Inger Leemans

Research leader NL-Lab. Cultural history. Cultural economy. Knowledge history. Emotions and senses. Digital Humanities.

Inger Leemans is a professor of Cultural History at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the principal investigator of the NL-Lab at the KNAW Humanities Cluster. Her research activity is concentrated on early modern cultural history (1500-1850), the history of emotion and smell, the history of knowledge, cultural economy, and digital humanities. She has published on pornographic history, financial crises, the book market, the mechanics of translation, imagineering and the early modern novel. In collaboration with Gert Jan Johannes, she has written a new handbook on eighteenth-century Dutch literature: Worm en donder. Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur 1700-1800. De Republiek (Worm and Thunder. History of Dutch Literature 1700-1800. The Republic) (Bert Bakker, 2013). Recently, she has published, also with Johannes, a more playful book: De vliegerende Hollander. Cultuurgeschiedenis van de Nederlandse vliegerverbeelding vanaf 1600 (The Kite Flying Dutchman. Cultural History of the Dutch Kite Representation from 1600) (Prometheus 2020). At this moment, she is working on a cultural history of the stock trade. As of 2021, Leemans is Project Lead of the EU Horizon 2020 project ODEUROPA: Negotiating Olfactory and Sensory Experiences in Cultural Heritage Practice and Research. 

Inger Leemans is a member of the scientific board of the EU JPI Cultural Heritage, of the National Research Board for Cultural Heritage and the National Board for Dutch Language and Culture (De Taalunie). She collaborates on various digital humanities projects such as Golden Agents, REPUBLIC, Embodied Emotions, Visualizing Uncertainty (Netherlands eScience Center) and Quality and Perspectives in Deep Data. She is also member of the board of the Royal Dutch Historical Society, the Huizinga Institute and of the editorial board of the journal Spiegel der Letteren.

Inger Leemans is passionate about knowledge utilization. She gives lectures for various target groups and regularly participates in radio and television programs or in podcasts. She has given a class in the Universiteit van Nederland, has held a TedX-talk, has spoken at large public festivals such as Oerol, and she moderates debates. For her, knowledge utilization is not only about communicating research results, but also about the development of new research projects in collaboration with private and public partners. In her research projects, Leemans collaborates with the financial sector, the scent industry, the heritage sector and with various creative partners. As the principal investigator of NL-Lab, Leemans gathers experts from diverse backgrounds to design new research practices – for research at the heart of society.