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University of Amsterdam (UvA)

The former Dutch Minister and European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein once remarked that a statesman has two guiding lights: history and reason. History is an important instrument for politicians: it provides insights into the workings of society and can be invaluable when searching for the appropriate solutions to social problems.

The appeal of history, however, is not limited to politicians. A study of history can help citizens to understand current events while satisfying the innate human desire to know about the past. In this respect, historians provide an essential service to society and should therefore not be neglected. It is the responsibility of society as a whole to ensure that historians can continue to do their work. For this reason, it is a privilege for the University of Amsterdam (UvA) to have the opportunity of hosting the 21st International Congress of Historical Sciences.

This symposium ideally matches the profile of the UvA, an institution with more than 370 years of history. The University is housed in a number of historic buildings in the centre of Amsterdam. One fine example is the Agnietenkapel (St Agnes' Chapel), in which the predecessor of the UvA was established in 1632 and where scientists still regularly defend their doctoral theses. These historic buildings are quite literally a confrontation with history for visitors and staff alike; a history in which science plays an integral part.

Examining history through the window of science can also help us to gain new perspectives. Ultimately, discoveries in physics and medical science or new economic insights have always taught us more about preceding eras. The UvA is thus obliged - but above all honoured - to welcome you to the 21st International Congress of Historical Sciences.

Website of the University of Amsterdam (UvA)