‘States of War’: NIOD’s research agenda for 2020-2024
The research agenda of NIOD focuses on the impact of war and large-scale violence. Research topics are the first-hand experiences of people and their societies, the consequences of the war and violence, how injustice and physical and mental damage can be remedied, and finally, the individual and collective reflection on ‘states of war’ and the long-term effect.
The research agenda for 2020-2024
The research agenda for 2020-2024 encompasses the mission statement and objectives of NIOD’s research policy for the coming years. Its aim is to strengthen the position of NIOD as a leading partner, both in the Netherlands and abroad. At the same time, NIOD wants to keep abreast of the issues and debate in Dutch society when it comes to war history. Based on its reputation for research, collection, and services, NIOD wants to connect the study of today’s urgent questions with a search for new perspectives on our troubled past. As a KNAW institute, NIOD intends to build on the positive assessment in the 2018 review and continues striving for excellence.
The agenda is inspired by the recommendations of the Review Committee (2018) and the Portfolio Committee of KNAW and NWO (2019). This policy paper is drawn up in collaboration with the scholarly advisory committee set up by KNAW. Since the end of 2019, the committee members are:
- Prof. Nico Schrijver (Leiden University), Chair
- Prof. Berber Bevernage (University of Ghent), member
- Prof. Christina Morina (University of Bielefeld), member
- Prof. Herman Paul (Leiden University), member
The impact of war and large-scale violence on society
The state of the world today is determined in many ways by the phenomena and consequences of wars and large-scale violence. In the Netherlands, too, the experiences of the recent and somewhat less recent past (both World Wars, the decolonisation wars) are kept alive in our collective memory. At the same time, we are experiencing the disruptive effects of more recent violent conflicts between states and within states: civil wars and other conflicts that cause states to fall apart.
The common denominator of ‘states of war’
The common denominator of these ‘states of war’ is that they have a global and long-lasting impact, whether it concerns World War II or the Syrian civil war. ‘States of war’ have in common that they can destroy people’s worlds. They create new and boundless social, political, and legal realities and force people to look for new ways to survive.
The impact of wars and large-scale violence: the past is not over
The memories of the Second World War still determine Dutch thinking about the impact of that war, which brought national socialist repression and the Holocaust. The commemorations and celebrations connected with the Second World War still colour our attitude towards that dangerous part of history.
Nevertheless, we should not lose sight of the fact that the Netherlands was involved in numerous armed conflicts both before and after the Second World War, and in several instances entered into colonial conflicts as a member of multilateral political and military operations, of ‘coalitions of the willing’. This side of Dutch history fits in with the efforts of European and Western states to promote their own interests on a global scale. And so, NIOD does not consider the effects of wars and large-scale violence as belonging to a closed-off and limited past, but as part of the dynamics that determine today’s world. Research will not be limited to the Netherlands or to Dutch war experiences, but will focus more broadly on conflicts that are relevant to Dutch society.