Jan G. Platvoet

Born in Oldenzaal, in 1935, I did my secondary education (gymnasium alpha) at the Mi­nor Seminary of the Society for African Missions (Societas Missionum ad Afros, SMA) from 1948 to 1954; and my training in RC (Philosophy and) Theology at its Major Sem­i­nary from 1954 to 1961, after which I was ordained to the priesthood. After a ʽPastoral Yearʼ in Win­­neba, Ghana, from November 1961 to July 1962, with daily lessons in Twi, a major Akan dialect,  I was appointed to St. Teresaʼs Minor Seminary at Amisano near Elmina to teach History. Some of those I taught are now in high positions: Cardinal Peter Kodwo Ap­piah Turkson is one of them; another is the Archbishop of Cape Coast, Matthias Kobena Nket­siah. Again others are the retired Archbishop of Kumasi, Thomas Kwaku Men­sah, and the Bishop of Ko­non­go-Mam­pong, Dr. Joseph Osei-Bonsu.

Research interests

African indigenous religions, in particular those of Akan societies of Ghana and of San  societies in Botswana and Namibia; Anthropology of religions;  the methodology of the comparative study of religions; ritual studies; the comparative study of spirit possession; the history of the academic study of religions, especially in The Netherlands

Personal information

Nationality: Dutch
Date of birth: 25 June 1935
Place of birth: Oldenzaal, The Netherlands

I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.


  • 1954-1961

    RC Philosophy & Theology

    Major Seminary of the Societas Missionum ad Afros (Society of African Missions) at Hulsberg, The Netherlands

  • 1966-1969

    Missiology, Social Anthropology, Anthropology of Religions

    RC University at Nijmegen, The Netherlands

  • Drs 1969

    Drs (doctorandus) Theology, cum laude

    Nijmegen University (Rooms-Katholieke Universiteit te Nijmegen)

  • Ph.D. 1982


    Utrecht University (Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht), Utrecht, The Netherlands


  • 2003-09-012001-09-01

    Freelance teaching of an introduction to Science of Religions and to the General History of Religions

    Stichting NOHG (Nederlandse Opleiding Hindoe Geestelijken) at The Hague

  • present2000-07-01


  • 2000-07-011991-04-01

    Senior Lecturer in the Comparative Study of Religions and the Methodology of the Study of Religions

    Faculty of Theology of Leiden University

  • 1991-04-011969-09-01

    Lecturer in Science of Religions

    KTU (Katholieke Theologische Universiteit at Utrecht)