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Mission and objectives

Ever since its creation in 1938, the Fryske Akademy has been dedicated to fundamental and applied scientific research into the Frisian language, history, and culture. After more than 75 years, this order, which the Akademy received from the Frisian society upon its formation, is still its guideline.

It is the task of the researchers to analyze the dynamics of language and of social and historical processes. They do this by conducting research into the Frisian language, multilingualism, language learning and Friesland's past. The Fryske Akademy makes the Frisian language and historical heritage accessible to science and society and develops digital instruments and collections for innovative research.



The labels ‘Frisian’ and ‘Friesland’ date from antiquity and have been in used ever since. They are an incredibly strong identity marker, even though their meaning has changed significantly over time. The Frisian language, culture and territory are the main variables of this marker in the research conducted by the Fryske Akademy.

Since these aspects are interacting, they have to be studied in mutual correlation. The Province of Friesland can be considered a natural laboratory for the research into language, language acquisition, and identity. The language varieties in the region allow researchers to study complicated language changes and opinions about language acquisition from up close, and in direct contact with the surroundings.

The awareness of the common past, the visibility of numerous remnants of human interference in the Frisian landscape, and the continuity of economic orientations allow us to take a closer look at the identity markers mentioned above from these perspectives as well.



The Fryske Akademy has drawn up six objectives for the current period (2015-2020):

  • Enhancing the unique character of the Akademy;
  • Promoting the research climate in Friesland;
  • Collaborating with other KNAW institutions in the humanities and social sciences;
  • Conducting research of national import;
  • Raising levels of international recognition and allure;
  • Bridging the gap between science and society.


Enhancing the unique character of the Akademy

When it comes to Frisian studies, the Fryske Akademy is the research centre par excellence. Nowhere else, either in the Netherlands or abroad, are the Frisian language, culture, and space studied so systematically. The research of the Akademy focuses on the dynamics of the Frisian language, multilingualism, history, and regional identity from a long-term perspective. Whenever possible, the Akademy will compare the Frisian situation with developments elsewhere. Over the next few years, the Fryske Akademy intends to strengthen its leading position in the research fields mentioned above.


Promoting the research climate in Friesland

The only research institute in the field of the humanities and social sciences in the province of Friesland, the Fryske Akademy plays a key role in the regional scholarly and cultural field. The Fryske Akademy reinforces the Frisian culture and society. It promotes the use and preservation of Frisian as the second national language, stimulates Frisian-language education, and provides access to the Frisian written heritage. The Fryske Akademy fosters the scholarly climate in Friesland by making its knowledge available to the general public.


Collaborating with other KNAW institutions in the humanities and social sciences

The research areas of the Akademy correspond with those of the other KNAW institutions in the humanities (specifically with the ones in the future cluster of Huygens ING, IISG and the Meertens Institute). Together with the Meertens Institute, the Akademy has launched ‘Language Portal’ (‘Taalportaal’), and is involved in making the Prize Letters accessible. The Akademy is pooling its expertise in digital text editions with the Huygens ING. This collaboration will be intensified. In addition, the Fryske Akademy means to get involved with the steering groups of programmes that specialise in the development of the e-humanities (such as CATCH and CLARIAH). In the upcoming redesign of the Netherlands institutions system, the Fryske Akademy aims to retain its affiliation with the KNAW.


Conducting research of national import

The Frisian case is at the centre of the research programme of the Fryske Akademy. The Akademy bears a special responsibility for the preservation of and the research into the Frisian language and its written and oral productions. Moreover, it is the only institution conducting programmatic research into the social and cultural developments in the Frisian society in the past and the present. The Akademy has great expertise in lexicography, multilingualism, language acquisition, education, and history. The results of our research have an impact on the national scholarly debate in the fields mentioned. Innovative research instruments such as HISGIS and Taalweb Frysk have set the standard, both at home and abroad. And when it comes to multilingualism and language acquisition, Mercator is a nationally renowned knowledge institution.


Raising levels of international recognition and allure

De Fryske Akademy has put itself on the map with its scholarly contributions to a-listed journals, to the proceedings of leading international conferences, to dissertations, and to publications with top publishers. In addition, the institute is developing high-profile research tools of national and international relevance for historical, lexicographical, and linguistic research. The Fryske Akademy is reinforcing its international profile by concluding strategic alliances with regional scholarly institutions elsewhere in Europe. This allows the Akademy to compete for European research grants.


Bridging the gap between science and society

With its valorising research, the Fryske Akademy can pride itself on a long tradition. The organisation has made important contributions to regional and European policies on language acquisition and multilingualism. More than ever before, contract research is aligned with its ambitions in fundamental research. Finally, the Fryske Akademy is developing research tools that expressly combine knowledge and knowledge transfer.


Strategic policy plan 2015-2020

Our strategic policy plan 2015-2020 can be downloaded here (pdf document, Frisian).