Societal Innovation

HoH will aid in resolving two current societal challenges: the call for sustainability and innovation in the public sphere in the Netherlands and Europe; and the necessity to promote historical awareness in Europe in ways that can intervene in today’s societal polarisation. The project will also explore the potential of active citizen participation in our mediation of famine pasts. This results in the following five key points of societal innovation:

  1. The project will intervene in the ways in which living pasts function in changing, multicultural societies in the Netherlands and Europe.
  2. The research results will inspire reflections within the educational and heritage sector upon its own practices and policies.
  3. The project will offer deeper perspectives on how we can pass on past experiences of famine, migration, and poverty, which could inspire societal institutions concerned with human rights and solidarity.
  4. The project will contribute to current discussions about refugees and their place in European societies.
  5. The project results could be of use to institutes involved with agricultural or environmental concerns. They shed light on human-nature relationships in the past.

    Menno Huizinga, Kinderen krijgen bijvoeding tijdens de hongerwinter (1945).
    NIOD, Menno Huizinga collection


    ‘The Unknown Famine: Athens 1941–1942’ (2017) Source:

    To read a detailed point-by point description of the project’s societal innovation, click here (pdf, 88 kB).

    If you would like to read about how the project’s aim to not only analyse but transcend societal polarisation fits within the Dutch Research Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda, NWA), please click here (pdf, 111 kB).