Computational humanities research

The Digital Humanities Lab is an inter-institutional research group connecting digital humanities research across the three KNAW HuC institutes. The lab is focused on advancing humanities research through computational methods for which they bring together expertise from humanities, computational linguistics, information retrieval, XML, social science and semantic web.

Vacancy: 2-year postdoc position

DHLab is looking for a new colleague to co-develop and evaluate language and semantic web technology related to smell in the context of the H2020 Odeuropa project. The Odeuropa project is an interdisciplinary project funded by the European Union in which historians, museologists, and digital humanities researchers work together on tracing smells through time. Besides this, DHLab provides you with the opportunity to advance your own research line, which ideally intersects with research themes already present at KNAW HuC. Supervision of graduate students is an option.


  • A PhD and an outstanding track record in the area of language technology and/or semantic web applied to humanities or a related application area (e.g. cultural heritage, social science);
  • Demonstrable affinity and experience at a methodological level with innovative digital and computational methods and techniques;
  • Demonstrable ability to build bridges between computational research and the humanities, including working together with colleagues from different disciplines;
  • Ability to cooperate in a stimulating and creative manner with other researchers.
  • Excellent communication skills in English and preferably also Dutch;
  • Proven organisational and administrative skills;
  • Experience with cultural heritage data and Python is a plus.

Deadline 25 October

More details at:

Odeuropa awarded €2.8M grant for research project on European olfactory heritage and sensory mining

The Odeuropa consortium is very proud to announce that it has been awarded a €2.8M grant from the EU Horizon 2020 programme for the project, “ODEUROPA: Negotiating Olfactory and Sensory Experiences in Cultural Heritage Practice and Research”. DHLab lead Marieke van Erp is involved as project manager and in creating language technology for detecting references to smells in texts.

Smell is an urgent topic which is fast gaining attention in different communities. Amongst the questions the Odeuropa project will focus on are: what are the key scents, fragrant spaces, and olfactory practices that have shaped our cultures? How can we extract sensory data from large-scale digital text and image collections? How can we represent smell in all its facets in a database? How should we safeguard our olfactory heritage? And — why should we?

The project bundles an array of academic expertise from across many disciplines—history, art history, computational linguistics, computer vision, semantic web, museology, heritage science, and chemistry, with further expertise from cultural heritage institutes, intangible heritage organisations, policy makers, and the creative and fragrance industries. The team will develop novel methods in sensory mining and olfactory heritage science to collect information about smell from multinational digital text and image collections. The historical scent data will be curated and published in an online Encyclopaedia of Smell Heritage, describing the sensory qualities and meanings of the scents and tracing the storylines of key scents, fragrant places, and olfactory practices. This database will become an archive for the olfactory heritage of Europe, enabling future generations to access and learn about the scented past.

In addition, a selection of European smells will be preserved and ‘reconstructed’ using heritage science techniques. Working with museums, artists, and perfumers the Odeuropa team will curate olfactory events and exhibits and educate heritage visitors on engaging with history through the nose. The ultimate goal of the Odeuropa project is to show that critically engaging our sense of smell and our scent heritage is an important and a viable means for connecting and promoting Europe’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

The Odeuropa project will be led by: Inger Leemans (NL-Lab) and Marieke van Erp (DHLab) at the Humanities Cluster of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; Peter Bell (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg); Sara Tonelli (Fondazione Bruno Kessler); Raphaël Troncy (EURECOM Sophia Antipolis); William Tullett (Anglia Ruskin University); Dunja Mladenić (Jožef Stefan Institute); and Matija Strlič (University College London).

The project website is:

Computational Humanities Research – Workshop

From 18 to 20 November, DHLab + KNAW HuC will organise the first Computational Humanities Research workshop (online).

The Computational Humanities Research community is an international and interdisciplinary community that supports researchers with an interest in computational approaches to the humanities. Ultimately, the goal of the community is to set up a research-oriented, open-access computational humanities journal. Submission are now closed. More information at