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The KNAW Humanities Cluster (HuC) is a partnership of the Huygens Institute, the Meertens Institute and the Internationaal Institute for Social History. The HuC stimulates innovative humanities research and builds sustainable digital infrastructure. In 2018, the former IT departments of the three institutes were merged into the HuC to form the current Digital Infrastructure department. In addition, two interdisciplinary research groups are active within the HuC. These consist of experts in the humanities, computational linguistics, social sciences and the semantic web (NL-Lab and DHLab). A third interdisciplinary group, Cultural AI Lab, consists of members both within and outside the Humanities Cluster. As a core member of CLARIAH, the HuC plays a leading role in the development of a sustainable, large-scale digital infrastructure for humanities and social science research. Finally, the HuC also maintain close ties with a wide range of other national and international partners and collaborators in research, cultural heritage, government and industry.

Huygens Institute

The Huygens Institute conducts research into Dutch history and culture. Its researchers unlock and analyse original sources with advanced digital techniques. They study them not only in their national context, but also in their international context. The research results are made available online and permanently as academic editions, datasets and source editions. In this way, the institute plays a fundamental role in creating and maintaining the national infrastructure for the humanities and actively contributes to reliable knowledge about Dutch history and culture.

Meertens Institute

Research at the Meertens Institute focuses on language and culture in everyday life in the Netherlands, in an international, comparative and historical perspective. Research into the current dynamics in the use of language and culture, and how the resulting identity-political changes should be understood, are central to the research programme. The institute is closely involved in the development of (and the debate about) Cultural AI and the development of a digital infrastructure in the field of language.

International Institute of Social History

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) provides trusted information and insights on the origins, effects and consequences of social inequality at an international level. To this end, the institute offers and produces historical sources and data, facilitates social-historical research and collaborates internationally on pioneering research projects. The collections of the IISH consist of archival, library and audiovisual material with a thematic emphasis on social and emancipatory movements.


NL-Lab is a research group of the KNAW Humanities Cluster, established by the Huygens Institute and the Meertens Institute. NL-Lab develops research into Dutch culture and identity, past and present. How is our national identity created and felt? How does the Netherlands talk, how does the Netherlands taste, how does the Netherlands tell its history? Where and for whom is Dutch identity at stake? NL-Lab combines expertise from various fields of knowledge to develop new perspectives on these pressing issues using innovative research methods. NL-Lab is also leading the EU Horizon 2020 project Odeuropa.


The Digital Humanities Lab (DHLab) is a research group within the KNAW Humanities Cluster (HuC). The DHLab connects research of the three HuC institutes in the field of the digital humanities. The Lab focuses on advancing humanities research through computational methods. To this end, it brings together knowledge from the humanities, computational linguistics, information retrieval, XML, social sciences and semantic web. Among other things, DHLab is co-developer of the olfactory reference language and semantic web technology in the EU Horizon 2020 Odeuropa project. It is also closely involved in the NWO-funded AI:CULT project, which focuses on the gap between AI and our digital cultural heritage.

Cultural AI Lab

Cultural AI Lab is a collaboration between the KNAW Humanities Cluster, the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), the Netherlands Royal Library (KB), the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, TNO, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Amsterdam. The lab serves as a bridge between cultural heritage institutions, humanities and computer science. The mission of Cultural AI Lab is to study, design and develop socio-technological AI systems that are implicitly or explicitly aware of the subtle and subjective complexity of human culture.

External partners