Press release 2018

This June 18 the board of the Cultural Public Benefit Organisation Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection decided to grant the Ranald MacDonald Award 2018 to the non-fiction debut The Dawn of Eurasia (Penguin, 2018) by Bruno Maçães.

The Portuguese political scientist from Harvard, former secretary of state of European affairs in Portugal, teacher at universities in Berlin and Beijing and senior counselor in London wrote a mind-changing, if not game-changing, work about the notion of Eurasia.

The press release about the 2018 award is to be found here.

A review of The Dawn of Eurasia by Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times is to be found here.

Press release 2017

This July 11 the board of the Cultural Public Benefit Organisation Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection decided to grant the Ranald MacDonald Award 2017 to the monumental book With Our Own Hands by Frederik van Oudenhoven and Jamila Haider. Hajime Narukawa will receive an award for his oeuvre, notably for his AuthaGraph World Map.

The press release about the 2017 awards is to be found here (pdf).

More information about With Our Own Hands is available here.

And more information about AuthaGraph here.

Frederik Schodt on the Dutch connection

cited book

Frederik Schodt has sent us a report on his stay in Amsterdam around October 11, 2016. We are honoured to have the right to publish his text here and now.

We are flattered by his kind words about our foundation, but we are really taken by his description of the very concrete link between Ranald MacDonald and the Dutch ‘opperhoofd’ Joseph Levyssohn. ‘It was really due to Levyssohn and the Dutch that he (i.e. Ranald MacDonald) was able to leave (i.e. Japan) in the spring of 1849, after only half a year of confinement.’

Please read Schodt’s account here (pdf).

Changing of the Guard

Arie Rip

To our regret, Ernst Homburg has decided, for reasons of his own, not to continue his chairmanship of ‘Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection’.
We are very pleased to have found Arie Rip prepared to take the chair on a temporary basis.
On October 11, 2017 the foundation will therefore again be able to award a prize to the true, good and beautiful debut of a writer or artist providing an unexpected outlook on the relations between Asia, Europe and North America.
Counting on his friendly support, we are wishing Ernst all the best, and are giving a warm welcome to Arie.

Fred Dijs, secretary
Frits van der Kooij, treasurer


Hollands Diep, publishers of In het licht van wat wij weten by Zia Haider Rahman, are proud to have a number of books in their fund which are worthy of an award. And rightly so. The hope of the board of FOM NL is for our ‘small but fine’ award to continue to appear in such lists.



Zia Haider Rahman first ever winner
of the international Ranald MacDonald Prize
for his novel In het licht van wat wij weten

Frederik Schodt receives lifetime achievement award

Amsterdam, September 11, 2016

The international Ranald MacDonald Prize will be awarded annually to the work of a debut writer or artist which is exceptionally ‘true, good and beautiful’ and sheds new light on the relations between Asia, Europe and North America. The novel In het licht van wat wij weten / In the light of what we know (Hollands Diep, Amsterdam, 2015) by Zia Haider Rahman fits this description precisely. Indeed, this book is so comprehensive, so wide ranging and has, eventually, such a remarkable outcome, that the first winner exceeded all expectations. Its quality will be the touchstone for any future award. The prize amounts to 5000 euro and the ceremony will be held this October 11.

The Cultural Public Benefit Organization awarding the prize, Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection, abbreviated as FOM NL, would not have existed if Frederik L. Schodt had not written a biography of Ranald MacDonald (1824-1894). In his Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan (Stone Bridge Press, Albany CA, 2003) he brings to life a ‘true cultural and racial hybrid—in the best sense of the word— (who) assumes heroic proportions because of his success in carving his own path in life, in an often unfriendly world’, in short, an example to follow. But, besides this book, Schodt – he calls himself a niche writer – has written many other works on related subjects, essays, historiography and translations. Therefore FOM NL granted him a special prize of 2500 euro for his oeuvre.

On October 11, 1848, year of revolutions in Europe and the goldrush in California, Japan still being ‘closed’, Ranald MacDonald met in Nagasaki with the Japanese ‘Dutch Interpreters’ and the Dutch ‘opperhoofd’, ‘chief’. This small event, which made it to the headlines in the Dutch newspapers though, because ‘the opening of Japan’ was hot in those days, was the reason to choose October 11 for the annual award ceremony.

Time and place for this year will be announced in due course. Both writers will be present. They will each receive a modestly sized but remarkable trophy, made of woods from Asia, Europe and North America.

Further information

Zia Haider Rahman

Frederik L. Schodt

Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection

Fred Dijs
secretaris FOM NL
+316 288 03 999