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Rudolf Dekker and Ariane Baggerman





Historical research on egodocuments in the Netherlands  

Interest in autobiographical writing has been growing among historians in the Netherlands after Jacques Presser invented the word egodocument in the mid 1950's. A further impulse was the project started by Rudolf Dekker, which aimed at a complete inventory of all egodocuments writ­ten by Dutch men and women from 1500 to 1918, both in manuscript and in print. The project was funded by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) while the ING (Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis) cooperated in the inventory of the period 1814-1918. The results of this project are now available on Internet: Another project which stimulated interest among historians was the research project directed by Arianne Baggerman, Controlling time and shaping the self: education, introspection and practices of writing in the Netherlands 1750-1914, which started in 2000. The project was funded by NWO and located at Eras­mus University Rotterdam. Dutch egodocuments which were disco­vered during these projects were edited in a series of text editions (Egodocumenten) by the publisher Verloren (edi­tors Rudolf Dekker and Gert Jan Johannes), 24 volumes have been published so far. Dutch scholars working with egodocuments are discussing their research and exchanging information at regu­lar meetings of the Workgroup Egodocument/(Auto)biography of the Huizinga Institute. Research School for Cultural History (University of Amsterdam) . International conferen­ces are organized on a regular basis. Since more than a decade information about research in the Netherlands can be found on the website This is the website of the Instituut Egodocument en Geschiedenis (Institute for the Study of Egodocuments and History). In 2009 publisher Brill (Leiden) started a new series Egodocuments and History, edited by Arianne Baggerman, Rudolf Dekker and Michael Mascuch (University of California, Berkeley). Several histori­cal research projects in the Netherlands are centered around egodocuments, including the project of Hugo Roling (University of Amsterdam) about childhood memories in the 19th and 20th centuries, Lotte van de Pol(University of Utrecht. FU Berlin) about egodocuments kept at European courts in the 18th century, and Judith Pollman (University of Leiden) on the 16th and 17th centuries. More information about these and other projects can be found on the website


New Online Open Access Journal

The first volume of the European Journal of Life Writing will be launched on December 5th

The European Journal of Life Writing, published by the European section of the International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) and facilitated by VU University Library Amsterdam, is an open access journal with no article-processing charge. It provides immediate open access to its papers on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. 

Readers can register via the journals website in order to receive publication notifications and Calls for Papers at:
Working with volumes in stead of issues, the journal will be launched on December 5th, 2012.

The European Journal of Life Writing is interdisciplinary in its outlook and welcomes articles on life writing from a wide range of disciplinary fields: literary and cultural studies, history and sociology, anthropology and ethnology, philosophy and psychology, film and media studies. It cherishes all kinds of theoretical and methodological approaches to auto/biography and enhances their interaction. It also accommodates studies that relate to diverse aspects of ‘Europeanness’, ranging from the former metropolitan core to its putative margins – and beyond.

For more information please contact Journal manager Dr. Monica Soeting (, or VU University Library - account manager open access, Imke Limpens (

The publication of EJLW  has been made possible by a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), in cooperation with five foreign scientific partners, located in Mainz, Liverpool, Madrid, Vienna and Tartu.