At age 21 Erik began his Italian studies at the University of Amsterdam, specialising in Dante and medieval cultural history.

His research of medieval symbolism of precious stones led to various discoveries regarding their significance in Dante's Divina Commedia and to publications in international academic journals. He conducted his research mostly as a bursary of the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome and the Dutch Academic Institute of Art History in Florence. His Master's thesis was marked 95/100.

His research into the Etruscan myth in the Florentine Renaissance led to a revision of the origins of this myth. During his studies Erik served as board member of the Amsterdam branch of the international Italian society Dante Alighieri.

Research assistent

After his graduation Erik was research assistant at the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, an institute of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science, where he worked on the biography of Albert Verwey (1865-1937), a prominent Dutch poet, scholar and literary historian.

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