About ACSN

Who we are

The Association for Canada Studies in the Netherlands (ACSN, Studiegenootschap Canada) is a non-profit organization. Its objectives are:

  • To promote and support teaching and research on Canada in the humanities and social sciences at Dutch institutions of higher education
  • To encourage and support cooperation and exchange between Dutch and Canadian scholars; and
  • To promote cooperation between Canadian Studies Associations in other countries

ACSN is member of the International Council for Canadian Studies and a founding member of the European Network for Canadian Studies.

ACSN is led by an executive board. The board consists of Irene Salverda (president), Dea van Lierop (treasurer) and Bettina van der Hoven (secretary). Board members review scholarship requests and keep in touch with the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS).

ACSN history

In pursuit of the aims stated above, the ACSN started organizing scholarly meetings, seminars and lecture tours by Canadian experts and expert Canadianists. Furthermore the ACSN started a publication series (the Canada Cahiers), a Newsletter, and acted as intermediary in obtaining Canadian book donations and subscriptions to major Canadian learned journals. The ACSN also promoted participation of Dutch scholars in the so-called Faculty Enrichment Program. The latter laid the foundation for the teaching of Canadian subjects in the Netherlands.

During the first five years of its existence the ACSN focused its activities almost entirely on the field of education, with the teaching of Canadian Studies courses having top-priority. The rationale behind this approach was that a good supply of Canadian Studies courses would eventually lead to an increase in research on Canada, which in turn would reinforce the teaching of Canadian subjects.

The approach worked and ACSN quickly expanded, both in size (from 40 members in l985 to 122 in 1987) and in activities. The years that followed were years of consolidation. Increase in membership slowed down and the number of members stabilized around 140-150 members.

Among the highlights in the existence of the ACSN, the 1990 All-European Canadian Studies Conference Canada on the Threshold of the 21st Century: European Reflections on the Future of Canada should certainly be mentioned. Furthermore, the 2011 Roundtable on Sustainable Cities (with involvement of Rotterdam and Vancouver officials, and universities) and the 2015 Conference on Canada Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen were important highlights, as well as numerous seminars with involvement of scholars and the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands.

Through these conferences and events the ACSN became an important player and a respected partner in the international field of Canadian Studies. It was actively involved in the establishment of the European Network of Canadian Studies and has over the years been a major contributor to the work of the International Council for Canadian Studies.

Unfortunately, in 2012 the government of Canada decided to abolish the Canadian Studies Programme and stopped all funding to Canadian Studies Associations worldwide. This has meant a sharp decrease in activities (conferences, seminars, visiting fellowships) and eventually led the ACSN to stop promoting active membership, and focus on its scholarships programme which can – on a modest scale- be carried out through the scholarship program of the Netherlands Fund for Canada Studies.

Well-established as the ACSN now is, there is nevertheless a distinct need for rejuvenation of the board. If you are interested in joining the ACSN board as a general members, please express your interest via acsn.nl@gmail.com. The ACSN is actively involved in a strategy to reach out to new disciplines and audiences