The Centre for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (Dutch: “Geschiedenis van de Hermetische Filosofie en verwante stromingen”) was founded in 1999 as a new subdepartment (“leerstoelgroep”) at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam.
The idea and the initiative for this venture came from Mrs. Drs. Rosalie Basten. She had been interested in Hermetic philosophy and its historical development for many years, but during her own philosophy studies at the University of Amsterdam, she discovered to her disappointment that no such subject was being taught. Given the presence of the renowned Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam, which contained the world’s most complete collection of Hermetic source materials and a wealth of related documents, the continuing lack of a teaching curriculum and academic research program in this field was all the more surprising.
Mrs. Basten therefore decided to provide the financial means that would make it possible for the University of Amsterdam to fill this gap. Her generous donation was made to an independent foundation newly created to this end, which signed an agreement with the University. This enabled the University of Amsterdam to create a new subdepartment and appoint the necessary staff. The agreement between the Foundation and the University stipulates that the HHP research and teaching programs will be “independent of any worldview,” thus ensuring the professional and intellectual independence that is essential to academic research. Likewise, all appointments take place under the full responsibility of the University of Amsterdam. The HHP Centre is now part of the department for “History, European Studies and Religious Studies” of the Faculty of Humanities, and participates in the teaching programs of Religious Studies.
For more detailed information about the process through which the HHP Centre was created, see Roelof van den Broek’s contribution to the 2009 anniversary volume; it can be downloaded here.