
  • Thursday, October 29, 6:15 p.m.
    Dickson Hall, Cohen Lounge
    The History, Archaeology and Social Context of the Van Reyper-Bond House in Upper Montclair
    Dr. Peter Siegel (Montclair State University) describes a recent archaeological excavation of the grounds surrounding the Van Reyper/Bond House on the campus of Montclair State University. The excavation revealed a wealth of artifacts related to the life of a typical Dutch-American family in the Dutch community of Speertown (later known as Upper Montclair).
  • Monday, November 2, 6:30 p.m.
    Dickson Hall, Cohen Lounge
    The Netherlands, New Amsterdam, and the Origins of Modern America
    David Voorhees (Jacob Leisler Institute) will discuss the history of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (which became New York City) and summarize how this port city and the Dutch Republic left a lasting impression on the country that it helped spawn. Dutch values like tolerance, religious freedom and diversity strongly influenced the fledgling nation.
  • Thursday, November 5, 6:30 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    The Sand Engine: An Innovative Approach to Creating a Natural Water Barrier
    Karel Heijnert (Deltares USA Inc.) explains the advantages of using a natural water barrier to keep the sea in check. The Sand Engine concept is similar to creating a man-made island or offshore peninsula to deflect currents and wash the sand into existing beaches and sand dunes to build up existing flood defenses.
  • Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    Film Screening and Lecture
    Remembering Holland
    Henry Luttikhuizen (Calvin College) provides some historical background on the influence of “water” on Dutch art. The film captures the powerful effect of the River Waal on Dutch artists and writers. A discussion will follow.
  • Thursday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.
    Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Room 120
    The Power of the Sea: A History of Man’s Quest to Predict Storm Surges, Floods and Other Marine Catastrophes
    Bruce Parker (Stevens Institute of Technology) traces the historical development of man’s scientific understanding of the complexity of the sea and related natural phenomena including the ability to predict storm surges, floods and other marine disasters.

For further information please call 973-655-4448 or visit the Rising Tide website at

Directions: Montclair State University is located on Valley Road and Normal Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey. The main entrance is on Normal Avenue.