For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
In 2023, the Faculty of Humanities has organised the public programme ‘Decolonial Dialogues@Humanities' in and around the room that is known as the ‘VOC-zaal’ (Dutch East India Company room). The programme consisted, among other things, of lectures, performances, podcasts and small exhibitions.
Exhibition: If these walls could speak

From 1 December 2023 until 31 January 2024, contemporary artists and documentary film makers have collectively converted this historically charged room into an exhibition space. In the presented artworks, one encounters different perspectives on the colonial history of the Netherlands and its aftermath  in the present.

In the so-called ‘VOC-zaal’ in the Bushuis, a historical reconstruction of the Dutch East India Company past was devised and created in the 1990s. In recent years, there has been growing unease among staff and students about the way in which the colonial past of the Netherlands and Amsterdam is presented/represented at this location. The Faculty Board therefore decided in August 2022 to temporarily close the room, which was used for meetings, symposia and the presentation of degree certificates.

Introductievideo Dekoloniale Dialogen@Humanities

In January 2023, the doors of the room were opened for the public programme Decolonial Dialogues@Humanities. Events and activities were programmed in and around the room until February 2024. The project offered a platform to decolonial research and programmes. Furthermore, in collaboration with staff and students, partner institutions and interested parties, we reflected and worked on concrete proposals regarding the future of the room and the best way to deal with the colonial past of the Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis.

The public programme was curated by curators Phaedra Haringsma and Chris de Ploeg. The programme was initiated by Ghanima Kowsoleea (former project manager of VOX-POP) in consultation with an interdisciplinary team of UvA experts chaired by Margriet Schavemaker (professor of Media and Art in Museum Practice and artistic director of the Amsterdam Museum). This team gave feedback and input on the programming during the project and publish an open call to submit ideas and to participate.

The UvA will also establish an interdisciplinary advisory committee in 2024, on the initiative of Central Diversity Officer Machiel Keestra. The recommendations of this committee will include the research into the colonial past of our own institution, whereby the programming and the resulting insights from Decolonial Dialogues@Humanities can serve as input for this research.


If you have any questions or ideas, please email them to