Research Projects

The IISH conducts research in Project Clusters.

  • Global Labour Relations
  • Commodities, Environment and Labour
  • Social and Economic Inequality
  • Collective Action and Individual Strategies

This is an overview of the Research Projects within the four clusters.

IISH Research | Lippische Ziegler | Lippe Brickmakers | Photo in IISH-collection

Research Projects

Historical prices and wages | Florijn uit 1616 (Kampen)

Historical Prices and Wages (HPW)

22 March 2019 10:12

Data on prices and wages are among the most important sources of information in social- and economic-historical research, especially for the pre-statistical period. HPW collects this data.

Op de werkvloer in Oss

Between solidarity and fragementation

17 February 2021 15:25

Between solidarity and fragmentation. An analysis of the consequences of and reactions to changing labour relations by the shop-floor and trade union movement in the Netherlands, 1970-2020

PhD Researcher: Rosa Kösters MA 
Thesis advisor and project leader: Dr Matthias van Rossum
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr Leo Lucassen

In the project Between solidarity and fragmentation the consequences are examined of the transformation of work in the Netherlands for shop-floor relations and its effects on how workers organize.

Affiche arbeidsinspectie

History of the Netherlands Labour Authority, 1890-2025

11 December 2023 13:29

The Netherlands Labour Authority was founded in 1890, when industry in the Netherlands was growing rapidly and workers became increasingly dependent on their employers. At that time, employers often wanted to keep costs down at the expense of the health and safety of their workers. In this environment, the Labour Authority was established to ensure that conditions in the workplace remained safe and humane.

drawing of victim of punishment

Tolerant migrant cities? The case of Holland 1600-1900

7 November 2023 13:52

This NWO funded project will answer this question how credible the image of the tolerant Dutch cities really is and how this changed over time by examining migrants through the eyes of the courts in the highly urbanized coastal provinces of the Netherlands (Holland) between 1600 and 1900. It aims to reveal patterns of continuity and change in: 1. Treatment of migrants by criminal courts, and 2. Violence and conflicts between migrants and native born.

Theevisite in een Europees huis in Batavia, Jan Brandes, 1779 - 1785

Colonial Girl Power: women and their strategies for upward social mobility in Dutch settlements in Asia and the Atlantic world

9 November 2023 13:45

In this PhD project, Hanna te Velde studies the socio-economic position of women in the early modern Dutch empire. By using court cases from the newly digitized archives of the VOC and WIC, she will study the many, various ways in which women tried to improve their position – unfree as well as free women, with European and non-European backgrounds. The project focusses on four case studies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: Batavia, Cochin, Paramaribo and Willemstad.

:A page from one of the ledgers of the Amsterdam Assurantie Compagnie of 1771, in which Dutch merchant Nicolaas Jan van Baggen takes out insurance on the lives of enslaved people.

Slavery Insured

7 November 2023 12:50

The project “Slavery Insured: A study into the Amsterdam Assurantie Compagnie 1771 and its involvement in slavery, 1771-1873” focuses on the history of one Amsterdam insurance company and its involvement in slavery. So far, the role of insurance companies in both the slave trade and the trade in slave-produced commodities has remained under-researched.

The Dam in Amsterdam

Migrants and the Court of Amsterdam, 1600-1800

7 November 2023 13:43

This project will look anew at this assumption of tolerant co-existence between migrants and locals, by studying the institutional treatment of migrants as well as their interpersonal interactions with their neighbours, as documented in the archives of the urban judicial system. By looking at how heavily place of origin affected the treatment of migrants in the Dutch Republic, we can add a more nuanced layer of analysis to the characterization of the early modern Dutch Republic as ‘tolerant’, beyond an analysis of confessional co-existence, or of long-term social mobility trends

GLOBALISE: Digital research infrastructure for VOC archives

7 November 2023 13:30

Consisting of approximately twenty-five million pages, the UNESCO Memory of the World-listed archives of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) offer a unique view on interactions between European and non-European actors in Asia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Currently, however, doing research on this vast collection of handwritten documents is extremely challenging. The GLOBALISE project creates an online research infrastructure that unlocks the key series of VOC documents and reports for advanced new research methods. The infrastructure will engage the wider public with this many-sided and increasingly hotly-debated period of Dutch overseas history.

Staat en slavernij cover

Staat en Slavernij

7 November 2023 13:15

State and Slavery details how the Dutch state and its predecessors were involved in colonial slavery. It describes how different stakeholders, such as enslaved people, administrators, and entrepreneurs in the Dutch Republic and in colonized societies responded to slavery. The project has the dual aim to explore current research into the Dutch colonial slavery past and the latter’s impact on contemporary societies through the publication of State and Slavery and, additionally, to draft an agenda for future research into Dutch slavery practices.