Wednesday, 18 September, the Dutch foodwriter and bookcollector Johannes van Dam died in Amsterdam. He was 66.
Food critic Johannes van Dam wrote for the Dutch newspaper Het Parool and for Elsevier magazine. In 2005 his magnus opus appeared, De Dikke Van Dam (The Thick Van Dam), a compilation of his knowledge of the history of the Dutch food. In the same year he joined his huge reference library of cookbooks and other works on gastronomic history with the library of the foodhistorian Joop Witteveen in the Foundation Gastronomic Library Amsterdam. Both collectors decided to bequeathe their collection to the University of Amsterdam. The joined library with more than 60,000 publications on the history of gastronomy is part of the Special Collections of the UvA.
In 2012 the University of Amsterdam underlined the great significance of Johannes van Dam for the gastronomic culture in the Netherlands by installing a new culinary price in his name. His good friend Egyptian-British cookbook author Claudia Roden was the first to receive this award. Offering her condolences Claudia writes in her letter: “It is so so sad and such a great loss to us all. He was a very special person who inspired respect and admiration and to me great affection.” She ends her letter: “It is good to know that he will always be remembered and that his legacy will live on through his books at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam.”