"The IISH collections comprise of material about social movements and people connected to those movements, whose heritage is often not included in state archives, or in some countries it may even be under threat of being seized or destroyed by the central government. The IISH provides an option to deposit those endangered archives, so that they will remain part of society's collective memory. In this sense, the Institute fulfills an important societal role. Without the IISH, essential archival material would have been lost to society.
In more than 80 years, the Institute has built one of the largest socioeconomic historical collections in the world, with nearly 5,000 archives and collections, 1 million books, 550,000 photos, 100,000 posters, more than 6,000,000 digital objects and datasets. In total, the IISH helds 50 kilometres of collections on its premises.
The IISH collections comprise archive, library and audio-visual material with a thematic emphasis on social and emancipatory movements. Between 2012 and 2017, the reading room received an average of 6,127 visits per year, which amounts to 24 visitors per day.
Collection development at the IISH focuses increasingly on digital archives and data. The Institute has become one of the world’s greatest data centres for social-economic history, devising new techniques for enabling methodologically innovative research.
Many of the IISH-collections have been digitized and are available online for free.
The IISH keeps a large collection of datasets stored in Dataverse, an open access repository system that is shared by a large number of institutes across the world. By storing our data in Dataverse we adhere to the community driven principles of FAIR data, making sure that IISH data are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-Usable.
The IISH was founded in the turbulent 1930s at a time when, following Hitler's seizure of power, many documents and archives of opposition movements were threatened with becoming irredeemably lost. Vital archives that were brought to safety in Amsterdam in the early years include: the archive of the German socialist movement (including the manuscripts of Marx and Engels), the archives of revolutionaries at risk from Stalin, and the archives of the Spanish trade unions, threatened with falling into Franco's hands.
After the end of World War Two, the IISH successfully continued collecting documents. With the exception of Dutch emancipation movements such as Provo, and internationally active movements such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International, endangered archives of organizations and individuals from countries like Turkey, Iran, Burma and Indonesia were safely housed at the Institute.
In more than 80 years, the Institute has built one of the largest socioeconomic historical collections in the world, with nearly 5,000 archives and collections, 1 million books, 550,000 photos, 100,000 posters, more than 6,000,000 digital objects and datasets. In total, the IISH helds 50 kilometres of collections on its premises."