Joris Oddens and Inger Leemans receive a grant from the Statesman Thorbecke Fund

Inger Leemans and Joris Oddens have received a grant from the Statesman Thorbecke Fund. With this grant of c. 200.000 euro Oddens will be able to continue his ongoing research on the history of petitioning.

His new project, titled An authentically Dutch invention? The Dutch attitude toward petitioning in a comparative European perspective, will be based at NL-Lab, an interdisciplinary research group of the Humanities Cluster of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The project is consistent with the aims and scope of NL-Lab, which is devoted to the study of Dutch culture and identity, past and present.

Thinking about petitions

In a previous project Oddens has studied the history of the theory and practice of petitioning during the Dutch Age of Revolutions (1780-1830) The new project will cover the entire period from Dutch independence to the present. It investigates how petitioning was understood by politicians and commentators. How have they judged the legitimacy, the desirability and the usefulness of this political instrument? Whenever possible, the motives of the petitioners will be taken into account as well.

The project thus constitutes, in a broader sense, a study into the importance attributed to political participation by citizens and authorities alike. Sources that will be consulted include petitions, pamphlets, political treatises, official documents, proceedings of parliamentary sessions, and constitutional debates. The Dutch situation will be compared to that of other European countries, such as France and the United Kingdom.

The Statesman Thorbecke Fund

The aim of the Statesman Thorbecke Fund is to promote knowledge about the life, work and intellectual legacy of Johan Rudolf Thorbecke (1798-1872), statesman and one of the founders of Dutch parliamentary democracy. Projects focus on disciplines in which J.R. Thorbecke distinguished himself as a politician and scholar. The Fund’s assets consist of a gift and a bequest from the estate of Willem Thorbecke (1920-2014), Johan Thorbecke’s great grandson. Grantees are selected by an independent scientific committee appointed by the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences. The grants allow experienced researchers to design and execute their own research project under the supervision of a formal applicant.