Meertens Institute

The Meertens Institute (Dutch Meertens Instituut) in Amsterdam is a research institute for Dutch language and culture within the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen or KNAW).

Meertens Institute
Spinhuis Poort Hendrick de Keyser Spinhuissteeg Amsterdam.JPG
Meertens Instituut (2016)
Founder(s)P.J. Meertens
FocusLinguistic and cultural diversity in the Netherlands
DirectorAntal van den Bosch

Its two departments are Dutch ethnology, focusing on indigenous and exotic cultures in the Netherlands and their interaction, and Variation, focusing on structural, dialectal, and sociolinguistic research on language variation within the Netherlands, with an emphasis on grammar and onomastic variety.


The institute began in 1930 as a Dialect Office; the Folklore office was added in 1940, and Onomastics Office in 1948. These three bureaus came under the umbrella of the Central Commission for Dutch Social Research. The Secretary of the three bureaus, P.J. Meertens, was the first director and retired in 1965. The institute was renamed PJ Meertens Institute in 1979.[1] In 1998 it was renamed as simply the Meertens Institute. Since 2001, the Institute also houses the Secretariat of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF).[2] In September 2016 the Meertens has moved to the historic 'Spinhuis' building in downtown Amsterdam, jointly with the Huygens/ING institute for the history of the Netherlands (also a KNAW institute, coming from The Hague).

The ethnology department is well known for its research in and databases on Dutch songs and folktales, pilgrimage culture and saint cults, probate inventories, farmhouses, feast and rituals and religious cultures.[3] It supports also the research platform on alternative healing.[4]


Name Years
Piet Meertens 1948–1965
Dick Blok 1965–1986
Jaap van Marle 1986–1997
Hans Bennis 1998-2016
Antal van den Bosch 2017–present

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Peter Jan Margry (ed.), P.J. Meertens van het Meertens Instituut (Amsterdam: Meertens Instituut, 2002)
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