NOTHING WILL COME OF NOTHING
Science & Education in Antwerp since 1500Helma De Smedt
SynopsisNothing will come of nothing. Shakespeare placed these words into the mouth of old King Lear, but the saying actually dates back to well before the early seventeenth century, to the philosophers of ancient Greece. Though we mean it a little tongue in cheek, we believe this saying actually captures what goes on at a university very well. The source of everything is education and research, after all. The University of Antwerp is a relatively young, dynamic university. But every story has a backstory, and Antwerp’s backstory just happens to be particularly interesting … Long before our beloved university was founded, the city was a hub for science and education. It was home to printers, publishers and booksellers, who played a crucial role in the dissemination of knowledge. That is what we – the editors and authors of this book – set out to demonstrate, with just as much careful research as sheer pleasure, in our book Met kennis van zaken. Wetenschap en onderwijs in Antwerpen vanaf 1500. And it is not for nothing – forgive us the play on words – that the English edition is titled Nothing will come of nothing. Science and education in Antwerp since 1500. This book does not attempt to provide an exhaustive history of Antwerp. Neither does it explore all sections of the population – ‘only’ those who were involved in Antwerp's ‘knowledge culture’, such as humanists, scholars, artists, craftspeople, printers, publishers, booksellers, teachers and connoisseurs of the arts. That said, former rector Professor Alain Verschoren’s foreword is followed in Professor Emerita Helma De Smedt’s introduction by a brief historical outline of the most important characteristics and events in and concerning Antwerp in the period 1500-1850. Later on in the book she also provides a non-exhaustive sketch of the city’s economic development during the same period. Knowledge, arts, knowledge transfer ... the book covers many aspects that capture the essence of today’s Faculty of Arts, including in the chapters by professors Guido Van Heeswijck, Hubert Meeus and Guido Marnef and by doctors Tom Deneire, Timothy de Paepe, Jan Dewilde and Ria Fabri.
Helma De Smedt
HELMA DE SMEDT (1948) is a full professor emerita of the University of Antwerp. After studying history at UFSIA and KU Leuven, she obtained her PhD in History from KU Leuven in 1980 under the supervision of Professor Emeritus Herman Van der Wee. She then lectured mainly (but not exclusively) in economic history at the University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on financial history and the history of banking and businesses between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. She is the author of a wide range of publications on these subjects. Her current activities include a collaboration with the University of Antwerp’s Study Centre for Enterprise and the Stock Exchange.n.With contributions by Ludo Cuyvers, Marc Demolder, Tom Deneire, Timothy De Paepe, Dave De ruysscher, Helma De Smedt, Jan Dewilde, Ria Fabri, Piet Lombaerde, Guido Marnef, Hubert Meeus, Ad Meskens, Robrecht Van Hee and Guido Vanheeswijck.