At a ceremony marking her retirement as professor of Modern Dutch Literature on Friday 30 October, Prof. Marita Mathijsen was appointed Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau. She was presented with the Royal award by Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen.
Mathijsen received the award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to science and society over the course of her extensive academic career. In addition to inspiring her peers and students, the appealing style and original perspectives of her publications and lectures on 19th-century Dutch culture and literature helped introduce a broad audience to this period. Mathijsen played a central role in ‘sweeping the dust' off the19th century, a development that has spanned the past few decades, and served as the driving force behind the highly successful rehabilitation of Dutch 19th-century literature.
Her publications in the area of textual studies played a key role in the development of the field. Her handbook Naar de letter (1995) has served as an indispensable guide for scholars in this field for many years now. Her numerous studies of the works of Harry Mulisch have helped generations of readers gain deeper insight into the key themes of one of Holland's most important post-war writers.
In addition to conducting academic research of the highest standard, Mathijsen has successfully communicated her views and vision to a broader audience through numerous newspaper articles, reviews and op-ed columns in daily and weekly publications. This perhaps is her greatest achievement.