My latest archival visit was to the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, the Netherlands. The purpose of my visit was to present a paper at the RSC’s annual PhD seminar (see above) however whilst there I decided to do a bit of research by utilising the Declassified Documents Reference System. Middelburg is a two and half hour train ride from Amsterdam where I flew in from Newcastle while the RSC is based in the middle, just a five to ten minute walk from the train station. Based in a very picturesque building, the atmosphere of the RSC is incredibly relaxed and the staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming. The center contains a huge array of primary documents from a variety of periods of U.S. history as well as books, periodicals and much much more. Although this was just a brief research session, it was nevertheless very productive!
I visited the center to use the DDRS, an online resource available at the RSC which catalogues hundreds of thousands of declassified materials on a variety of subjects. Typically the DDRS is available at many libraries and archives in the United States and some institutions in the UK but as I was visiting the RSC, I opted to see if I could find anything useful.The DDRS is incredibly simple to use. Simply, input keywords, dates, material types etc. and your away. Even from just a few simple searches, a significant number of highly useful documents were returned to me and I went away with some great materials for my own research. In just a few hours I came away with well over a hundred photographs of documents relating to the Carter presidency!
WHAT TO DO IN MIDDELBURG?
Middelburg ranks as one of the most picturesque towns I have had the pleasure of visiting.The town is nicely situated with good links to Rotterdam and Amsterdam and is not far from the Belgian border.A simple stroll through the town and you can’t help but admire the beautiful architecture and style of the buildings. The atmosphere in the town is incredibly relaxed and very pleasurable with a nice balance of shops, pubs and restaurants close to the main square and the City Hall. During my visit, I was treated to three course meals by the RSC at the Restaurant De Vriendschap Restaurant and Restaurant La Piccola Italia. Both were divine, the lamb at De Vriendschap was exquisite however I’m a sucker of Italian and the pasta carbonara at La Piccola Italia just shades the battle of the restaurants. But there are plenty of nice eateries in the town and you would never be spoilt for choice.