Introducing Gewina to the HHH community

by Marieke Hendriksen, president of Gewina

If you are based in Belgium or the Netherlands, professionally involved in or just interested in the history of the sciences, humanities, and universities, a Gewina membership is an excellent investment. Founded in 1913 as a society for the study of history of mathematics and natural sciences (Geschiedenis van de wiskunde en natuurwetenschappen), Gewina is now a flourishing community of over three hundred professionals, students, and amateurs. We publish both an academic journal and a popular printed magazine, and organize a host of activities and meetings. In this post, we will briefly introduce these publications and highlight some of our activities and their relevance for the HHH community.

Historical reconstruction session at Woudschoten 2019.
Photo: Marieke Hendriksen.

Our academic publication is the English-language Journal for the History of Knowledge. JHoK, as it is colloquially known, is an open access, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the history of knowledge in its broadest sense. Contributions may deal with the history of concepts of knowledge, the study of knowledge making practices and institutions and sites of knowledge production, adjudication, and legitimation (including universities). Contributions which highlight the relevance of the history of knowledge to current policy concerns are particularly welcome, and the editors look forward to receiving your proposals. For more information, check the journal’s website.

Apart from JHoK, we also publish Wonderkamer twice a year – a glossy full-colour magazine filled with history of science news, archival finds, reviews of books and exhibitions, and links to current events. Our most recent issue for example, published in June 2021, discusses the history of trust in science, and features six stories on distrust of vaccinations. Wonderkamer aims at a broad, Dutch-reading audience, but is also very enjoyable reading for professional historians of medicine and health. Single issues can be ordered through the website, but if you become a member of Gewina, you will find Wonderkamer in your mailbox twice a year without additional costs. And of course, becoming a member has many other benefits.

In pre-covid times, we hosted at least two one-day events or symposia per year, often at a museum or historical site. Of course, we have every intention to do so again once in-person meetings are allowed again, but in the meantime, we did not sit still. Over the past year we organised two webinar series that were recorded and are still available on YouTube: a series on the history of viruses and epidemics, and one on the history and future of Open Science.

Finally, Gewina organizes a bi-annual international academic conference at which historians of health and medicine are very welcome to present their work. We normally did so in June in uneven years at the leafy Woudschoten conference centre near Zeist, but due to the pandemic, we will switch to the even years, with Woudschoten 2022 planned for June 17 and 18 of that year. Gewina members love the Woudschoten conferences because they bring together the history of sciences and humanities community in the Low Countries and beyond, while being a great venue for both junior and senior scholars to exchange ideas and catch up.

If you want to join us for all this and more, e-mail your contact details to The membership fee is 24 euro per year for students and PhD students, and 42 euro per year for others.