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Fryske Akademy Research Agenda 2023-2027


The Fryske Akademy undertakes fundamental and applied research on the Frisian context with studies of the Frisian language, history, and culture in Frisian society, from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives. The Fryske Akademy is founded on wide-ranging expertise in the area of the Frisian language. Using our specialist knowledge, we tell the stories of Friesland, in which language, culture, history, landscape and identity are all linked. Our research agenda is focused on extending the boundaries of knowledge and putting Frisian Studies firmly on the international map. In other words, the Fryske Akademy is the scientific research institute for the Frisian context, rooted in Frisian society and operating in the international world of academia.

Drawing on its unique expertise, the Fryske Akademy aims to use the present agenda to approach the Frisian context as a multi-discipli­nary research field, shaping the research of the future and developing new insights. We help advance knowledge by establishing regional and international connections and sharing best practices. Based on our broad foundation and research themes, we are setting an academic direction and targets for the future.

In addition, our research agenda contains a number of flagships, namely the Old Frisian period, the lexicography of Frisian, and Frisian- Dutch speech technology. The flagships are the core topics of our institute with which we distin­guish ourselves internationally. Because of our particular expertise in these areas, colleagues seek us out. In addition, we actively pursue cooperation with regional, national and inter­national colleagues. Over the past decades, this has resulted in a unique expertise that can serve as an example to other regions worldwide.

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Three areas of expertise

The research agenda consists of three overlap­ping areas of expertise that form the basis of our research. These three areas of expertise cover seven specific cores and interdisciplinary research themes, which are linked together and sometimes even overlap. The flagships are integrated in the research themes. In addition, our research is supported by the digital human­ities, or the digital infrastructure, including the language databases, digital corpora, and histor­ical geodata about the Frisian context. Our research projects are situated within one or more of the research themes. We often work with national and international partners, such as universities, research institutes, and social partners.



Areas of expertise


History and heritage

This research field studies the Frisian past, both comparatively and in an international context. Particular emphasis is placed here on the ‘long threads’ that run through successive eras. Key themes are the Early Middle Ages with Radbod and the Vikings, law and freedom, and the development of the Frisian national identity in the 19th century. The academic study and exca­vation of Frisian heritage, which gives us access to that Frisian past, also falls within this research field. This could include the heritage of ancient written Frisian texts and old place names, as well as less early material, such as sound recordings of spoken Frisian.

More about the area of expertise History and heritage >>>


The people and their environment

People cannot be seen separately from their environment - instead, people and their envi­ronment relate to and influence each other. This area of expertise focuses on that interaction. Research is conducted into the spatial aspect of the Frisian language, culture, history, and society. In addition, this area explores how human efforts over the centuries transformed the Frisian landscape and how the landscape’s character has influenced history, culture, language, and identity. In other words, how is the ever-changing relationship with the land and the water reflected in the language, culture, and history? And how do the Frisian people relate to their society, and how has this relationship changed through the ages?

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Language and multilingualism

This area of expertise centres on the Frisian language and the language variants of Frisian and Dutch in Friesland, such as Hindeloopers, Stadsfries, Schiermonnikoogs, and Bildts etc. Research is carried out on purely linguistic topics, such as the study of phonetics, morphology or syntax, as well as lexicography. This area focuses on the language of today as well as the language of the past, and is concerned with both written and spoken language. In addition, we focus on the Dutch language in Friesland and the influence of the language contact between Dutch and Frisian. As a result, language sociology and sociolinguistics are also research topics. This area further exam­ines how Frisian is changing (or not) in the multi­lingual context in which the language operates.

More about the area of expertise Language and multilingualism >>>