Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Erik-Jan Zürcher Resigns as IISH Director

KNAW Communiqué   

"In consultation with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher (born in 1953) has announced his resignation as IISH director. Following discussions, Erik-Jan Zürcher and the Academy Board and Board of Management have decided not to effect reappointment for a further period of five years. They agree on the analysis of the challenges facing the IISG in the next few years, but differ regarding the strategy to be adopted. Prof. Zürcher’s first term of office was not due to end until 1 April 2013. However, in view of the fact that intensive consultations will be held in the next six months concerning the future position of the IISH within the planned KNAW Humanities Center, he will be stepping down on 1 November.

In the past five years, Prof. Zürcher has increased the standing of his renowned institute at home and abroad as a result of, for instance, activities relating to the seventy-fifth anniversary in 2010, saving and collecting archives from outside Europe, continuing to embed the institute in academic networks and by making communication more professional. In the final period of his term of office, the IISH director focused on clarifying the choices being faced by his institute and parent organisation KNAW in the light of developments within the humanities. These choices concern the balance between the administration and extension of the collection (which is unique worldwide) on the one hand, and the research task and the rapidly increasing importance of digitisation and born digital material on the other.

The KNAW is very grateful to Erik-Jan Zürcher for his contribution to the success of the IISH, as well as for his clear analysis of developments within the humanities. With effect from 1 November, Erik-Jan Zürcher will return to full-time academic research and education. Prof. Zürcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at Leiden University. He is also a member of the KNAW.

For more information please contact Hugo van Bergen, KNAW chief communications officer: 020 551 0769, e-mail:"

23 October 2012