General Information

Mission Statement

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) is the world's largest documentation and research centre in the field of social history. Since its foundation in 1935, the institute has dedicated itself to the collection, preservation and availability of the heritage of social movements worldwide. The institute is independent and reliable, which makes it a natural depository of the frequently threatened cultural heritage of the labour movement and other emancipatory groups and currents. The research department of the institute focuses on the history of labour relations and organizes international projects in this field. The collection (archives, library and audio-visual materials) takes up well over 30 miles of shelf room. The IISH is an institute that comes under the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).


The IISH holds over 3,000 archival collections, some 1 million printed volumes and about as many audio-visual items. The available Collections are accessible through an online catalogue, an online index of archives and inventories. The IISH is also home to a number of other documentary institutions, most notably the Netherlands Economic History Archive (NEHA) and the Press Museum. Both offer supplementary collections and services. Their material is included in the IISH catalogue. Visitors can consult the collections for reference and research in the reading room.

Research and Publications

The IISH carries out and stimulates scholarly research. It is a respected meeting place for researchers from all over the world and organizes conferences, symposia and international research projects. The Institute publishes research results through international academic publishers and its own inhouse publishing unit. The International Review of Social History is published for the Institute by Cambridge University Press and appears three times a year, plus one supplement.