« Anchored In Hope

Visiting Scholar to Discuss Dutch-American Entrepreneurs

by Dan Cash

HOLLAND – Dr. Peter Ester, who is a social scientist and professor at Rotterdam University and a Dutch Senator, will present “Dutch American Entrepreneurs” and “Dutch Politics” on Monday, July 29, at 7 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at Holland City Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Ester is speaking at locations across the United States through the 2013 Netherland-America Foundation (NAF) Lecture Tour.  His visit to Holland is co-sponsored by the A.C. Van Raalte Institute at Hope College and the Dutch Heritage Coordinating Council.

Ester is the author of “Faith, Family & Fortune.  Reformed Upbringing and Calvinist Values of Highly Successful Dutch-American Entrepreneurs,” published by the A.C. Van Raalte Institute’s Van Raalte Press in 2012.  He was an adjunct research professor at the institute from 2008 to 2011, while conducting research for the book.

In the first part of his presentation, Ester will consider the cultural roots of the success of the Dutch-American entrepreneurs who founded companies such as Amway, Herman Miller, Meijer and Prince Manufacturing, with an emphasis on the relationship between immigration, culture, religion and entrepreneurship.  He will subsequently comment on recent political developments in the Netherlands and will share his experiences as a participant in the inauguration of King Willem Alexander in April.

Ester has published numerous books and scholarly articles on social and economic issues and on Dutch-American culture.  As a senator, he is a member of the Upper House of the Dutch parliament.  He is also a former Crown Member of the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER).

Prior to his visit to Holland, Ester will have spoken at the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York City.  Following his appearance in West Michigan, he will continue the tour in Chicago, Ill., and San Francisco, Calif.

The Netherland-America Foundation, which is based in New York City, seeks to strengthen the bonds of friendship and appreciation between the two nations through exchange in the arts, culture, education, business and policy-making. The foundation’s mission is supported by donations from individual and corporate donors to provide grants for dance, chamber music, jazz, historic preservation and architecture, visiting professorships and educational exchange.

Established in 1994, the A.C. Van Raalte Institute is located in the Theil Research Center on the Hope College campus and specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration and the contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States.  The institute is also dedicated to the study of the history of all the people who have comprised the community of Holland throughout its history.

The Dutch Heritage Coordinating Council seeks to provide a forum to further the preservation and promotion of Dutch heritage in the Greater Holland/Zeeland Area.  The council was established in 2009 by the Holland Historic Trust, Joint Archives of Holland, Tulip Time Festival, Van Raalte Institute and Zeeland Historical Society.

Holland City Hall is located at 270 S. River Ave., on River Avenue between 11th and 12th streets.  A reception will follow the lecture in the City Council Chambers.