Een Aengenaeme Vrientschap: An Amicable Friendship


299 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-894584-13-9
DDC 325'.2492'0971




Reviewed by Terry A. Crowley

Terry A. Crowley is a professor of history at the University of Guelph,
and the former editor of the journal, Ontario History. He is the author
of Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality and Canadian History to
1967, and the co-author of The College o


Books serve a multiplicity of purposes for a great variety of audiences.
This account of Dutch–Canadian relationships up to 1914 is intended
primarily for people in the Netherlands or those of Dutch ancestry.
Little has been written about such early contacts because they seem
decidedly pale in comparison to the impact of post–World War II Dutch
immigration to Canada.

Krijff’s research into primary and secondary sources to produce this
account has obviously been a labour of love. University of Calgary
historian Herman Ganzevoort’s foreword to the book refers to it as an
“idiosyncratic journey.” The author prefers to characterize his
achievement as a “collection” of information, although at times it
becomes a chronology of facts around specific themes.

Krijff has an argument but has difficulty in establishing it
definitively. He rightly contends that contacts between the Netherlands
and Canada before 1914 were forged by businessmen, but the second
chapter of his book is a litany of consular officials appointed between
1862 and 1914, while Chapter 5 examines the minuscule Dutch emigration
of that period. The two chapters that look at commercial relations and
financial investments amount to so little in a larger terms of
significance as to be of no interest except to the most devoted.
Further, the book’s title misleads in that the volume’s initial
chapter recounts first contacts up to the 18th century, a time span
outside the 1862–1914 period noted on the masthead.

Krijff’s prose does not flow sufficiently to attract readers beyond
those dedicated to the subject. Historical names and places should have
been verified through a standard source such as the Dictionary of
Canadian Biography. Still, Krijff has made an original contribution that
will be referred to in the future by others interested in the subject.


Krijff, Jan Th. J., “Een Aengenaeme Vrientschap: An Amicable Friendship,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,