International Symposium: The Dutch Colonies of Benevolence in international context

9 di
9 mei 2023
Veenhuizen or online

Exactly 200 years ago, the agricultural colony at Veenhuizen was first opened. Established as a social experiment to combat poverty, re-educate people, and transform wasteland into productive agricultural land, the Colony housed thousands of poor families, vagrants, orphans, widows, and criminals for decades. Because of their great cultural-historical importance, the Dutch and Flemish Colonies of Benevolence were granted the UNESCO World Heritage status in 2021.

This day-long public symposium celebrates both the 200th anniversary and the newly acquired World Heritage status. Fifteen leading national and international researchers will together discuss the Colonies from multidisciplinary angles. From poverty alleviation to punishment. From landscaping to architecture. And from the underlying economic model to the ideas of founder Johannes van den Bosch. Along the way, the Dutch Colonies of Benevolence will be compared to other19th-century agricultural colonies – in Belgium, France, Italy, Great Britain, South Africa and elsewhere. In which ways were the Dutch agricultural colonies of Benevolence unique?


Barbara Arneil (UBC) – Anne Brunon Ernst (Paris) – Geertje Bernaerts (Karvansera) – Iain Mackinnon (Coventry) – Paul Meurs (Steenhuismeurs) – Sabrina Puddu (Leuven) – Colin Ripley (Toronto) – Angelie Sens (Amsterdam) – Freek Schmidt (VU) – Hanneke Stuit (UvA) – Vincent Tassenaar & Richard Paping (both Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) – Stephen Toth (Arizona) – Craig Whittall (London)

The symposium will be in English. You can also follow the symposium online; please register below.


Tuesday May 9th 2023


09.00 – 17.30


National Prison Museum

Oude Gracht 1

9341 AA Veenhuizen

The Netherlands

Entrance fee:

€ 30,- (this includes coffee/tea and lunch; and a guided tour of the museum*)


Check out the program here: Program International Symposium

*During each of the four panel sessions, we offer guided tours of the museum. Would you like to take part in this? Then please indicate in the form below under ‘Notes’ during which panel session you would like a guided tour of the museum.

The symposium will be held in English. Should you be interested, please know that you are very welcome to attend the public symposium, whether in person or online. For more information and registration, see the website:

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