Universiteit Leiden

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Our history

As an educational and research institution Leiden University is seeking to understand its own relationship with the colonial and slavery past.

What do we know about the role and involvement of the University, its researchers and its administrators, but also of its teaching and research in this history? How does the colonial and slavery system of the past still resonate in today's society?  

Preliminary study

Our Executive Board believes it is important to learn about the possible relationship between the University and the colonial and slavery past. A preliminary study will therefore be conducted in 2023 to compile an inventory of the available sources and existing research. The focus will be on the following questions:  

  • How did our academic community position itself in relation to people who were robbed of their freedom?
  • What role has the University played as an educational institution with regard to colonialism and the slavery system?
  • How can we best handle our special collections?

The preliminary study will highlight possible points of attention, on the basis of which concrete steps can be considered. The study will be conducted by a postdoc, funded by the Executive Board. An expert group of internal and external experts will determine the subject areas to be covered in the study.

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