Werk aan Uitvoering (WaU)

Duration: 2022-2031
Subsidy provider: Ministerie van Onderwijs Cultuur en Wetenschap
Subsidy size: 3,2 miljoen euro
Remarkable: The Huygens Institute manages more than 200 historical and literary datasets and editions based on a wide diversity of Dutch heritage collections and sources. Once this information is well organised and presented, Dutch history and culture overall, and also as a network of personal narratives, will become more accessible for exploration, research, and understanding. We aim to facilitate better use of our data not only by scholars, but especially by citizens, journalists, organisations and the creative sector.
Valorisation: We implement the WaU programme in two stages. First, we prepare the WaU elements, such as an easy-to-access and user-friendly data catalogue, PID strategy, LOD implementation. Second, these building blocks will be used to create thematic interfaces aimed at broad societal use and will facilitate research on persons and organisations in the past across different collections. Once we establish such an operational framework, we can support future societal discussions on history and culture with data and insights that are carefully professionally curated.

Werk aan Uitvoering (WaU) is a government-wide programme that aims at improving public services. As part of this programme, the Huygens Institute will make its numerous and extensive digital information sources (online resources) on Dutch history and culture more accessible and connect them to other data collections. Doing so will enable us to improve services for researchers, and to lower the threshold for residents of the Netherlands and civil organisations to find and interpret historical and cultural data.

Increasing impact and promoting use

On the one hand, the impact of our datasets can be increased through their release in standard formats and overall improved interoperability. As these steps allow data processing with different analysis and visualisation tools, researchers can thus more easily use the datasets outside their own context, link the data to other database. In this way we encourage new collaborations and research in the field and beyond.

On the other hand, datasets should always be considered in the context of the time in which they were created and annotated, thus also considering the scientific and societal framework in which the research questions of the past were posed. It is important that all those aspects that could potentially introduce some kind of bias are directly named and openly described in order to ensure well informed usage of the data.

In this way, we lay the foundations for a comprehensive, open corpus of texts and data that can be explored in context. This enables a more open and inclusive approach to Dutch history, in line with the mission of the Huygens Institute.

The datasets under the management of the Huygens Institute are a reliable source of information and in this way constitute a valuable asset for society at large. In practice, our work on thematic interfaces will make it easier for the general public to discover, explore and further utilize the data in new contexts.


In order to ensure the synergy of the planned activities within other WaU implementing organisations and the selection of the long-term solutions for the heritage field, we are in contact with the following organisations: the International Institute of Social History, the National Archives and the Royal Library.