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The Dutch Institute in Istanbul (NIT)


The Dutch Institute in Istanbul (NIT)

When looking at the cultural collaboration between Holland and Turkey on the topic of heritage, it soon becomes clear that the Dutch Institute in Istanbul is the most active organization in the field. The institute organizes many lectures and workshops about heritage-related topics often in collaboration with universities in both Turkey and the Netherlands. They also host international students and academicians who carry out research on heritage and archaeology in Istanbul. The Dutch Institute also has its own library, its books mainly about topics related to archaeology. The following is a global overview of the type of events they organized in the past or are planning for the future. A detailed overview of the activities can be found on their website.


In 2007 Sieta Neuerburg visited the NIT, conducting research on educational programs of museums in Istanbul. NIT decided to pay more attention to this subject, and organized together with Deniz Ünsal of Bilgi University a symposium and a workshop, called Symposium Museums Engaging Communities. The subject of the symposium was how to attract those groups of society that do not usually visit a museum. Representatives of the following Dutch museums presented their experiences: Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Hunebedcentrum in Borger, the Audax Textielmuseum in Tilburg, and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. The Turkish participants were the archeological museums of Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir, the city museum of Bursa, and the Istanbul art museums Sadberk Hanım musem and Santralistanbul. The results of this project are used to created a cd-rom in Turkish and English for museums and for courses like museology and heritage studies.



In January 2008, the Dutch institute welcomed a group of students and postgraduates from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, led by historian Onno van Nijf. For one week they spent time together with their fellows from Istanbul University. The aim of the visit was not only to get to know Istanbul and her surroundings, but also to investigate the possibilities for further collaboration. In order to investigate this collaboration, two symposia were organized where both groups gave lectures about their current research. Both parties were enthusiast and made plans for further collaboration. This shows that a combination of a working visit and educational activities is very useful to create international collaboration and exchange.



In 2009, the Dutch Institute, together with the Department of prehistory of Istanbul University and the Department of Archaeology of the Aegean University, held a workshop at Istanbul University. The theme of this workshop was ‘The Neolithic Period in Western Anatolia and Thrace: Attempt for Sharing Information and Constructiong a Chronology’.


In 2009, Jan Schmidt from Leiden University gave a lecture about his own research: 'Fritz Rudolf Kraus in Istanbul (1937-1949) and the development of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Turkey'



In 2009, the Rode Hoed in Amsterdam was in Constantinople-spheres. Stichting Zenobia and the Nederlands Klassiek Verbond organized a congress about the city, her history and some of her interesting cultural-historical developments. In nine lectures some prominent academicians created a view of Constantinople in the Byzantium time, as well as an impression of the variety of Dutch research in this field. For the NIT this was a good opportunity to show her activities and facilities.



In 2010, the Netherlands Institute in Turkey hosted the Experience Sharing Meeting of NGOs organized together with Europe Nostra Istanbul and the Netherlands Institute for Heritage (Erfgoed Nederland). With the goal of creating a platform for Turkish and Dutch NGOs to share their experiences on heritage issues concerning legislation, management, communication, and best practices, the meeting featured presentations by eight Dutch experts followed by a plenary discussion. The morning session entitled “Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands” began with Marjolein Cremer, Project Coordinator of the Netherlands Institute for Heritage (Erfgoed Nederland), then was followed by two NIT staff members, Fokke Gerritsen and Charlie Smid, and Jan de Jong of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The afternoon session entitled “Cultural Heritage NGOs in the Netherlands” included presentations by Karel Loeff (Director of Bond Heemschut), Jonathan Even-Zohar (Project Manager at UROCLIO), Klaartje Schweizer (Head of Collections at the Nederlands Openlucht Museum / the Netherlands Open Air Museum) and Erika Hokke (Board Member of KVAN / Royal Association of Archivists in the Netherlands). About 75 people mostly from local NGOs participated in the symposium.