Antal van den Bosch new director of Meertens Institute

31 August 2016

Antal van den Bosch has been appointed director of the Academy’s Meertens Institute effective 1 January 2017. Van den Bosch is Professor of Language and Speech Technology at Radboud University Nijmegen and Research Director of the Centre for Language Studies there. He will succeed Hans Bennis, who has headed the Meertens Institute since 1998.

The Meertens Institute researches and documents Dutch language and culture. It is part of the Academy’s Humanities cluster.


Download a high-resolution image of Antal van den Bosch. If you use the photograph, please credit the photographer: Milette Raats.

About Antal van den Bosch

Antal van den Bosch (1969) studied language arts at Tilburg University, with an emphasis on computational linguistics. He received his PhD in 1997 from Maastricht University, graduating cum laude for his research on models for the pronunciation of written words. Van den Bosch was appointed Professor of Memory, Language and Meaning at Tilburg University in 2008. In 2011, he moved to Radboud University Nijmegen. He became a member of the Academy in 2012. Van den Bosch will maintain his professorship at the Centre for Language Studies, Faculty of Arts, Radboud University Nijmegen.

Van den Bosch develops technologies based on machine learning, i.e. methods whereby computers automatically recognise patterns in large amounts of data, in this case text and speech. He is interested in memory-based learning (algorithms that compare new data directly with data stored in memory); historical and contemporary language variation; the relationship between written and spoken language; and text mining, i.e. using data-mining techniques to obtain valuable information from large corpora.

Antal van den Bosch is a guest professor at the Computational Linguistics & Psycholinguistics Research Center (CLiPS) at the University of Antwerp. He is also affiliated with the Netherlands eScience Center and is a Fellow at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at Radboud University Nijmegen. Van den Bosch is a member of the board of the Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (CLARIAH), whose aim is to interlink digital sources and data in the humanities and make the resulting infrastructure accessible. He is also closely involved in (‘network for humanities, social sciences and technology’), an Academy initiative in the digital humanities that unites its humanities institutes with twelve Dutch universities.

About Hans Bennis

Hans Bennis (1951) has been the director of the Meertens Institute since 1998. He specialises in Dutch syntax. He is the co-author of Syntactische Atlas van de Nederlandse Dialecten [Syntactic Atlas of Dutch Dialects] and heads the Taalportaal [Language Portal], an English-language knowledge base on the phonology, morphology and syntax of Dutch, Frisian and Afrikaans that provides online access to a comprehensive scientific grammar for these three languages. The portal is funded in part by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Bennis is Professor of Language Variation in Dutch at the University of Amsterdam. In 2007, he became an honorary foreign member of the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature in Ghent. As a board member for CLARIN-NL, CLARIAH and Nederlab, he has positioned the Meertens Institute as a centre of expertise for developing the large-scale infrastructure facilities needed for linguistic research, automatic text recognition, text enhancement, and text analysis in the humanities. He has headed the institute with great dedication and enthusiasm over the past 18 years. Bennis is stepping down because he has reached retirement age.

About the Meertens Institute

The Meertens Institute studies and documents the Dutch language and Dutch culture. Its research focuses on four domains: oral culture, traditions and rituals, syntactic variation, and phonological variation. The institute manages its research results and collections in databases that both researchers and the general public can access from its website. Its research contributes to a better understanding of the diversity and dynamic nature of language and culture.

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