Herman Bavinck's 'My Journey to America'

James Eglinton (Translator), George Harinck (Editor)

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This travel account was written by Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), professor of systematic theology at the Theological School in Kampen and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, following a séjour in North America in 1892. Bavinck’s notes were first transcribed and published in Dutch by George Harinck in 1998. On account of its elegant Dutch prose, wonder-struck perspective and reluctance to make value judgments concerning the ‘foreign’, Harinck’s edition of Mijne reis naar Amerika was awarded the Koninglijke Bibliotheek’s 2010 prize for outstanding Dutch travel writing.

Mijne reis naar Amerika should be viewed within an historical setting where published accounts of foreign travel were relatively common. Bavinck’s own colleague Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), for example, also published a travel journal based on a voyage through North America that made many similar observations. Viewed against that backdrop, Mijne reis naar Amerika is useful as a further historical example of nineteenth century Dutch opinion-formation regarding the United States of America and its still youthful culture. Predating Stead’s The Americanization of the World by a decade, it also serves to indicate a rising European awareness of the American future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)180-193
Number of pages13
JournalDutch Crossing
Issue number2
Early online date16 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017


  • Bavinck
  • neo-Calvinism
  • America
  • travel accounts


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