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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Netherlands, Theosophy in

On July 9, 1892, a national Theosophical Society was founded in Netherlands. Its name was De Nederlandsche Theosophische Vereeniging (NTV). This was not the first association that undertook Theosophical activities in the Netherlands; there had been earlier activities.

Early Theosophical Activities: One of the first Theosophical Lodges in the Netherlands was called the “Lodge Post Nubila Lux” (light after darkness). It was founded on June 27, 1881. One of its founders was Adelberth de Bourbon, grandson of the French King Louis XVI. This Lodge, which had joined the French Section, was established at The Hague. Among its members were several painters of the Hague School, a leading group of artists who worked from about 1870 to 1900. After the death of Adelberth in 1897, the Lodge became dormant.

In 1888, H. P. Blavatsky appointed Mrs. H. P. de Neufville as representative of the Esoteric School of the Theosophical Society in the Netherlands. De Neufville translated The Voice of the Silence into Dutch in 1892. It was the first Theosophical book that was translated entirely from English into Dutch. The Esoteric School was a part of the Theosophical Society in 1888, but became independent in 1892.

In 1890 a Lodge was founded in Amsterdam by Dr. L. L. Plantenga. This Lodge was also affiliated with the French Section. Well-known Dutch Theosophists such as Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Fricke, and Mrs. P. C. Meuleman were members of this lodge.

The Dutch-Belgian Branch: On January 15, 1891, Mrs. H. P. de Neufville, Miss J. Stout, Miss C. Immerzeel, Mrs. P. C. Meuleman, and Messrs. W. B. Fricke and M. A. Opperman held a meeting at which they decided to apply for a Lodge charter from the Theosophical Society in London. On February 21, 1891, the charter was granted to the Dutch-Belgian Branch of the Theosophical Society, Amsterdam. In 1892 the Belgian group became independent, and the Dutch-Belgian Branch was disbanded on April 24, 1892.

The Nederlandsche Theosophische Vereeniging (NTV): The dissolution of the Dutch-Belgian Branch was followed by the founding of the Nederlandsche Theosophische Vereeniging (NTV) on July 9, 1892. Mrs. De Neufville was the Chairman and Mr. G. R. S. Mead was appointed General Secretary, a post he held until 1897.

The Secession of 1895: A part of the American section under the leadership of Mr. W. Q. Judge separated from the Theosophical Society (Adyar). Mr. Judge founded a new organization, called the Theosophical Society in America, in 1895. This had repercussions in the Netherlands, where a separation also resulted, creating the Theosofisch Genootschap, with its own legal status.

The Vahana Lodge: On November 19, 1896, Johannes Ludovicus Lauweriks, an art teacher, designer, and architect (1864-1932), and the architect Charles Peter Cornelis de Bazel (1869-1923), together with several other people, founded the Vahana Lodge (in the Rules and Regulations of the Theosophical Society in the Netherlands also called the Wahana Loge). De Bazel and Lauweriks joined the NTV on May 31, 1894. The Vahana Lodge is one of the founding organizations of the Theosophische Vereeniging Nederlandse Afdeling (TVNA). The members of this Lodge were mainly architects and artisans, painters joining one of the other regular lodges. This Lodge also had a school that taught drawing, art criticism, and aesthetics. Its members made their designs on an abstract geometrical basis.

The Theosophische Vereeniging, Nederlandsche Afdeling (TVNA): A Theosophical Center was founded in The Hague on February 17, 1897. On March 30, 1897, this center was granted a Lodge Charter. Then six other lodges, countrywide, followed. On May 14, 1897, the Theosophische Vereeniging Nederlandsche Afdeling (TVNA) could be established. It was incorporated by Royal Decree on November 24, 1899. The NTV continued its legal existence until December 31, 1921. The headquarters of the TVNA were situated at Amsteldijk 76 in Amsterdam.

Piet Mondriaan: The painter Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan became a member of the TVNA in 1909, and probably remained a member until his death on February 1, 1944. It has been suggested that Mondriaan was influenced by Theosophy only in his early period. However, we now know that Theosophical philosophy was of great importance throughout Mondriaan’s entire life and work.

Stichting Proklos (Proklos Foundation): On May 30, 1956, the Stichting Proklos was established. The object of this foundation is to promote education and training in the spirit of Theosophy. Since 1958, the Foundation has sponsored a chair at the University of Leiden, with a professor who teaches Metaphysics in the Spirit of Theosophy.

The Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland (TVN): The name of the TVNA was changed to Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland (TVN) on February 14, 1979. Its headquarters are now located at Tolstraat 154, in Amsterdam, not far from the former location on the Amsteldijk. Currently the TVN has nine Lodges and seven Centers. It also has its own bookstore and publishing house. Four times a year it publishes the periodical Theosophia, a magazine first appeared in 1899; it is currently in its 114th year.

Sources: 
Jansen, R. D. C. Een Kern van Broederschap:100 Jaar Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland (Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1997).
———. Theosofie (Kok, 2000).
“Piet Mondriaan” in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian).
Rules and Regulations of the TVN (Theosophical Society in the Netherlands).
Rules and Regulations of the Hague Lodge.
Theosofia: Tijdschrift van de Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, March 2013. 

Hans van Aurich, vice chairman of the TVN

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