Monthly Archives: March 2021

Erasmus and Poland (NL Embassy in PL)

Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1467/69-1536), the most famous and influential humanist of his age, maintained friendly relations with numerous Poles. He dedicated his works to Poles, was visited, read, printed and translated by Poles, and Poles had pictures of him hanging in their homes. Erasmus’s writings had a profound impact on the development of the Polish Reformation. “Polonia mea est”: “Poland is mine” or “Poland is favourable to me”, Erasmus famously stated in 1524. His Polish contacts included King Zygmunt I the Old, grand marshal Piotr Kmita Sobieński, archbishop and author Andrzej Krzycki (Andreas Cricius), and bishop and poet Jan Dantyszek (Johannes Dantiscus). One of Erasmus’s closest Polish friends was the reformed humanist Jan Łaski (Johannes a Lasco), to whom Erasmus even sold his library. More information about this story, and about the fate of Erasmus’s books, can be found here.

This portrait was made by Hans Holbein. It hangs in the Louvre in Paris:

*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 11.

The Polish Roots of the Tuschinski Theatre (NL Embassy in PL)

The Tuschinski theatre in Amsterdam has a lot to celebrate this year. Not only does it turn 100 years old in October, it was also crowned the most beautiful cinema in the world last week by the much-read Time Out magazine, which praised the building as an “elegant mash-up of art deco and art nouveau styles with sleek modernist touches”. The Tuschinski, which is nowadays owned by Pathé, was built by the Polish Jewish entrepreneur Abraham Icek Tuschinski (Tuszyński, 1886-1942), who was born in Brzeziny, near Łódź. He first came to Rotterdam in 1904, intent on travelling to the United States. He settled in the Netherlands, however, where he started a range a successful businesses, including four cinemas in Rotterdam,  established in 1911. Ten years later, the Tuschinski theatre opened its doors in Amsterdam, having cost around four million guilders. During the Second World War, the theatre was taken over by the Germans, who renamed it Tivoli. Abraham Tuschinski himself was captured and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was murdered in 1942. His famous theatre, which has been renovated several times, once again carries his name. To this day, it continues to amaze audiences with its characteristic façade and fairy-tale-like interior.

Image: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Amersfoort / 10353-2351.

*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 10.