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Law in the Dutch Caribbean, a historical introduction

Invited speaker: Dr. Bastiaan van der Velden

The Bynkershoek Institute is proud to announce the inception of its evening symposium series. These symposia will provide a series of lectures, distributed over several evenings, focusing on a central topic or theme. On some occasions the symposia will include multiple speakers or might concentrate on the work of a single author. In keeping with the Bynkershoek Institute’s objectives of viewing The Hague as a window to international, European and comparative law, the topics of the symposia will vary across those fields of research.

The sixth and final lecture of the Bynkershoek Institute lecture series on the history of law in the Dutch Caribbean on March 5, 2012, will deal with the normative role of Afro-Caribbean popular belief in the 19th and 20th century. How are voodoo, brua and other forms of Afro-Caribbean popular belief used to influence the outcome of court trails, or used as a system of conflict resolution on its own? In this lecture the role of Curacao Brua will be compared with similar forms of Afro-Caribbean belief in other countries in the Caribbean.

The introduction is by dr. Aart G. Broek, who is the author of the recently published history of the police on the Dutch Caribbean islands; see for more information on Aart Broek his Carilexis-website

Bastiaan van der Velden holds a Doctorate from the University of Amsterdam, and an LL.M in Dutch law from Maastricht University. Prior to working at The Hague University, Bastiaan van der Velden worked as a policy officer to a member of the Dutch parliament, and as a lecturer and researcher at the University of the Netherlands Antilles, Maastricht University, Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of a book and several articles on the legal status of minority languages and of: Ik lach met Grotius, en alle die prullen van boeken (Amsterdam: SWP 2011), a legal history of the island Curacao. This book is the first academic research on this topic, describing the different periods from pre Columbian times till the abolition of slavery in the end of the 19th century.

The lectures will take place at the venue of Bynkershoek Academy, Groot Hertoginnelaan 3, The Hague (2517 EA). The door is open at 19.15, and the lectures will start at 19.30. Since available seats are limited, people who want to attend are requested to register by email :

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