Dr A.A.M. de Jong (1947) has been named Professor by Special Appointment of the History of Dutch Culture, in particular the study of objects, in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The chair was established in 1990 on behalf of the Royal Antiquarian Society (Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap, KOG), and has been previously held by Prof. Wim Vroom, Prof. Peter Sigmond and Prof. Susan Legêne. The chair is part of the History of European Culture chair group in the Department of Art, Religion and Cultural Sciences.
As professor by special appointment, Ad de Jong will focus on the cultural history of the Netherlands, in which images and objects play a central role as fully fledged historical sources. He will explore the cultural and historical meaning of objects by studying the function and meaning (which shift over time) of historical moveable and immovable objects. In particular, he will look at those which have been incorporated in national museum collections and which are explicitly being used to build a national identity. Questions of current relevance include what meaning these objects have for new population groups and how the selection of national heritage takes place. These themes will also form the focus of Dr de Jong's teaching activities in the Master's programmes in Cultural Studies and Art History. He will furthermore be involved in the UvA's Professional Master's programmes in Museum Studies, Museum Curator and Heritage Studies. Practical research in museums and analyses of museum presentations will form an important component of his seminars.
Dr de Jong studied History and Museum Studies at Leiden University and has worked at The Netherlands Open Air Museum since 1981, first as Head of Research and Acquisitions and then as Board Scientific Policy Officer from 1991. In 2001 he received his doctorate with honours from VU University Amsterdam for the dissertation De dirigenten van de herinnering. Musealisering en nationalisering van de volkscultuur in Nederland 1815-1940 (‘The conductors of memory: Museumisation and nationalisation of folk culture in the Netherlands 1815-1940'). Prior to this he also worked as Head of the Museums Policy Development Department in the then Ministry of Culture, Recreation and Social Work. Dr de Jong holds various advisory and board positions, including as an expert member in the field of Dutch ethnology on the Council for Culture's Preservation of Cultural Heritage Act Committee (Commissie Wet Behoud Cultuurbezit), and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Neurenberg, Germany.