Roosevelt Study Center to become Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS)

As of January 2017 the Roosevelt Study Center will be transformed

On December 16, 2016 the Roosevelt Study Center (RSC) in Middelburg and Leiden University signed an agreement for strategic cooperation. This provided the RSC with a new purpose and a new name: Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS).


Since 2012 the RSC has no longer been connected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the subsidies from the Province of Zeeland and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences were no longer sufficient to support all of the Center’s activities. The advisory report Campus Zeeland! of the Zeeland Education Authority described the RSC as “modest in scale and with a good reputation. At the same time, it is vulnerable in terms of financial support and continuity.”


In line with the advice in Campus Zeeland! the RCS’s Board of Trustees decided to reorganize the Center and secure a strategic cooperative connection with a strong partner.  This was found in Leiden University. The new leadership of the RIAS will be in the hands of a board of directors with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Professor of American History, Robert Mason, as executive director.

Unfortunately, this means that the Roosevelt Study Center must say goodbye to the current director, Kees van Minnen, who has run the Center for more than 30 years. The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful for the work that Van Minnen has carried out for the RSC in that period.
Van Minnen will continue his activities as Professor of American History at Ghent University.

New future

The Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS) will become a ‘graduate school’ in the field of American Studies and Transatlantic Relations by providing PhD-positions for young researchers. It is the intention to select 4 to 5 candidates for these positions in the next two years.

The RIAS will also function as a location for BA and MA education, and its staff will be strengthened by the annual appointment of a North American visiting professor. The RIAS will also work closely together with University College Roosevelt and the Roosevelt Foundation in organizing conferences and events on American history, transatlantic relations, and subjects related to the Four Freedoms. The link with Leiden University will be represented by two professors, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Professor of American History, Robert Mason, and Professor of Transatlantic Diplomatic History, Giles Scott-Smith.

Councillor Harry van der Maas of the provincial government is satisfied that this part of the Campus Zeeland! plan is becoming reality. “With Campus Zeeland! we are working towards a robust and future-orientated knowledge network in our Province. The cooperation agreement with Leiden University means that we can secure the future of the RSC in Zeeland. An institute that has existed for more than thirty years can now look forward to a successful future. This fits perfectly in the development of Zeeland as a knowledge economy.”

The Rector of Leiden University, Carel Stolker, is enthusiastic about the cooperation with the new RIAS: “The study of the United States, in which Leiden has had expertise for many years, can now expand. The combination of ‘freedom’ in the Leiden University motto with the Roosevelt legacy of the Four Freedoms is a strong one, and we look forward to a bright future for this initiative.”

The Board Chair Emeritus of the Roosevelt Institute, William vanden Heuvel, is happy about the alliance with Leiden University: “To be associated with such  a great University is itself an act expressing admiration for what the RSC and its leadership have accomplished in the 30 years of it existence."