New study on social issues by Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology

Caribisch Netwerk reports that scientists of the The Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology (KITLV) are going to perform an extensive study of the six former Antillean islands in the areas of the political situation, media, history and culture.  They will receive more than 750,000 euros for this study.

Politicians and officials in The Hague have a need for improved knowledge about the islands for making better policies for the Caribbean communities. The national government has earmarked about 5 million euros for such research. The studies should help bridging the cultural differences between European and Caribbean Netherlands Netherlands.

The KITLV study focusses on four themes: cultural heritage, politics, media and history. The political situation of the islands and the local news media are examined. Scientists will also look into the migration and social history of the Windward Islands over which is little is known in the Hague today.

Het KITLV in Leiden doet onder leiding van prof. dr. Gert Oostindie (midden) een groot onderzoek naar de Caribische rijksdelen: drs. Stacey Mac Donald, drs. Sanne Rotmeijer, dr. Jessica Vance Roitman en dr. Wouter Veenendaal. (Photo Caribisch Netwerk)
Het KITLV in Leiden doet onder leiding van prof. dr. Gert Oostindie (midden) een groot onderzoek naar de Caribische rijksdelen: drs. Stacey Mac Donald, drs. Sanne Rotmeijer, dr. Jessica Vance Roitman en dr. Wouter Veenendaal.
(Photo Caribisch Netwerk)

It is almost twenty years ago that scientists have done an opinion poll on the islands. “The Dutch government negotiates with Antillean politicians. However, there can be a significant differences between the views of the politicians and what the people actually think.” says scientist Wouter Veenendaal, responsible for the survey. It will also be investigated how the population on the Island sees corruption and governance.

It is unique that a scientist wants to join the various newsrooms on the islands, to observe, from the inside, how the editors make their choices. “I’m especially curious about how the population see themselves in relation to the Netherlands,” says researcher Sanne Rotmeijer. “But I’m also interested the new media such as Twitter and Facebook and I want to examine how people spread the news on the islands. Also how the Dutch Caribbeans do this from abroad. ”

One of the four scientists originates from Curaçao. The coming time she will focus on what the population thinks about nature and cultural heritage. There seems to be a lot of distrust among the population for playing a major role in these issues. “One can observe a kind of jealousy on the islands. In particular foreigners appear to be active in nature conservation and protection of the cultural heritage of the islands. It seems that locals and foreigners are often not easily working together, “said Stacey MacDonald. It is her task is to investigate how locals and migrants on the islands can overcome their cultural differences.

Little is known about the social history of the Windward Islands St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. Scientist Jessica Vance Roitman will examine the migration, governance and how people in these islands see their identity. Roitman and the three other scientists have visited the islands in January. Except in the National Archives in Curacao, she did find many unique and important documents on the Windward Islands, almost shouting to be conserved. “In the coming months I will write articles about the Windward Islands addressing slavery and emancipation,” said Roitman.

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