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Jan Sijsling  

arts supporter, early member of BAFA
1919 - 2004

Left to Right: Marga van Luitelaar Maartens,
Jan Sijsling and Ann Mannen, October 2004 in the Bahá´í World Centre gardens, Haifa Israel.
Photo: Brigitte Aiff.

compiled by Anneke Buys

Jan Sijsling was one of the first Dutch members of BAFA in 1986. On joining, he indicated that he was not an artist of any kind but as an appreciator of the arts wanted to support BAFA. In 1988 at the first "Art Forum" BAFA organised in De Poort (a Bahá´í-run conference centre in The Netherlands) Jan Sijsling participated and was active in the discussion "Does Bahá´í art exist yet?", as well as appreciating the artists' presentations.

Jan Sijsling joined the Bahá´í Faith in 1952, then a national community of about 25 individuals with 2 groups in Amsterdam and The Hague. He was a member of the Benelux National Assembly (1957-1962, a member of the auxiliary board (for the Benelux countries) and for many years a member of the Dutch NSA from its inception in 1963). Later he was one of those responsible in engineering the purchase of the building (previously a Jesuit-run retreat) in 1985 and later the organisational structure of what now is the Bahá´í-run conference centre, De Poort (means The Gate).

He was also one of the founders of the Tahirih Institute, a Bahá´í-run organ that coordinates lectures, workshops and conferences on various Bahá´í-related topics usually held at De Poort. The Tahirih Institute includes an arts and culture committee, who currently coordinate an annual arts week in July and exhibitions all year round at De Poort. Contact for information about any activities of the Dutch arts and culture committee.

Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands