ENGLISH INTRODUCTION

The Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities was established in 1752 by seven distinguished burghers of the city of Haarlem, in the then Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in order "to promote science" (in the broadest sense, including the "arts"). It is the oldest learned society in the country today and is constituted as a dual body comprising approximately 400 "science promoters" (known as "directors") and an equal number of active scholars (known as "members"), drawn from the natural sciences, the humanities and the social sciences. Links with institutions outside the Netherlands are maintained - on a personal basis - by the appointment of "foreign members", currently numbering about 40 persons. Membership is granted by invitation only. 

Thanks to its unusual structure, the Society can act as an effective meeting place for leading persons from within and outside academia. It is also in a unique position to provide independent judgement in many fields and does this by serving in the review process for a number of prestigious awards and fellowships.  In 1841 the Society acquired the palatial Hodshon House on the river Spaarne in Haarlem. It was built in 1795 in the eclectic style of that period and has served as its seat ever since. A small scientific library contains a few gems, such as a first edition of Newton’s Principia. The annual members’ lectures are published as issues of the ‘Haarlem Presentations’. For information, contact the Secretariat of the Society, P.O. Box 9698, NL-2003 LR Haarlem, Netherlands, tel +31 (0)23 5321773, fax +31 (0)23 5362713, e-mail: secretaris@khmw.nl