About Huygens Institute
Huygens Institute for History and Culture of the Netherlands
Mission: Making history and culture of the Netherlands more inclusive through digital means
The Huygens Institute aims to enrich, broaden, renew and make widely accessible the research on history and culture of the Netherlands. We do this by digitally opening up historical and literary data and texts from various collections and sources, connecting them and analysing them in innovative ways – across the centuries and beyond Europe’s borders. Wherever possible, we work together with residents and heritage institutions in the country.
We want to further develop the digital methods necessary for such research and transfer them to students and junior scientists. The Huygens Institute aims to have both scientific and social impact. We therefore not only focus on fellow researchers, but also work for education, heritage institutions, the business community, government agencies and a broad public interested in culture. Our research results therefore come in many forms and have a wide range.
The Huygens Institute wants to show that many different groups and individuals play a role in Dutch history and culture. We have been studying some of these people for a long time, but the role of others only becomes clear when we link historical texts and data from different archives and sources. Between the vertical structures of the archives, we build networks of people, places and events. We carry out our mission by collecting, publishing, structuring and analysing existing and new data relating to Dutch history and culture in the broadest sense, from the Middle Ages to the present, and from Asia and America to Amsterdam.
We develop instruments to question and analyse these large and complex datasets, both quantitatively and qualitatively. We also make the data and tools sustainably available by making them findable, accessible, exchangeable and reusable. To ensure this, we will place the data and tools in the national digital infrastructure for the humanities that we are building with our partners.
We see it as our mission to further develop the methods needed for such research and to pass them on to students and the new generation of scholars. Moreover, we want to shape history in cooperation with heritage institutions, volunteers and societal stakeholders. Through our type of research we want to contribute to enabling people who are connected to Dutch history and culture to responsibly assign value to the historical and cultural heritage in this country.
History of the institute
The history of the institute dates back to 1902. The Dutch government appointed a committee to publish historical sources: the Advisory Committee for National Historical Publications (Commissie van Advies voor ‘s Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën, RGP). Since 1910, the commission was supported by its own bureau. Eventually, this bureau became part of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) in 1989 as the Institute for History of the Netherlands (ING).
In 1992, the Bureau Basisvoorziening Tekstedities merged with a number of long-standing KNAW commissions and mini-institutes and an NWO project into the Constantijn Huygens Institute, an institute for text editions and intellectual history. In 2005, the department of Dutch Studies of the defunct Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services (NIWI) was added to the institute and it changed its name to Huygens Institute.
In 2011, the ING and the Huygens Institute merged to form the Huygens ING. Between 2011 and 2016, the institute was located in the building of the Royal Library in The Hague. Since October 2016, the institute has been housed in the Spinhuis in Amsterdam. From the summer of 2022, the institute will continue under the full name Huygens Institute for History and Culture of the Netherlands, in short Huygens Institute.