Rick is Scaliger Professor at Leiden UniversityProfile page
Leiden University Libraries holds an exceptional manuscript by a certain Nicolaas Willem Schmal (1796-1837): 'Boertige Mengelingen en Puntdichten'. It was purchased in 1997 and has not been studied up to now. It mainly contains comic verses but also reveals a terrible tragedy.
If you look at the original death mask of Willem Bilderdijk (1756-1831), you can still see the bushy eyebrows of the famous Dutch poet. The fact that such a mask was made tells us a lot about Bilderdijk’s status as a celebrity, but is also characteristic of 19th century Romantic relic worship.