Adrianus and Malta

Dr. Adrianus Koster (Rotterdam, 1945)  is a graduate of the State University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, where he earned a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology. As a graduate student he became interested in Malta, where he has been carrying out fieldwork on politics and religion between 1973 and 1991 and became a keen collector of Melitensia. He must have spent in all more than three years of his life in Malta, mostly in his beloved village of Marsascala. He was inspired and coached during the early years of his research by the late Onno Gorissen, M.L., a constitutional lawyer and Vice President of the Research Department of the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, who died in 1981.

Since his graduation in 1971 he has been a member of the departments of Social Anthropology and Political Science of the Free University, Amsterdam. He retired in 2008 as research fellow / associate professor. In 1981 he obtained the doctorate in Social Sciences with the dissertation Prelates and Politics in Malta, Changing Power-balances between Church and State in a Mediterranean Island Fortress (1800-1976), which was published in 1984. He co-authored with the American historian Professor Harrison Smith the two volumes of Lord Strickland, Servant of the Crown (1984/1986).

In the seventies of the previous century Dr. Koster was invited by the Rev. Professor Peter Serracino Inglott to give a series of lectures in Religious Anthropology at the University of Malta. In the eighties to gave some talks to University students about his studies on Malta.

Dr. Koster gave papers on Malta during several international conferences and published in leading historical, anthropological and political sciences journals and academic books. Furthermore he wrote articles on Malta, including many book reviews, in newspapers, encyclopaedias and encyclopaedic yearbooks. He brought several groups of Dutch tourists to Malta on cultural tours and is the author of a tourist guide booklet on Malta, which was published in Dutch and in German.

In appreciation for Dr. Koster’s love for Malta he was officially received at the Palace by the  Presidents of the Republic Miss Agatha Barabara, Dr. Vincent Tabone, Dr. Guido DeMarco, Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami and George Vella. He was also received at the Auberge de Castille by the Prime Ministers Dr. Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami (several times) and Dr. Alfred Sant. The Archbishops Mgr. Michael Gonzi and Mgr. Guiseppe Mercieca received him at the Curia. At the suggestion of the Nuncio in the Netherlands, Mgr (later Cardinal) Edward Cassidy he was allowed to present his books on Malta at the Vatican to the late Pope John Paul II.

In 2006 Adrianus Koster donated the greater part of his collection of Melitensia to the Maltese Embassy in the Hague in the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Michael Frendo.

Dr. Koster also published a bestselling book in Dutch about the political career of the former Dutch Prime Minister Andreas van Agt and wrote a book on former Dutch minister Rita Verdonk. He retired as a City Councillor of Haarlemmermeer (144.000 inhabitants), Leader of the Christian Democrat councillors, Leader of the Opposition and Second Vice Chairman of the Council. He was elected Local ‘Politician of the Year 2005’ and scored very well in the successive elections (number three in 2006 and 2008).

Publications on Malta

Main Publications

as author

1979      Malta. Kerk, taal, Mintoff. In: Spiegel Historiael 14: 532‑540.

1980      Mintoff’s Malta op zoek naar een nieuwe koers? In:  Internationale Spectator 34: 213‑238.

1981      Prelates and Politicians in Malta: Changing Power‑balances between Church and State in a Mediterranean Island Fortress (1530‑1976), 298 pp. Ph.D. Thesis Free University, Amsterdam.

1982      Malta blijft voorlopig zigzaggen onder Mintoff. In:  Internationale Spectator 36: 102‑107.

1982      The Strickland Affair. In: Pastor 148: 15‑30.

1983      Ingrijpen door kerk en staat in feesten en rituelen op onafhankelijk Malta. In: Feest en ritueel in Europa, antropologische essays, ed. by A. Koster, Y. Kuiper en J. Verrips: 35‑70. Amsterdam: VU Boekhandel / Uitgeverij.

1983      The Knights’ State (1530‑1798): A Regular Regime. In:  Melita Historica 4: 299‑314.

1984      The Kappillani: The Changing Position of the Parish Priest in Malta. In: Religion, Power and Protest in Local Communities: The Northern Shore of the Mediterranean, ed. by Eric R. Wolf: 185‑211. Berlin: Mouton.

1984      Prelates and Politicians in Malta: Changing Power‑balances bet­ween Church and State in a Medititerranean Island Fortress (1800‑1976), 312 pp. (Studies of Developing Countries 29) Assen: Van Gorcum.

1985      Mintoffs Malta. In: Intermediair 21(7): 59‑67.

1985      Onderzoek op Rijk Rooms Malta. In: Culturen dicht‑er‑bij onder redactie van / ed. by Adrianus Koster: 34‑44. Assen / Maastricht: Van Gorcum.

1987      Cohabitation à la Maltaise. In: Intermediair 23(25): 33-35.

1988      Religion, Education and Development in Colonial and Postcolonial Malta. In: Religion and Development – Towards an integrated approach, ed. by Philip Quarles van Ufford and Matthew Schoffeleers: 112-128. Amsterdam: Free University Press.

1988      Regular and Secular Clergy in British Malta, In: The British Colonial Experience 1800-1964 – The Impact on Maltese Society, ed. by Victor Mallia Milanes: 79-90. Malta: Mireva Publications.

1988      Church and State Intervention in Feasts and Rituals in Independent Malta. In: Economic and Social Studies – Journal of the Faculty of Management Studies – Vol.4 (New Series): 1-28. Malta University Press, Malta.

1990      The Inaccuracies of Monsarrat’s ‘Kappillan of Malta’ – Do they matter? In: Peter Kloos (Ed.) True Fiction – Artistic and Scientific Representations of Reality: 47-57. Amsterdam: VU Press.

1990      De Activiteiten van Britse Bijbelgenootschappen op Malta in de vorige eeuw. In: R.H. Baayen & J. de Waard (Red.) Aspecten van Bijbelvertalen: 71-84. Haarlem: Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap.

1991      Clericals Versus Socialists: Towards the 1984 Malta School War. In: Religious Regimes and State-Formation – Perspectives from European Ethnology, ed. by Eric R. Wolf: 105-132. Albany (NY): State University of New York Press.

1992      Ferdinand von Hompesch. De zondebok van Maltese Historici. In: Antropologie: een juweel van een vak, onder redactie van Peter Kloos: 66-75. Assen: Van Gorcum.

1993      Malta’s Relations with the Holy See in Colonial and Post-colonial Times. In: Power and Prayer –  Religious and Political Processes in Past and Present, ed. by Mart Bax and Adrianus Koster: 119-144. Amsterdam: VU University Press.

1993      Malta. In: Southern European Studies Guide, ed. by John Loughlin for the Centre for Mediterranean Studies of the University of Bristol: 118-131. London: Bowker-Saur.

1995      Malta=s Relations with the Holy See in Postcolonial Times (since 1964). In: Melita Historica XI (3): 311-323.

2002      Beter zicht op de Maltese Geestelijkheid. In: Het regime van Mart Bax. Opstellen voor de meester-antropoloog: 56-60, onder redactie van Caroline Hanken, Daniel Meijers & Fred Spier. Amsterdam: Afdeling Culturele Antropologie Vrije Universiteit.

as co-author

1984      Lord Strickland, Servant of the Crown Vol. I by Harrison Smith and Adrianus Koster; 402 pp. Malta: Progress Press.

1986      Lord Strickland, Servant of the Crown Vol. II by Harrison Smith and Adrianus Koster; 310 pp.Malta: Progress Press.

as editor/revisor

1983      Lord Strickland, Servant of the Crown by Harrison Smith; 524 pp. Amsterdam: Scholars’ Edition.

Congress and Conference Papers, Lectures

1979      The Kappillani: The Changing Position of the Parish Priest in Malta. Amsterdam.

1982      Recente pogingen tot kerkelijk ingrijpen in feesten en rituelen op Malta. Boekelo.

1982      Church and State Intervention in Feasts and Rituals in Independent Malta. Mexico City.

1983      Mijn onderzoek op Malta. Amsterdam.

1983      Paters, broeders, zusters en wereldheren op Malta; een oriëntatie. Amsterdam.

1983      Regular and Secular Clergy in Malta: Cooperation or Infighting in a Mediterranean Catholic Regime? Vancouver.

1984      The Position of the English Language in Malta. Durham.

1985      Private Schools and the Continuing Story of Church vs. State in Malta: The Inevitable Fate of a Religious Regime on the Wane. Washington D.C.

1986      Malta: Kerk, Staat, Schoolstrijd. Amsterdam.

1986      Bound To Clash: The Road to the 1984 Malta School War. New Delhi.

1987      Clericals Versus Socialists: Towards the 1984 Malta School War. Amsterdam.

1989      Ferdinand von Hompesch: The scapegoat of Maltese Historians.

1989      Malta-Vatican Relations in Colonial Times.

1990      The Malta-Vatican Imbroglio. Malta’s Relations with the Holy See in Postcolonial Times (since 1964).

1990      Our Lady of Consecration – A New Titular for Malta?

Popular Publications


1985      Reisgids Malta, 127 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

1986      Reisgids Malta, Second Revised Edition, 127 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

1987      Reiseführer Malta, 127 pp. Amsterdam: ROS‑Publications.

1989      Reiseführer Malta, Second Edition, 127 pp. Amsterdam: ROS‑Publications.

1989      Reisgids Malta, Third Revised Edition, 127 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

1990      Reisgids Malta, Fourth Revised Edition, 127 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

1992      Reisgids Malta, Fifth Completely Revised Edition, 128 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

1992      Reisgids Malta, Sixth Edition, 128 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

1992      Reisgids Malta, Seventh Edition, 128 pp. Utrecht / Antwerpen: Kosmos.

Het jaar in woord en beeld, encyclopedisch jaarboek, Amsterdam / Brussel: Elsevier

1977 (: 209) MALTA.

1977 (: 218) MINTOFF, Dominic.

1978 (: 180‑181) MALTA.

1979 (: 182) MALTA.

1979 (: 195) MINTOFF, DOM(inic).

1980 (: 197‑198) MALTA.

1981 (: 196‑197) MALTA.

1982 (: 176): MALTA.

1983 (: 169‑170) MALTA.

1984 (: 174‑175) MALTA.

1985 (: 176‑177) MALTA.

1986 (: 164) MALTA.

1987 (: 165-166) MALTA.

1988 (: 99-100) FENECH ADAMI, dr. Edward (Eddie)

1988 (: 166-167) MALTA.

1989 (: 277) MALTA.

1990 (: 262-263) MALTA.

Grote Winkler Prins Encyclopedie 8th Edition, Amsterdam / Brussel: Elsevier

1981 (deel 14: 516‑520) Malta.

1982 (deel 15: 411) Mintoff.

Winkler Prins Encyclopedisch Supplement, Amsterdam / Brussel:  Elsevier

1984 (: 271) MALTA


1978 (I(4): 5) Il‑Familja f’Malta u fl‑Olanda.

1980 (4(3): 4,6) Xi Haga dwar San Nicola fl‑Olanda.


1979      (8(4): 34‑37) MALTA ‑ Katholieke smeltkroes van beschavingen.


1981      (zaterdag 12 december: 21) De Britten kon Mintoff aan, maar de stembus vreest hij.

1982      (zaterdag 23 januari) Mintoff kan nog jaren mee.

1982      (zaterdag 18 december: 25) Met dwang en gunsten blijft Mintoff de baas op Malta.

1984      (maandag 24 december: 7) In strijd tegen Londen, Navo en kerk maakte Mintoff naam.

1987      (zaterdag 9 mei: 6) Malta onder spanning naar de stembus – Nationalistische oppositie heeft genoeg van zestien jaar Labour-bewind.

Hoofddorpse Courant

1983      (donderdag 31 maart: 5) Goede Week op Malta.

1983      (donderdag 7 april: 5) San Girgor ‑ een traditioneel Maltees feest.

1983      (donderdag 27 oktober: 9) We gaan naar Malta.

Katholiek Nieuwsblad

1983      (vrijdag 9 december) Rijke roomse smeltkroes van beschavingen op Malta.

1985      (dinsdag 13 augustus: 5) Santa Maria op Malta, een schitterend feest!

Geachte Agent (KLM)

1985      (10‑8‑: 7‑10) Zonnig Malta ‑ Smeltkroes van beschaving.

Marketing Highlights ‑ KLM Marketing News

1985      (18‑4‑: 1,8‑10) Malta ‑ interesting new destination full of promise.


1985      (zaterdag 19 april: 5) Malta heeft in bondgenoot Libië dure vriend.

Book Reviews

Economic and Social Studies

1976      (5: 63‑66)Jeremy Boissevain: Friends of Friends. Networks, Manipulators and Coalitions.

The Catholic Historical Review

1980      (66: 477‑478) Joseph Cassar Pullicino: Studies in Maltese Folklore.

1980      (66: 478‑479) Herbert Ganado: Rajt Malta Tinbidel.

1980      (66: 479‑480) Harrison Smith: Mussolini and Strickland.

1982      (68: 157‑158) Seraphim M. Zarb and Mario Buhagiar: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Her Churches, Paintings and Statues in the Maltese Islands.

Bijdragen tot de Taal‑, Land‑ en Volkenkunde

1981      (137: 182‑183) Mario Vassallo, From Lordship to Stewardship, Religion and Social Change in Malta.

In Memoriam

The Sunday Times (Malta)

1985      I remember Mgr. Cardinale

1988      I remember Archbishop Gonzi.

1989      (January 1) I remember Mabel Strickland.

Other publicaties

A list is being worked on