JUBILEUSZ: 35-lecie polonistyki na Uniwersytecie Amsterdamskim – 29.09.2006

Od samego początku filarem polonistyki na Uniwersytecie Amsterdamskim była pani Elżbieta Meijknecht-Proń. W piątek 29.09 odbyło się także uroczyste pożegnanie pani Elżbiety Meijknecht, odchodzącej na emeryturę.

Trudno uwierzyć, ale Polonistyka amsterdamska ma już 35 lat!

W czasie tych 35 lat język polski, już jako przedmiot główny, przeżywał swoje wzniosłe i trudniejsze momenty. Zawsze jednak towarzyszyły mu i wspierały go ciekawe osobistości ze świata polskiej i polonijnej nauki, literatury i kultury. Tak zasilona Sekcja Polska poprzez kształconych absolwentów miała wpływ na obraz stosunków polsko-holenderskich.

Zdjęcia z uroczystości są w albumie Polonia.NL od niedzieli 1.10.2006

Przypomnijmy, że Elżbieta Meijknecht-Proń została odznaczona przez Prezydenta RP Krzyżem Kawalerskim Orderu Zasługi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej za ogromny wkład w promocję polskiego języka i kultury w Królestwie Niderlandów.

Od 35 lat niestrudzenie walczyła o utrzymanie wysokiego poziomu edukacji. Jej zaangażowanie na rzecz promocji polskości zaowocowało setkami absolwentów studiów polonistycznych oraz licznymi propagatorami polskiej kultury i literatury. Są wśród nich najwybitniejsi tłumacze literatury polskiej na język niderlandzki, wykładowcy języka polskiego na Uniwersytecie Amsterdamskim, znaczące postacie życia kulturalnego.

Panią Elżbietę Meijknecht-Proń z wdzięcznością wspominają rzesze studentów, nad którymi pochylała się z matczyną troską. Ona sama, osoba niezwykłej skromności, wciąż podkreśla wielką rolę wspólnych działań władz wydziału, kolegów slawistów, wykładowców – gości i Polskiej Ambasady w tworzeniu środowiska polonistycznego w Królestwie Niderlandów.

tekst: M. Bos-Karczewska

zobacz strony Polonistyki na UvA

Przemówienie ambasadora RP z okazji wręczenia Pani Meijknecht Krzyża Kawalerskiego Orderu Zasługi RP 31 marca 2006 w Hadze

Dear Mrs Meijknecht,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all this afternoon here at the Polish Embassy. On behalf of the President of Poland I have the honour to hand over the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland to Mrs Meijknecht-Proń.

Mrs Meijknecht receives this decoration for being a devoted advocate of the Polish culture, literature and language in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Promoting Poland in the Netherlands became her life goal. And this was not an easy goal, as it turned out very soon, since most of the Dutch citizens identify Poland with white bears and severe winters. During all these years she has been giving testimony of the purest human devotion and grew out to a symbol of the power of the Polish spirit. By depicting culture as a platform of experiences and memories she was pinpointing our common European interests and virtues. Her affections to Poland appealed to hundreds of students and admirers of the Polish culture.

And it all started in 1969. She was then a young student of the Russian language and culture at the University of Amsterdam. She was
also a young lawyer and a young wife of a Dutchman. But most of all she was a Pole. And then on the horizon appeared professor Bujnowski from London who started organising courses in Polish literature and language. She became his assistant, giving in this way birth to the Polish department. She was fascinated with the language, its immense possibilities and wanted to share this fascination with others.
All the years at the University of Amsterdam were characterised by attempts to come in contact with Poland – Polish universities and peoples. Despite all the financial restraints she did succeed in having invited many prominent Polish specialists and in sustaining all the contacts. Most of the visits were possible because of the hospitality of the home of the Meijknecht family.

Thanks to her initiatives a few Dutch generations were given the chance to come to know and love the Polish literature and language. Her passion was sort of infectious. So infectious that her pupils grew out to the crème de la crème of the Polish – Dutch translators, such as Gerard Rasch and Karol Lesman, to mention just only two of them; or they took over her task and remained at the University of Amsterdam, just like Mr Arent van Nieukerken and Mr Rene Génis did. Many others occupy prominent positions and play a crucial role in the cultural and social life of both countries. One could say that none of the important events can take place without one of her students being present, witness our today’s meeting.

The history of the Polish department might have been rocked by constant strife, but it could always fall back on her person. Tireless as she is, she never ceased thinking that its existence is a success story. She kept firmly to this conviction, though other would ask themselves why continue at all.

Commuting as she was, mainly due to the work of her husband, among The Hague, Amsterdam, Brussels and Warsaw she never forgot about her students. Dozens of study books were always her main luggage. They were cheaper in Poland and as we know students are short of money.

35 years of sharing her life between two countries, caught  between two cultures, languages, people. 35 years spent on translating one reality into the other one, educating and forming people who could and have taken her duty over, duty of sustaining the dialogue and of breaking the stereotypes and enabling to discover paths of comprehension and mutual respect.

And it is not a coincidence that these 35 years is at the same time 35 years of the Polish department at the University of Amsterdam. 35 years during which hundred of students were given a foretaste of the Polish language and were afforded a glance behind the scenes of the Polish culture. She offered the guiding helping hand to everyone, as if they all were her children, experiencing with them all the ups and downs, encouraging and inspiring to keep on fighting. That these students meant more for Mrs Meijknecht than just student numbers, proves the fact that when confronted with their names she can still tell a story about each of them. Without her personal engagement The Polish Department at the University of Amsterdam would not exist.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Mrs Meijknecht has never withdrawn from her plans, especially when hard times for Poland have come. All her efforts were always directed at awakening the interest in Poland and spreading the knowledge and love for her fatherland. However, all these years of commitment and dedication never felt as a burden. Looking back at all the constraints and disappointments, we could now say – she dared. Despite all the discouragements, she refused to give up. The financial set backs she welcomed with a smile. Her devotion and personal engagement helped win each struggle and fight what has come across on her path. For years she has been working with the Twin Towns] The Hague – Warsaw, organising transports, mainly for Polish hospitals.

Mrs Meijknecht please let me hand in to you this prestigious state distinction – the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland – as an acknowledgement of your merit to the Polish state.

 

Opublikowane na portalu Polonia.NL 29.09.2006
Wydawca portalu: Fundacja Ekspertów Polskich w Holandii – STEP. Czytaj o nas

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