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Creative Industries of the Dutch Golden Age

Painting, printmaking, book production and other creative industries of the Dutch Golden Age are of continuous interest to Dutch and foreign scholars from various disciplines. Various research groups, institutions and individual researchers develop data repositories and analytical tools to study the Dutch Golden Age. Unfortunately, this often results in fragmentation and short-term solutions. The Golden Agents project (2016-2021), financed by the Investment Grant Large programme of the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) aims at developing in a period of five years a sustainable infrastructure to study relations and interactions between producers and consumers of creative goods across the long Golden Age of the Dutch Republic. The project will link distributed, heterogeneous resources (both existing and new) on creative industries in the Dutch Golden Age. This way researchers will be able to connect images, objects and texts from different sources in a new and meaningful way.

Consumption remains an under-investigated topic with regard to the creative industries in the Dutch Golden Age. The digitization of the enormously rich collection of the notarial acts in the Amsterdam City Archives, and more specifically the probate inventories contained within these records, will provide detailed and socially diverse data on the possessions of cultural goods by the inhabitants of what was probably the most important city of the 17th Century. The Golden Agents research infrastructure enables interaction between various heterogeneous databases by using a combination of semantic web solutions and multi-agent technology that will be supported by ontologies developed together with domain experts.


Research infrastructure

The infrastructure is complementary to, and interoperable with the largest Dutch digital humanities infrastructure CLARIAH. Domain specific ontologies and standards will enrich the generic ontologies and SKOS standards of the CLARIAH infrastructure. Existing data mining techniques, topic modeling methods and network analysis tools of the CLARIAH platform will be offered to researchers to analyze, annotate and visualize metadata and textual/visual sources. Large datasets of images and text can be explored for a much deeper understanding of consumers’ responses to developments in styles, genres and fashions in the Dutch Republic.

The Golden Agents research infrastructure will also reach audiences outside academia and support the documentation on a wide array of objects preserved in cultural heritage institutions, many of which are major tourist attractions. It contributes to NWO’s role as the research foundation underpinning the Creative Industries top sector in the Dutch economy.

The consortium of the Golden Agents project consists of institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands and the Meertens Institute), University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, VU University of Amsterdam,  Rijksmuseum, KB National Library of the Netherlands, City Archives of Amsterdam RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History and Lab1100.


Prof.dr. Charles van den Heuvel

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