About the Historians’ Days

The Historians’ Days (in Dutch: Historicidagen) are jointly organized by the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG), Maastricht University, Open University and Fontys University of Applied Sciences from 22-24 August 2024, and are meant for everyone interested in history, professionally or otherwise.

The event showcases the many diverse and dynamic ways of doing history. Through a wide spectrum of lectures, debates and workshops, the Historians’ Days tackles issues and challenges on the frontline of historical research and public debates. Keywords of the conference include networking, inspiration, orientation, career and relaxation.

The Historians’ Days are modelled on well-known, influential and professional conferences abroad, such as the annual gatherings of the American Historical Association and the biennial Historikertag of the Association of Historians of Germany.

The Historians’ Days 2024 revolve around the theme of Undisciplined History, and actively promote diversity within participants, audience, program, stories, methods and presentations.

Albert Einstein famously said: ‘The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking’. The multiple crises of today’s society arguably demand that we change our business as usual and therefore also rethink how we do history. How do we research, write and teach the past? And who does this history? In 2024 the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG) together with Maastricht University (UM) and the Open University (OU) will organize the fourth edition of the Historians’ Days 2024 in the historical inner city of Maastricht. This three-day event will take place at campus of Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Building on a tradition of setting themes that resonate with current transformations in our society, the theme for this edition is Undisciplined History.

More than interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary, the word undisciplined also has a rebellious streak. It suggests breaking with conventions, out-of-the-box thinking and unruly practices. It appeals to the idea of doing history differently. For some, the word might have an activist connotation that resonates with meaningful conversations surrounding research ethics and forms of injustice. For others it may mean doing better, more inclusive, or simply more fun research. Undisciplined History is at the least an invitation to free oneself up, and to come and join in a quest to teach, research and present history beyond the well-known limitations of doing history as we are used to do.

An adjacent issue to doing history differently concerns the question: who is doing history? Increasingly we see others than trained professionals involved in research and teaching. In the Limburg province especially, this builds on a strong base of community collectives and associations interested in history and heritage. Therefore, Undisciplined History also includes a desire to engage with the past in a bottom-up manner. It takes an interest in projects that open up community knowledge and, as such, move into the zone where fact, fiction and fantasy are not so far apart.

Undisciplined History, or history in dialogue with other disciplines, is a fitting label for the research and education at the UM and the OU. They pride themselves in having a long history of doing interdisciplinary teaching and research. This edition’s theme therefore is an open invitation to all active as researchers, teachers, or exhibition makers—regardless of their ‘discipline’. It points to questions such as what makes a discipline, what holds it together, but also: what lies beyond it? Importantly the Historians’ Days 2024 want to do more than just draw in those who are professionally active in the history and heritage field. We also explicitly extend the invitation to the amateurs, the communities and the creatives interested in historical objects and subjects.

Registration for the Historians’ Days 2024 is open until 1 August!

We hope to see you at the Historians’ Days 2024 in Maastricht.

Register quickly!