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During Einstein’s stay in Leyden, the Dutch Minister of Education received a re-
port from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 22 May to the effect that, according to
its Berlin envoy, Einstein’s connection to “revolutionary circles” could not be con-
Four days later the minister proposed to the Council of Ministers that it
allow the Leyden University Fund to create a special chair in
By the end
of May, Einstein returned to Berlin without having delivered his inaugural lecture
(Doc. 32).
On 15 June, the Council of State (Raad van State, the highest advisory organ of
the government) gave its approval and asked the Queen to confirm the
The royal decree was issued on 24
Simultaneously, three curators were ap-
pointed to supervise the chair: Joannes A. F. Coebergh, notary; Rudolf J. H. Patijn,
Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Pieter Zeeman, Professor
of Physics at the University of Amsterdam. However, it emerged that, because
Einstein did not hold a Dutch doctoral degree, another special governmental per-
mission was now needed. This necessitated yet another royal decree and another
formal procedure. On 12 July, the Leyden University Fund appointed Einstein to
the newly created special chair. Cornelis van Vollenhoven, supported by the Cura-
tors of the University of Leyden, initiated the new procedure to obtain governmen-
The minister consulted once more with his Board of Supervisors,
who consented to the appointment, provided that “all doubts have been eradicated
regarding the identity of the appointed professor and Dr. Einstein, who was ob-
served in the course of 1919 as decidedly dedicated to the communist prin-
Included was a physical description of the “Communist Dr. Einstein.”
Finally, on 21 September 1920, seven months after the process had been initiated,
Queen Wilhelmina confirmed Einstein’s
At last, the road was fi-
nally clear for Einstein to deliver his postponed inaugural lecture.
In July 1920, Paul Ehrenfest first aired the idea of organizing a scientific meeting
on various topics related to magnetism and the behavior of solids at low tempera-
tures, and he “burned with impatience” (Doc. 83) at the prospect of discussing
these matters later in the year, when Einstein would travel again to Leyden. In
August, he informed Einstein that Pierre Weiss, of France, might also be present
and expressed his surprise at Einstein’s “theoretical optimism regarding the treat-
ment of paramagnetism” (Doc. 99).
Einstein’s extended trip in the fall of 1920 took him first to Kiel for a few days,
where he gave a popular lecture on 15 September at the “Kiel Autumn Week for
Arts and Sciences” and stayed at the home of German entrepreneur and philanthro-
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