The trading post of the Dutch East India Company in Hooghly, Bengal. Painting by Hendrik van Schuylenburgh, 1665. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, license CC0


Welcome to GLOBALISE, a project committed to enhancing the accessibility and research potential of the UNESCO Memory of the World-listed Dutch East India Company (VOC) archives. These archives not only provide insights into the VOC’s operations but also offer rare glimpses into early modern societies in Asia, Africa, and Australia. For these regions, where few archival sources exist, the VOC archives hold unique and invaluable information, illuminating their multifaceted interactions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. GLOBALISE’s mission is to empower researchers and the general public to explore these archives and write new, inclusive histories.

Our primary focus is on the Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren (Received Letters and Papers) series, a vital collection that documents the VOC’s extensive reach. From 2022 to 2026, we are applying state-of-the-art AI methods to transcribe over 5 million handwritten pages and extract key entities, such as persons and places, as well as events from the texts. This wealth of information, complemented by high-quality reference data, will be made available in a user-friendly, advanced research platform, fostering a deeper understanding of this significant historical era.


Discover more about GLOBALISE’s aims and methods on our Project Overview page, delve into the details of our unique source corpus, and meet our expert team. Longer background documentation, for example about our ethics guidelines, will shortly become available on GLOBALISE Docs.

Engage with us

At GLOBALISE, we highly value collaborations with scholars, citizen scientists, artists, and all those interested in the VOC archives. Find out more about our ongoing collaborations, explore opportunities to join us in roles like guest researchers or interns, and learn how you can actively engage with us at GLOBALISE events.

Research tools

Explore our GLOBALISE Lab page for innovative experiments, including a prototype transcription viewer where you can search through 5 million VOC document scans, and access a variety of valuable datasets for your research on our Dataverse.


Subscribe to our Newsletter or follow us on Twitter (@_GLOBALISE) to stay up to date on the latest GLOBALISE developments, news, and announcements.

Upcoming events

  • GLOBALISE seminar: CAPASIA, The Asian Origins of Global Capitalism
    Date: Tuesday, 21 May 2024
    Time: 15:00 – 16:00, drinks afterwards
    Location: Room 2.18 of the Spinhuis, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam
    Join us for a seminar featuring Maarten Draper and Sebastian Majstorovic, discussing the CAPASIA project’s exploration of European ‘factories’ in maritime Asia and their role in the origins of global capitalism. Learn how CAPASIA and GLOBALISE projects are interconnected and how they enhance historical research.

Prototype transcriptions viewer available!

The 5 million scans of the ‘Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren’ of the VOC are now fully searchable. From early October 2023, a prototype of the GLOBALISE transcriptions viewer is online at: We welcome your feedback on searching and exploring the first version (v1.0) of the GLOBALISE source corpus through our contact form.

Screenshot of GLOBALISE transcriptions viewer

Check out our GLOBALISE Lab for other prototypes and experiments to make our transcriptions and data accessible to the public. Finished datasets are available on our Dataverse.

Latest blog posts