The Meertens Institute has a long tradition in the documentation and research of Dutch language and rituals we encounter in everyday culture. In the previous decades the Institute’s focus has shifted from documentation to research. At present, research is the major component of the Institute’s activities, and documentation and other activities are to a large extent made dependent on the scientific efforts.


The Meertens Institute has systematically built and acquired a large number of collections which provide unique perspectives on our language and culture. These collections form the starting point for most research projects.

International perspective

The focus of our research activities is directed towards the understanding of variation and diversity in Dutch language and culture. Moreover, the research is comparative and should be internationally prominent, giving rise to new theoretical insights and perspectives. Its scientific prominence should follow from important publications in a-level journals and books with prestigious publishers and lectures at leading conferences.


The rapid development of electronic databases and tools has opned up new and fascinating research perspectives, especially with regard to large quantities of data. Whenever relevant, research projects at the Meertens Institute have an eHumanities component in which new approaches to the data are exploited and investigated. The Meertens Institute is one of the prospective CLARIN centres of the CLARIN ERIC (http://www.clarin.eu).

Research teams

Research in the Meertens Institute is organized in groups in which researchers, collection specialists and technologists work together. These teams work on temporary topics with a concrete focus in terms of scientific relevance, explicit goals, concrete workplan and planned output.


Working in a national and international network is important for creating cooperation between research groups focusing on the same or similar research questions. Existing international networks are Edisyn, SIEF, the Diachrony network and the eLaboratory for Oral Culture. The Meertens Institute will continu and expand relationships with national and foreign universities. Cooperation with other KNAW-humanities institutes will receive special attention.


For the succes of the research projects it is important to have a wider audience that the scientific research community alone. Projects should be active in finding ways of enhancing their impact by connection to societal demands or interests. The increasing collaboration with partners in commercial and governmental areas and in heritage institutions is important to create products that have a wider relevance than the scientific community alone.