Professional organisation

The Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG) is the association for historians in the Netherlands

As an association for historians, the KNHG plays an important role in the professionalization of the profession. We look after the interests of the profession by promoting:

  • Development of the profession and labour market perspectives
  • Professionalization and positioning of the historian
  • The societal relevance of the field of history
  • Accessibility of sources

The KNHG advises on the field and organizes conferences and workshops for the profession. To do this, we work closely with universities of applied sciences, universities and education- and knowledge institutes.

Just a couple of activities the KNHG partook in over the last couple of years:

  • In December 2022, KNHG responded to the new Dutch guidelines on the public access to archives of healthcare institutions. KNHG argues that the importance of scientific and historical research should be included more strongly in the guidelines as an exceptional condition for access.
  • In March 2022 KNHG fully supported the statement made by CISH, the international organization for historians, on the war in Ukraine. In the statement, CISH strongly condemns the abuse of history employed by President Putin in rationalizing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
  • In March 2021 KNHG strongly condemned the intimidation and threatening of Dutch historian Nadia Bouras by Vizier Op Links.
  • In March 2021 KNHG supported a call by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) to the cabinet to offer more perspective to students and (assistant) professors in the COVID-19 crisis.
  • In February 2021 KNHG and the university coordinators for the study program history articulated their growing concern towards 23 Dutch archives regarding their limited access in the corona period.
  • In December 2020 KNHG strongly condemned the smearing with racist language of the building wherein The Black Archives is residing.
  • In July 2020 KNHG urged Minister of Internal Affairs Kajsa Ollongren to include a historic expert in the new advisory commission on Dutch slavery past.
  • In January 2020 KNHG criticized the draft bill by the cabinet to amend the 1995 Archives Act (Archiefwet) in order to meet modern digital standards.
  • In November 2019 the KNHG expressed its concern after activists used heavy violence against attendees of a meeting in Den Haag organized by kick-out Zwarte Piet
  • In June 2019 the KNHG send a letter to the Dutch parliament pertaining to the advice of the commission van Rijn and Minister Engelshoven.
  • On the 5th of June 2019, together with the Germany Institute Amsterdam, the KNHG organized a debate on the way history relates to politics.
  • In the summer of 2018, the KNHG supported the television program Andere Tijden when it was confronted with Budget cuts.
  • Since 2018, the KNHG offers Historici onder vluchtelingen – Historians among Refugees – in the Netherland the ability to join its conferences free of charge
  • In 2016 and 2017 The working group Beroepsethiek – Professional ethics – has bowed itself by way of critical reflection over the professional practices of historians as to promote the quality of work among historians.
  • Every year, the KNHG organizes an expert meeting with al scientific historical educational programs. In 2018 the subject was the connection of scientific education with the labour market and in 2019 the visitation of the programs. In 2020, two expert meetings were organized: one on 6 March on the minimal requirements for a bachelor’s thesis and the matching/study check per institution, and one on 7 April on the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown for graduating BA and MA students. In 2021, the expert meeting discussed working pressure in universities and (again) issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The KNHG is an active member for the Network of concerned historians.
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