Allard Pierson

Professor Allard Pierson

Allard Pierson (1831-1896) was one of the most progressive thinkers of the 19th century. He was born into a prosperous Amsterdam family and had the benefit of a broad education. His first interest was theology. Following his studies, he was called to the ministry in Leuven (Louvain) and later with the Walloon community in Rotterdam. Allard Pierson had modern concepts regarding faith. As a modernist he rejected everything in the Bible that could not be explained. After leaving the church, he was invited to take up the professorship of theology at Heidelberg University in Germany.

Allard Pierson was averse to encrusted ideas in all areas of knowledge. When the University of Amsterdam was established officially in 1877, he was chosen as professor of art history, aesthetics and modern languages. He was returning to the city of his birth. As a passionate lover of the arts and science in the broadest sense of the words, he was an example to many students.

The Allard Pierson, the museum and knowledge institute for the heritage collections of the University of Amsterdam, bears his name with pride.