“My dearest dreams are of the Netherlands”: Pál Pántzél’s manuscript autobiography and his university years in Leiden from 1782 to 17851

Pál Pántzél (1755-1831) was a Hungarian Calvinist pastor and scholar in Transylvania. Following his years in the Reformed College of Kolozsvár (Cluj, present-day Romania), Pántzél was a student of the Staten College at the University of Leiden between 1782 and 1785. He kept a manuscript autobiography, and wrote down his life story in Hungarian. This autobiography is interesting from various perspectives, including regional history, the social and church history of Transylvania, the history of education and so forth. Pántzél wrote extensively about his Leiden university years, which he considers the most beautiful memories of his life, but also includes details of the conditions in which he travelled, as well as the organisation of the trip and the details of the outward journey. In the present study I primarily interpret Pántzél’s notes on his years at the University of Leiden, in the context of early modern travel literature and the history of studying in the Netherlands.

Het Nederlandbeeld van de tot de galeien veroordeelde Hongaarse predikanten*

From already published letters of Hungarian Protestant ministers damned to the Neapolitan galleys by a special law court at Pozsony (Bratislava) in 1675 to prominent Dutch persons, from almost the galleys turns out that they called them, consequently the Netherlands as defenders of the truth belief (fides orthodoxa) who felt solidarity with fellow-Protestants (especially the Reformed ones) abroad, were ready to support them in their struggle to preserve their religious freedom and to assist to build the Church of God everywhere. The article also analyses unpublished works of the Protestant ministers and their supporter at Venice during their slavery and after their liberation by admiral Michiel de Ruyter in 1676. In these documents the same image of the Netherlands can be found but also two more epitatheta ornantia can be observed: they called the members of the States General, respectively the country as the nourishers of the Church and the greatest defenders of the truth of the Gospel.