The University of Groningen is opening a Centre for Russian Studies. The centre, located in the University Library, is a new impulse for the study of Russian-Dutch relationships at the University. The official opening is on 29 June 2010.
The centre will be consecrated by Archbishop Simon of the Benelux Russian Orthodox Church.
The Centre for Russian Studies concentrates on studying Russia in the widest sense and in particular on Russian-Dutch relationships. It also functions as a research library and is thus housed in the University of Groningen Library. The centre was founded on the initiative of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, which promotes the founding of university centres to study Russian society, history, culture and language in the widest sense of the word. There are currently 52 such centres in the world.
The reason why the centre is being founded at the University of Groningen is that there is already a strong tradition of Dutch-Russian research there. The Faculty of Arts also has a department of Slavonic Languages and Cultures. The centre will strengthen the existing relationships between Groningen and Russia, for example the links that Gasunie, Gasterra and the Groninger Museum already have with Russia.
The Centre for Russian Studies has a strong public function and will thus also organize lectures, exhibitions and where possible courses. The centre will also fulfil a research function for students of Slavonic languages, history, international relations and international organization, as well as for those outside the Faculty of Arts who need information about Russia – all the more because it will be possible to access databases and information that is normally only available for a fee.
After a word of welcome in the Aula by Prof. Sibrand Poppema, President of the Board of the University of Groningen, Prof. Vyacheslav Alekseevich Nikonov, director of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, will give a speech. In the University Library, where the centre is located, there will then be a musical intermezzo, after which Archbishop Simon will consecrate the centre. Admission to the opening is by invitation only.
Dr J.S.A.M. van Koningsbrugge, director of the Netherlands-Russia Centre
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