Cheese is a typically Dutch product. This is often reflected by its packaging, which shows idealised images of its origins and how it is made: Frau Antje, contented cows and traditional farming practices. This project does not overlook how cheese has played a key role in the Dutch landscape and gastronomic culture, economy and image. […]

  •    •  


The COVID-19 crisis has underlined how smell plays a key role in everyday life: not only is the loss of smell one of the symptoms of COVID-19, but the lockdown has also influenced our olfactory environment (we miss the aroma of vending-machine coffee at the office and fragrant smells when dining out). But what role […]

Populism, social media and religion

Populism poses a major challenge to society and academia. Movements such as the PVV (the Netherlands) and PEGIDA (Germany) do not fit neatly into existing paradigms, and they publish few programmatic texts. How should we understand populist movements? This project draws on social media data to analyse how key concepts are defined in populist ideology. […]


Public emotions

NL-Lab documents emotions in the Netherlands. In partnership with the Meertens Institute, we investigate which emotions are displayed in public debates, and why certain emotions have become so dominant in the public arena. We aim to produce a ‘humours map’ of Dutch society, focusing on differences, demarcation lines and historical developments. The project seeks to […]

The affective economy

The Netherlands has long been portrayed as a sober nation of merchants. The Republic of Seven United Netherlands, one of the world’s first modern capitalist economies, is said to have been built on a prudent commercial moral code. This myth was grounded in the dominant economic theory of the efficient market, with homo economicus as […]

Liquorice – Taste and Identity

Liquorice is viewed as a ‘typically Dutch’ product, and as a characteristic form of Dutch identity. But why is this the case? Liquorice is also eaten elsewhere, and the liquorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, the roots of which give the black sweet its distinctive taste, is not native to North-western Europe. Liquorice was probably first introduced […]

The hat

Behind an object as simple as a hat lies a complex cultural code. Hats feature in many seventeenth-century portraits


Programme lines: