The International Institute of Social History focuses on labour and social movements across the globe over the past five centuries. We collaborate with societal groups, provide sustainable access to information, and examine the relationship between work and social inequality.



The Global Labour History research program of the IISH focuses on work and labour relations worldwide over the last five hundred years. Key questions in this research involve the connection between work, labour relations and social inequality. How do work and labour relations impact access to opportunities and resources? And what is the effect of inequality on work and labour relations? How do people act, individually or collectively, to change their situation?

Starting from an Open Science agenda we share our insights through international scholarly publishing channels, through our own Open Access journals and book series, through lectures, workshops and conferences, as well as by making our research data available for reuse. We engage with a broader audience through popular books, lectures, and participation in societal debates to share knowledge and insights that can help create a more open, inclusive and equal society.


The IISH Data and Collections Department ensures the sustainable accessibility of information relating to long-term developments around social and economic inequality worldwide. Our emphasis within this field is on work, labour relations, social and emancipatory movements and economic history. We do this by creating, collecting, managing and/or making this information available to everyone and sharing knowledge on this topic.

Our main focus is to preserve information sustainably and make it accessible to various groups of users. This information can be found in various carriers (books, photos, audio, video, objects) and functions (archives, journals and datasets) that we include in the collection.  From a position of social commitment, we also aim to make our knowledge, skills and resources in this field available to others.