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Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG)

The Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG) looks after the interests of all those who practise history in the Netherlands. The society also represents the Netherlands on the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS); an international organisation for historians that organises a history conference every five years. In 1898, before the International Committee of Historical Sciences was officially set up, Dutch historians organised an international conference on history in The Hague. However, throughout the course of the following century Dutch historians initiated very few activities in this area. Although Dutch historians regularly attended the ICHS conferences, the conference has never previously been held in the Netherlands. However, efforts made by the Secretary General, François Béderida, during the Montréal conference in 1995 to encourage Dutch historians to play a greater role in organising these major conferences have now borne fruit. On 7 July 2005, at the Sydney conference, it was decided that the 21st international conference in 2010 would be held in Amsterdam.

Why are Dutch historians so keen to host the conference in the Netherlands? The relevance of these international conferences has changed greatly with the passage of time. The conferences originally represented an ideal opportunity to intensify international contacts, which were

scarce at the time. Now that these contacts have become stronger than ever, ICHS conferences primarily offer an overview of the broad scope and diversity with which history is currently being practiced. Above all else, the conference offers participants the opportunity to gain an impression of what is currently taking place in the historical sciences within a very short period of just one week. Up until now, the conferences have been dominated by European history. However, if we are to strive for a Global Community of Historians then this situation must change; it will then become vital to involve fellow-historians from the non-Western world in the international community. Dutch historians are eager to meet this challenge!

The history of the Netherlands (both North and South) is presented to the international forum for historical science through the professional journal of the KNHG, entitled The Low Countries Historical Review / Bijdragen en mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nederlanden. To mark the occasion of the conference, a special issue of the journal will be published in which the relevance of the history of the Netherlands for more general historical debates will be demonstrated, drawing on nine to ten key themes from Dutch history. The title of this special issue will be: The Relevance of Dutch History (for international history).

Website of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG)