Universiteit Leiden

nl en

This was 2023! An overview of Humanities in the news

So much has happened this year! 2023 was an eventful year in which several wars raged about which our experts could offer interpretation. It was also the year in which the government made apologies for the slavery past. Leiden humanities scholars were at the forefront of this with their research on colonialism and slavery. As the Faculty of Humanities, we were in the midst of all this. A retrospect based on the most read news items and special events.

January | Awarded European grants

European grants for research on art, language and peace activism:

Februaru | ‘Literary text can help us understand Europe better’

'Consider languages in their shared context.' That is the message of Professor and Arabist Beatrice Gründler, who will receive an honorary doctorate from Leiden University on 8 February. ‘I would like people to learn that Arabic history has a close connection with Europe.’

March | How the Dutch East India Company gained a clove monopoly on the Ambon islands

Nutmeg, mace and cloves: spices the Dutch East India Company (VOC) wanted to get its hands on. PhD candidate Tristan Mostert conducted research into the ‘clove hunt’ on the Ambon islands and discovered that VOC governors used increasingly extreme tactics to get hold of this spice.

April | President of the European Parliament in The Hague: ‘Your friends don’t want to vote? Let me call them’

‘We have to have accountability.’ That was Roberta Metsola’ for her audience on Thursday evening. The President of the European Parliament had come to the Wijnhaven building to speak with students.

May | New joint minor Authenticity and Art Crime

Made You Look and other series on art forgeries are very popular. Perfect timing therefore for the new Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minor Authenticity and Art Crime. An exciting subject that is also attracting more attention because of the question of what is real and what is not.

June | The Chains of Holland’s Glory: research into South Holland's slavery past completed

Karwan Fatah-Black and Lauren Lauret are co-authors of Geketend voor Hollands Glorie (The Chains of Holland’s Glory) that studies the political and economic connections between South Holland and slavery. The findings of this research will be presented with Dr. Joris van den Tol (Radboud University) to the residents of the province on June 8, 2023, in The Hague.

July| Why should you worry about China and Taiwan?

A war is looming, with possibly even greater consequences for us than the war in Ukraine. China wants to take control of Taiwan. It is a conflict that has been going on for decades. China expert Casper Wits explains why tensions are so high right now. (in Dutch)

August | PhD candidates exchange experiences at small-scale summer school

Excursions to Leiden museums, a flown-in American professor and a collaboration with PhD students from Cambridge: Leiden PhD candidates in early modern art were in luck this summer. An award from the Camino Fund allowed the LUCAS research institute to organise a special summer school for them around the concept of 'style'.

September | Zelensky addresses students: 'Live your own life, but do so together with others'

A standing ovation. A wave and a smile from the president. A final selfie. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed students in the Netherlands for the first time on Tuesday morning 12 September via a livestream in The Hague. He did so in front of two packed lecture halls at both Leiden University and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Several hundred interested persons took part via the livestream. His message: 'Look outside your bubble to see what’s happening in the world.'

October | Real language comes to life in Virtual Reality

Researchers who want to investigate speakers' 'natural language use' face a challenge. As soon as participants realise they are being interviewed, they make different language choices than they would in everyday life. University lecturer Paz Gonzalez, together with colleagues professor Nivja de Jong and associate professor Jenneke van de Wal and student assistants, thinks they have come up with a solution to this problem. The use of VR glasses should help elicit unconscious real language from subjects. (in Dutch)

November | New research programme for urgent challenges in Africa

Leiden University and four other Dutch universities will appoint 51 PhD candidates to conduct solution-oriented research for and with the African continent. They will focus on urgent challenges such as climate change, the energy transition, accessible and affordable global healthcare, political stability and governance, access to clean water and sustainable urban development.

December | Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer: ‘Only creativity can save the world’

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer delivered the Huizinga lecture on Friday 8 December in a packed Pieterskerk. The writer seized the opportunity of the 52nd edition to point out the importance of creativity, both for artists and scientists.

This was a selection of the more than 200 news items about the Faculty of Humanities published this year. Want to read more? Then check this page for the full news overview. The faculty editors would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication. Happy holidays and here’s to a year full of new stories!

This website uses cookies.  More information.