Vrijmetselarij In De Lage Landen * Anton van de Sande (walburg pers 2001 * isbn 9057301598)

I have read my share of books about Freemasonry, also about “Freemasonry in the Low Countries “, but this is the most informative and visually attractive one. Anton van de Sande is special professor Freemasonry at the University of Leiden . He is (of course) no Freemason, but probably the best informed ‘profane’. The book was written with the help of the major Dutch and Belgian Masonic organisations (both ‘regular’ and ‘irregular’). The book starts with general information about Freemasonry, facts and misconceptions. Then follows the artificial history given by Masons, followed by the ‘official’ history of the “mysterieus brotherhood without secrets”. First in general, later more appointed to the situation in the Low Countries (nowadays Belgium and The Netherlands show pretty different histories) . Of course, since this is a scholarly work, you get the ‘scholarly history’, meaning that Masonry started somewhere in the 17th century as one of many ‘social clubs’, as you can read elsewhere at monas.nl. Further information is about the growth and shrinkings of the movement, phases in different time-periods, royal protection, Freemasonry in the 20th century, Freemasonry and the Church and the last part is about the symbolism and rituals.
The book is informative, comes in a large format (about A4) with many images in b/w and colour. I asume that the information is valid, but the two strange mistakes that I ran into myself are hopefully the only ones. (On page 41 Van de Sande writes that the ‘Huis der Liefde’ was a Dutch esoteric sect of around 1600 who were occupied with Hermetism, a thing that has yet to be proven; and two pages further Van de Sande writes that the Rosicrucians were the brainchild of Johann Valentine Andreae who wrote the manifestoes and the Chymische Hochzeit. Van de Sande is probably the only scholar left who believes this.) Overall I think it is safe to say that this is yet the best book about Freemasonry in the Low countries .

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