Huygens ING receives NWO Grant for REPUBLIC

On Thursday, 28 September 2018, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) awarded a 2.5-million-euro grant to Huygens ING for our REPUBLIC project. This project intends to enable the online availability of the Resolutions of the States General of the Netherlands by means of state-of-the-art techniques.

Amsterdam, 27 September 2018 – In the Dutch Golden Age, the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was governed by representatives of its provinces, known as the States General. The Republic was a world power. With their so-called ‘Resolutions’, the States General ruled Dutch society and a colonial empire from 1576 to 1796, and played a considerable role in matters concerning war and peace in Europe.

Ida Nijenhuis (historian): ‘From rebellious governers to rulers of the world in more than half a million pages: REBUBLIC makes the resolutions of the States General available, and thus enables innovative research into more than two centuries of Dutch world history!’

REPUBLIC will presently grant access to approx. half a million digital images of handwritten and printed pages of political information from the Republic. In addition, REPUBLIC will ensure availability of these pages as digital texts as a result of automated transcriptions and structured text which will be enhanced by both machine learning and human correction. We will automatically identify languages, dates, names (of persons, geographical locations, institutions), and specific textual elements, and make this information available in an annotation layer. A framework for structured data will help users to search the Resolutions by subject. These modern tools will grant access to all the resolutions adopted by the States General between 1576 and 1796.
Lex Heerma van Voss (historian): ‘In the seventeenth century, the Republic was a world power, and the resolutions of the States General were as important for the seventeenth century as the resolutions of the American government for the twentieth century. Being able to make this wealth of data available online now is really wonderful.’

REPUBLIC will shortly present an online Open Access Research Environment enabling research by historians, political scientists, and anyone else interested in the practices and developments of politics in the Golden Age, both in the Netherlands and abroad. This is relevant given the fact that the history of the Dutch Republic also attracts considerable international attention. Consequently, we are expecting long-term, intensive use of this new platform, not just by Dutch historians and social scientists, but also by their colleagues from all over the world.

The NWO Large Investment Grant Scheme intends to reinforce the opportunities of Dutch scientific and scholarly research and the chances of international collaboration. NWO selects projects eligible for a Large Investment Grant on the basis of scientific quality, national position, and social relevance.