2017 International Conference on Maria Sybilla Merian

I attended this conference in Amsterdam this summer! And while the organizers did say the conference was for everybody, not just scholarly, I’m convinced that their “everybody” and my “everybody” is totally different. However, I am very glad I went.

I did learn a few things at this conference, nothing new about Maria Merian, however.

I learned more about the dangers in the rain forests of the world through an entertaining, though very serious, presentation by Redmond O’Hanlon who has actually trekked through rain forests throughout the world.

I learned that university professors apparently view things through a very narrow focus, so that if that focus was from a different field, they do not have that knowledge. Some of the questions asked clearly showed this.

I discovered that while their research was quite narrow, mine was very broad, encompassing everything I could find.

And finally, I reached the conclusion that based on the many years I have researched this amazing woman…I am an EXPERT on Maria Sybilla Merian!


I was flat out amazed at how many buildings were built in the 1600s and are still there and still being used. Their use today may be different than in times past, but they are still in use. 

This building, for instance, is now a royal palace. When Maria Sybilla Merian lived in Amsterdam it was the City Hall! Very impressive. 

Maria Sibylla Merian Conference: Getting There

The second Maria Sibylla Merian International Conference was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 7,8,9, 2017.

I left from the Chicago O’Hare airport. I checked my suitcase through to Amsterdam, took my boarding pass, and went searching for the departure gate.  It was a long, long walk to the Aer Lingus gate…to the far end of the airport, I’d swear.  Plenty of time, no problem, just a long walk. 

Six hours after boarding the plane we landed in Ireland at the Dublin airport where I would catch a connecting flight on to Amsterdam. Only one hour scheduled for this…. must be a small airport, I thought, for there to be only an hour. I temembered watching a video on the Aer Lingus website showing a couple all relaxed, leisurely strolling along–not very far–as the voice soothingly tells how easy it is to navigate the airport.  Just follow the connecting flight signs, it says. OK, shouldn’t be too bad….

I followed the signs. Suddenly I was in one of several lines slowly working up to the official on the other side of the room. Oops, not the right place. OK, now on the right path. I walked and walked and walked. Time running out. I walked faster, and then even faster, breathing heavily. Good Lord, it’s a long way! Tried to run, wheezing mightly as I go. Can’t stop. Keep going. 

There it is. The gate is in sight…at the very END of the long terminal, still quite a ways away. No passengers in the waiting area! The gate is closing! I sprint those “last few miles.” 

I collapsed in my seat as the plane door closed. Whew! I made it! My breathing slowly returned to normal. 

One and a half hours to Amsterdam.