Wijnand Struif is slowly but surely turning to dust in his office at the oldest Dutch University in Leiden. And he is content with it. But the university threatens to close the Numismatics Institute (the science of examining historical coins). Now that he might lose his job, he has to choose, do I put up a fight, or do I flee? In an ultimate attempt to prove his right to exist, he risks losing everything he values.
The ceiling is falling apart, dust lies thick on the bookcases, and the mice eat through impressive yet outdated reference books. This is the office of Wijnand Struif, a scientist in Leiden. He cannot – and will not – imagine working anywhere else: this is his work, his home and his life.
But the university is changing. Old traditions have to make room for new ideas, and institutes that don’t make enough money are being closed, and small faculties have to merge. Wijnand is backed into a corner. The university’s manager Sjuul van Baarlo wants to use the old coins to fill a hole in his budget. Luckily, Wijnand’s former tutor Simon Jagtman is now a popular figure.
Together with Simon and the archaeology student Taziri Azulay, they try to digitize the collection, giving the institute a present-day appearance and a reason for its existence. Wijnand’s optimism is growing, but Simon and Taziri are also looking for their opportunities. How can society estimate the value of things? How can an ever-changing society appreciate its history and culture? Everything of Value is a story about silver and gold, original and copy, body and soul. Van Oord shows us developments and relations that will leave no reader unmoved.