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NIAS Newsletter 46 - Spring 2012

From the Archives

NIAS from an International Perspective

NIAS is one of the research institutes under the umbrella of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) . However, NIAS is in fact quite different from the other KNAW Institutes. Firstly, NIAS differs in that it is truly international: each year half of the fellows at NIAS come from outside of the Netherlands.  Secondly, NIAS differs from the other KNAW Institutes in that it is a granting organisation: it finances and supports short term research projects. Researchers stay at NIAS for a couple of months only, ten at the most, and they either work alone or in small (theme) groups on the topic of their own choice.

Whereas NIAS is unique in the Netherlands, it is not at all internationally: other countries also have institutes for advanced study similar to NIAS. In fact, 42 years ago, NIAS was founded as a result of the international experience of Professor E.M. Uhlenbeck (a linguist at Leiden University, who later on came to be the first Chairman of the NIAS Board). Since the foundation of NIAS in 1970, a number of international networks of institutes were formed, cooperating in many different ways. NIAS participates in two of these networks: in the international network of SIAS (Some Institutes for Advanced Study), and in NetIAS, a European organisation of institutes for advanced study.

In this Newsletter, focussing on NIAS from an international perspective, you can read more about the SIAS and NetIAS. This international theme is also featured in the articles by the NIAS Fellows in this Newsletter. Ruth Oldenziel, part of the six-volume book project “Making Europe”, introduces the volume she co-authored with Mikael Hård on how “ordinary people have appropriated technologies into their daily lives”. Christiaan Weijts, Writer-in-Residence, gives a glimpse of the day in the life of a NIAS Fellow. Ayobami Ojebode wrote a blog on living in the Netherlands and this Newsletter contains a fragment that reflects on status wealth and simplicity.



  • Word from the Rector (pg. 3) – Aafke Hulk
  • NIAS News (pg. 5)
  • SIAS: Some Institutes Visiting NIAS (pg. 10) – Aafke Hulk
  • NetIAS: European Cooperation and New Fellowships (pg. 12) – Kahliya Ronde
  • Studying the Brain, Exploring the Limits of Human Culture (pg. 17) – Kahliya Ronde
  • Making Europe: Technology and Transformations (pg. 21) – Ruth Oldenziel
  • The Last Refuge for the Soul: A Day at NIAS (pg. 24) – Christiaan Weijts
  • Africans Going Dutch: an African Perspective on Dutch Simplicity (pg. 28) – Ayobami Ojebode
  • Going Local: Wassenaar meets NIAS (pg. 30)
  • The Research Group 2012/13 (pg. 32)
  • Books Written at NIAS (pg. 35)
  • Books Discussed at NIAS (pg. 38)
  • Appointments and Awards (pg. 39)


Download to read (click on the link below)

NIAS Newsletter 46 – Spring 2012 (PDF)