University of Amsterdam

In September 2011, the UvA-FGw founded the priority area Digital Humanities (following its long term investment in Alfa-Informatica since the 1980s) to support and encourage the innovative use of digital tools and techniques in humanities research and education. To that end, the Center for Digital Humanities was established (with VU and KNAW) which coordinates around 25 public-private projects.

Goals and Activities

An annual crashcourse for staff has been set up, which enrolls 50 staff members each year, and DHBenelux conference was co-set up. Digital Humanities is also integrated in the bachelor Media and Information, as well as in several Master courses, and has a minor program together with the VU.

The activities in Digital Humanities at UvA-FGw are represented by roughly eight fields:

  1. Digital/computational Linguistics: there is a long tradition in data-oriented parsing and machine translation at the UvA since the late 1980s. There are several public-private collaborations in this area (with Yandex, Elsevier, SAP, Google, a.o.), and the “Language and Computation” group participates in the NWO-zwaartekrachtprogramma “Language in Interaction” (Prof.dr. Rens Bod).
  2. Digital History: SPIN ( Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms) headed by Prof.dr. Joep Leerssen, on digitally charting cultural European nationalisms. Also the Vici-project by Prof.dr. Arianna Betti on modelling the history of ideas (digital philosophy), the NWO open competition project headed by Prof.dr. Rens Bod on the longue durée history of knowledge, and the participation in the NWO-Groot project “Golden Agents” headed by Prof.dr. Charles van den Heuvel.
  3. Digital Art History: Within the new NICAS institute (Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science), the FGw has started a new direction into digital art history with several researchers including Prof.dr. Robert Erdmann and Prof.dr. Sven Dupré. The FGw also supports the ECARTICO project (Economic and Artistic Competition in the Amsterdam art market) by Dr. Marten Jan Bok
  4. Digital Heritage: since 2014, the FGw-Center for Cultural Heritage and Identity is an UvA priority area hosting the project CREATE: ‘Creative Amsterdam: An E-Humanities Perspective’, headed by Prof.dr. Julia Noordegraaf. CREATE investigates with digital methods and techniques how cultural industries have shaped Amsterdam’s unique position in a global context, from 1600 till the present day.
  5. Digital Media Studies hosts several projects: from digital studies of mobile games (Prof.dr. José van Dijck, NWO Creative Industries) to Digital Analysis of parliamentary proceedings (Dr. Jaap Kamps), and from analysis of born-digital data (Prof.dr. Richard Rogers) to digital analysis of emotions in films (Prof.dr. Patricia Pisters). Digital Media Studies also participates substantially in CLARIAH.
  6. Digital Musicology is carried out by Prof.dr. Henkjan Honing and his group, where the main goal is to understand perception of music, in particular rhythm perception, as well as several citizen science projects in computational musicology.
  7. Digital Archeology focuses on digital reconstruction of building and artefacts, headed by Prof. dr. Vladimir Stissi and Dr. Patricia Lulof.
  8. Digital Literary Studies is headed by Prof.dr. Karina van Dalen-Oskam, in particular “The Riddle of Literary Quality” project which has led a.o. to “Het Nationale Lezersonderzoek” resulting in quality-judgments of over 12.000 readers, which are used to digitally model quality judgments for new books.


Central contact person voor CHAT within FGw-UvA is Prof.dr. Rens Bod

Central Themes

  • Large-scale pattern searching in humanities (big) data
  • The quest for a digital hermeneutics
  • The problem of digital source criticism
  • The integration of humanities 1.0 (the hermeneutic tradition) and humanities 2.0 (the pattern-searching tradition) into humanities 3.0 (the combination of the two)

Relevant links