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Our reason for being: An informed democracy with involved citizens

A democratic society like the Netherlands needs right-minded, actively engaged citizens who have a good sense of their own identity and are able to make responsible decisions. However, it is difficult to get citizens involved in their society if they have no idea of how it came into being, and no understanding of its workings. Cultural participation and solid, up-to-date education in history, language and cultural subjects are of crucial importance in this context. And the foundations of these matters are laid by high-quality humanities research. As the Netherlands’ foremost humanities research institute, the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History (Huygens ING) plays a prominent role in this process.

Our objective: Shed new light on how the Netherlands became what it is today

The central question that Huygens ING works to answer is how exactly the Netherlands developed into the country it is today. Through which processes did our different identities come into being? Which aspects define the Netherlands as a nation, and what exactly makes our citizens Dutch? We offer answers to these and other questions in the shape of monographs and articles, textual scholarship, source indexes, databases and websites. In addition, we experiment with new knowledge distribution channels like apps and serious games.

Our approach: Advanced, fundamental and interdisciplinary

Our basic point of departure is that over the next few years, digital technology will result in a number of breakthroughs in humanities research. More and more digital material is becoming available, allowing for the compilation of large data sets for further analysis.

Our target audiences

Huygens ING aims to have an impact on both science and society at large. In other words, we don’t just focus on fellow scientists – we also work for the education sector, heritage organisations, the private sector, government bodies and a broad audience of people with an interest in culture. Our research results are distributed through a wide variety of channels and reach a wide variety of people.