Arts and culture

Arts and culture

Erik showed profound interest in culture, history and art since a tender age and developed a wide range of activitities in this area.

The fascination for minerals and gemstones started during boyhood. At age 13 he wanted to become a goldsmith, but discovered he couldn't produce with his hands, neither soldering nor drawing. So he made sure he always incorporated his special interest in his other activities: this meant that his university years were dedicated to researching the symbolism of gemstones and jewellery in Antiquity and the Middle Ages - specifically in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy - and when he started writing for magazines in the Netherlands, the vast majority of his articles were dedicated to jewellery. And as communication specialist and object researcher he was active for an antique jewellery dealer in Amsterdam. These days Erik is mostly active as jewellery historian with a focus on cultural history, Parisian jewellery makers of the 19th century and on the history and international role of Dutch jewellery makers and diamond traders. 

Scent art 
In 2014 Erik co-produced the exhibition El Arte de Perfume 1889-2014 in Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. This Spanish, boutique edition (image above) of the first ever museum exhibition dedicated solely to the interpretation of perfumes as works of scent art, premiered in 2011 as The Art of Scent 1889-2012 in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, where it drew 150.000 visitors. This groundbreaking concept is curated by Chandler Burr, Curator of the Department of Olfactory Art and former Scent Critic of the New York Times. El Arte de Perfume was held from November 2014 to February 2015 with the support of Prada Parfums, Thierry Mugler, Dior, Diptyque Paris, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, Guerlain, Loewe, Chanel and El Corte Inglés. As member of a small organising team Erik was involved in all aspects, most prominently as agent of Chandler Burr, budget holder and editor of the catalogue. In 2013 Erik succesfully negotiated the Scent Dinner and Scent Talk by Chandler Burr at Illuminum Fragrance Lounge in London (click here for a video).  

Albert Verwey
In 2008-2009 Erik worked at the Royal Dutch Academy of Science/NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies as research assistant to Madelon de Keizer PhD, prominent senior researcher at NIOD. Erik worked his way through Albert Verwey's (1865-1937) youth in his archives at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam. During his lifetime the poet Verwey was one of the most prominent thinkers in the Netherlands, connected with an international network that included Stefan George. In 2017, De Keizer's biography was published under the poetic, here translated, title Like a Seagull on the Waves, Albert Verwey and his Time.

Louis Couperus
His interest in the works of Louis Couperus (1863-1923), a Dutch novelist at the turn of the 20th century comparable to Oscar Wilde and Gabriele d'Annunzio, started at high school and progressed into editorial board membership of Arabesken, the magazine of the Louis Couperus Society and eventually into general board membership of this society. Erik also acted as editor of a spin-off initiative, the blog, dedicated to turn of the century culture and history. From 2003 to 2008 Erik's interviews with prominent Dutch authors on the importance of Louis Couperus' work were published in Arabesken: Willem Melchior: Het belang van onvolmaaktheid - Bas Heijne: Couperus, visionair premodernist - Adriaan van Dis: Tegen de smaak van de tijd, opinies en columnistengeklets Hella Haasse: Schrijven is mijn manier van aanwezig zijn - Arthur Japin: Fantasie als toevluchtsoord - Antoine Bodar: Beschaving en het spel van de conversatie - Aristide von Bienefeldt: De verschrikkingen van het alledaags - Anna Enquist: Floreren bij de grote vorm - Helga Ruebsamen: De stem van het boek - Liesje Schreuders: 'Neernijgen, opnijgen en weer neerzijgen'.

Royal history
Erik hails from an area in the Netherlands where it is completely logical that a profound interest in history translates into a focus on royal history. Already active in the publishing business, Erik switched to becoming Copy and Jewellery Editor of Royalty Magazine in 2007. In 2017 Erik moved on to Vorsten, the oldest, most prominent title in the Netherlands dedicated to this subject.  

Lectures and papers
Overview of lectures that Erik has given, and papers he presented: 
- The Dutch Royal House and their Jewish Jewellers, Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, 16 September 2018
- The role of traditional Dutch dress in royal PR - Annual Members Conference of the Royal Association of Orange Societies, Bunschoten-Spakenburg, October 2015
- The origins of the Etruscan Myth in Florence, 5th Zenobia Conference: the Etruscans and the Sea, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, October 2011
- Trees of Gold. Royal Adaptations of Paradise in Dante's Purgatory, Forum Middeleeuwen Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, September 2008. 
Trees of Gold. Royal Adaptations of Paradise in Dante's Purgatory, International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 2008.