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The Bastion of Liberty: Leiden University Today and by Willem Otterspeer

By Willem Otterspeer

Leiden college was once based as an establishment that may embrace a specific set of educational ethics that sought to enhance society during the acquisition of information. during this quantity, writer Willem Otterspeer attracts at the thought of Leiden as a “bastion of liberty” and proposes that suggestions resembling “equilibrium” and “scale” are key to figuring out the college as an establishment, eventually displaying how universities are a sort of social capital, one among Western society’s solutions to the hindrance of collective motion, and an tool for keeping and restoring continuity on the earth.

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1575-1774, initial registrations, 25-jaars averages Humanities Law Medicine number Theology per iod average of almost 400 students a year, over half of whom came from abroad. In its second century, the total number of students enrolled fell quite appreciably, to some 21,000, with a proportional decline in the number of foreign students. The choice of faculty reveals a clear pattern. Interest in theology remained more or less constant at roughly 15 to 20 per cent, while law increased from 30 to 40 per cent.

Religious debate – whether erudite as with the Jews or disputatious as with the Catholics – was seen as an essential part of the professors’ theological work, as was advising on certain books or controversies. The law faculty was frequently consulted in an official capacity, for matters ranging from matrimony between blood relatives to cases of extortionate interest, disturbances of the peace, land leasing, wills, rights of ownership, piracy and privateering. The other faculties fulfilled similar services.

There was no regular teaching on Wednesdays or Saturdays, and besides the many holidays – generally two weeks each for Easter, Whitsuntide and Christmas and six weeks in the summer – many lectures were cancelled during book auctions, anatomy lessons, and major annual fairs. In the main, this left scarcely more than 160 to 170 days for lectures. Lectures were divided into public and private classes. The former were open to all students registered at the university, free of charge. They were taught on all weekdays barring Wednesdays and Saturdays, which were reserved for private classes, demonstration lectures by lectores hoping to impress enough to secure a salaried appointment, and disputations.

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