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Periodical Literature, Holland

Periodical Literature (Holland)

Towards the end of the eighteenth century the grinding oppression, under which the Catholic Faith in the Northern Netherlands had laboured so long, began to grow less marked, and the Catholics, upon whose printing-presses the Government had always kept a vigilant eye, now ventured to assert themselves more in public life and even to issue periodicals in order to proclaim and uphold their religious principles. The first attempt was on a most modest scale and appeared under the title of "Kerkelijke Bibliotheek" (6 vols., 1794-96), followed by the "Mengelingen voor Roomsch-Catholijken" (5 vols., 1807-14), edited by Prof. J. Schrant, Rev. J. W. A. Muller, and Prof. J. H. Lexius. But the man who inspired Catholic periodical literature with life and vigour and brought it to comparative perfection was Joachim George le Sage ten Broek (died 1847), a convert from Protestantism (1806) and known in Holland as the "Father of the Roman Catholic Press". In 1818 he founded "De Godsdienstvriend" (102 vols., 1818-69), containing articles of local interest, recent ecclesiastical intelligence, and especially moderate polemics against Protestant and Liberal pretensions, by which he united the efforts of the Catholics in their struggle for emancipation. Assisted by his adopted son, Josué Witz, Le Sage displayed a great and wonderful energy not only in his books, but also in several serials, edited by him or at least with his collaboration, viz., the works of the "R. Cath. Maatschappy" (1821-2), suppressed in 1823, the "R. Kath. Bibliotheek" (6 vols., 1821-6), the "Godsdienstige en zedekundige mengelingen" (1824-8), the "Bijdragen tot de Godsdienstvriend" (2 vols., 1824-7), "De Ultramontaan" (5 vols., 1826-30) with its sequels, "De Morgenstar" (2 vols., 1831-2) and "De Morgenstar der toekernst" (7 vols., 1832-5), finally, "De Correspondent" (3 vols., 1833-4) continued later by Josué Witz in the "Catholijke Nederlandsche Stemmen" (22 vols., 1835-56), appearing under the title of "Kerkelijke Courant" from 1857 till 1873. Besides this in 1844 Witz started a popular magazine, "Uitspanningslectuur" (40 vols., 1844-52). In the mean time other serials were published in the Catholic interest, viz., "Minerva" (6 vols., 1818-20), continued in "De Katholijke" (3 vols., 1822-4), "Katholikon" (3 vols., 1828-30), "De Christelijke Mentor" (2 vols., 1828-9), "Magazijn voor R.-Katholieken" (9 vols., 1835-45), and "Godsdienstig, geschied-en letterkundig Tijdschrift" (2 vols., 1838-39), but none of these survived. A new generation of Catholic writers soon arose, by whom the struggle for emancipation was continued on a more scientific basis.

In 1842 F. J. van Vree, later Bishop of Haarlem. Th. Borret, C. Broere, J. F. Leesberg, and others founded the best and oldest of the periodicals still existing, "De Katholiek" (138 vols., 1842-1910). This periodical in the course of time introduced many new features which have increased its usefulness, the most important being the admission of lengthier articles contributed by prominent Catholic scholars. A fresh impetus in the field of art and literature was given by Jos. Alberdingk Thijm's "Dietsche Warande" (27 vols., 1855-90) and his more popular "Volksalmanak" (50 vols., 1852-1901), the later issues being entitled "Jaarboekje" (7 vols., 1902-08) and finally consolidated with the "Annuarium der Apologetische Vereeniging Petrus Canisius" (2 vols., 1909-10). Under Thijm's direction two eminent writers were formed: Dr. H. J. Schaepman, poet and politician, and Dr. W. Nuijens, the historian, who, having jointly founded the "Kath. Nederl. Brochurenvereeniging" (27 brochures, 1869-70), transformed it later into the more scientific monthly "Onze Wachter" (23 vols., 1874-85), combined with "De Wachter" (6 vols., 1871-3), afterwards named "De Katholiek" in 1885. Meanwhile "De Wachter" (12 vols., 1874-85), more especially devoted to studies of Dante, continued to exist under the editorship of J. Bohl and was finally merged in "De wetenschappelijke Nederlander" in which the Rev. J. Brouwers published many interesting Essays (8 vols., 1881-90). Recently "De Katholiek" has found powerful competitors in "Van onzen tijd" (at first a monthly, 15 vols., 1900-10; then a weekly, 1 vol., 1910-1911) and in the "Annalen der vereeniging tot het bevorderen van de beoefening der wetenschap onder de katholieken in Nederland" (2 vols., 1907-10), which contain articles of a most scholarly character. In this country as elsewhere the Jesuits have edited a periodical of their own, the valuable "Studiën. Tijdschrift voor godsdienst, wetenschap, letteren" (74 vols., 1868-1910), while in "De katholieke missiën" (35 vols., 1876-1910) they have kept up a lively interest in the foreign missions, towards which Holland has always been so generous.

In the field of purely historical research there are the "Bijdragen voor de geschiedenis van het bisdom van Haarlem" (33 vols., 1873-1910) and the "Archief voor heb aarbsbisdom Utrecht" (36 vols., 1875-1910), which together with the historical contributions appearing in the other periodicals fully answer the existing interest; it was this that led to the early collapse of the "Geschiedkundige Bladen" (4 vols., 1905-6). No better fate awaited the only periodical on ecclesiastical art, "Het Gildeboek" (3 vols., 1873-81; "Verslagen", 11 vols., 1886-90) edited by Mgr van Henkelum, dean of St. Bernulph's Guild, but its work is still carried on in part by the Belgian-Dutch review "Sint Lucas" (2 vols., 1908-10). "De katholieke Gids" (20 vols., 1889-1908), a monthly, the contents of which were never of any great moment, met a similar fate; as did the weekly "Stemmen onzer Eeuw" (1905-06), while the only educational paper "Opvoeding en Onderwijs" (2 vols., 1908-10), recently founded, seems already to be on the wane. Among the apologetic papers there are some that deserve special mention: "Het Dompertje van den onden Valentijn" (32 vols., 1867-1900), succeeded by "Het nieuwe Dompertje" (4 vols., 1901-4), and "Het Dompertje" (6 vols., 1905-10), the works of the "Willibrordusvereeniging" (180 brochures, 1896-1910), the series "Geloof en Wetenschap" (36 booklets, 1904-10) as well as the publications issued by the "Apologetische vereeniging Petrus Canisius" (some 40 booklets, 1906-10). Among the apologetic journals may also be reckoned "Boekenschouw" (5 vols., 1906-10; formerly called "Lectuur", 2 vols., 1904-5), a critical book review. The "Central Office for Social Action" at Leiden issues no fewer than four periodicals under the chief editorship of P. J. Aalberse: the excellent "Katholiek sociaal Weekblad" (9 vols., 1902-10), the "Volksbibliotheek" (25 numbers, 1905-10), the "Politieke en Sociale studiën", at first two separate serials, now united (3 and 5 vols., 1906-10), and the "Volkstijdschrift" (27 numbers, 1909-10). Sobriëtas (4 vols., 1907-10) is the chief organ of the Catholic temperance movement.

In addition Holland possesses a flourishing exclusively theological monthly, "Nederlandsche Katholieke stemmen" (10 vols., 1901-10), which is a continuation of an older ecclesiastical paper of the same name (22 vols., 1879-1900). The "Sint-Gregoriusblad" (35 vols., 1876-1910) is devoted to church music, while the "Koorbode" (5 vols., 1906-10) upholds the modern movements. The Catholic university students have their "Annuarium der R. Kath. studenten" (8 vols., 1902-10), and recently they started a weekly paper "Roomsch Studenten-blad" (1 vol., 1910-1). Finally Catholic ladies have the Belgian-Dutch magazine, "Dc Lelie" (2 vols., 1909-10). Besides those already mentioned there are some fifty other periodicals some of which supply entertaining literature, such as the "Katholieke Illustratie" (44 vols., 1867-1910) and the "Leesbibliotheek voor christelijke huisgezinnen" (56 vols., 1856-1910), while others, mostly published for the benefit of the foreign missions, are of a devotional character. Mention must be made of the annual Catholic directories of Holland. The first of these was the "Almanach du clergé catholique" (7 vols., 1822-29), issued when Holland and Belgium were politically united. Then came the "R.-Kath. Jaarboek" (9 vols., 1835-44), succeeded by "Kerkelijk Nederland" (10 vols., 1847-56), together with the interesting "Handboekje voor de zaken der R.-Kath. eeredienst" (by J. C. Willemse, 32 vols., 1847-80), while the statistics of more modern times and the present day and all desirable information can be found carefully arranged in the "Pius-almanak" (36 vols., 1875-1910), which had a temporary rival in "Onze Pius-almanak" (6 vols., 1900-05).

Among the journals the three most prominent dailies are: "De Tijd", started by the Rev. J. A. Smits, J. W. Cramer, and P. van Cranenburgh in 1846, which is considered the chief leader and representative of public opinion amongst Catholics; the more militant "De Maasbode", founded in 1868, and the democratic "Het Centrum", begun in 1884. All these Dutch papers and periodicals are irreproachably orthodox. As to the circulation the dailies enjoy, no figures are available. But "De Voorhoede", a weekly paper established in 1907, is known to have an edition of 25,000 copies. In all, Holland has 15 Catholic dailies, of which only "De Maasbode" issues a morning and an evening edition (since 1909). In addition to these there are 31 papers published more than once a week, with 76 weeklies and some 70 monthlies.


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