About OSL

The Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) is the national research network for literary theory, comparative literature, Dutch literature, and the literatures of the major modern languages in the Netherlands. Founded in 1995, the OSL serves as a forum for debate and exchange for scholars in the field and offers a high standard and cutting-edge training program for research master and PhD students. Presently based at the University of Amsterdam, the school welcomes the participation of students and scholars from all Dutch universities and from abroad.

Mission statement

It is the ambition of OSL to

  • provide high standard and cutting edge academic education in literary studies for PhD researchers and RMA students
  • provide an intellectual and academic forum for the discussion of the state of the art of literary studies, including its rich traditions in the Netherlands and elsewhere; and
  • offer researchers and staff members a platform for the exchange of expertise and ideas and opportunities for building academic networks

OSL strives to be the intellectual and academic forum for the discussion, advancement and reflection of the state(s) of the art of literary studies in the Netherlands, including its rich traditions here and elsewhere. We encourage the study of literature, understood as language art in all its forms, in its historical and current manifestations and dynamics, from a variety of perspectives. The research of OSL members focuses on modern and contemporary literature. Focal points include:

  • Materiality and mediality of literature
  • Memory
  • Narrative, reading and cognition
  • Empirical and digital approaches
  • Globalization, post-colonialism and digital approaches
  • Eco-criticism and environmental humanities
  • Literature, knowledge and discourse
  • Sociological approaches

The different perspectives converge in the engagement with literature as a specific object of study and form of knowledge that requires expert and detailed study and offers valuable insight into cultural, social and cognitive processes.


Executive team. The OSL executive team consists of Academic Director Prof. dr. Henk van der Liet, Managing Director drs. Paul Koopman and Programme Director Dr. Stephan Besser. Chantal Olijerhoek is the office manager of OSL.

Board. The OSL Advisory Board is formed by representatives of all universities participating in the OSL and chaired by Dr. Brigitte Adriaensen. The members of the Board are:

  • Dr Brigitte Adriaensen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Prof. Geert Buelens (Utrecht University)
  • Prof. Liesbeth Korthals Altes (University of Groningen)
  • Prof. dr Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer (Tilburg University)
  • Dr Kristine Steenbergh (VU University Amsterdam)
  • Dr Aagje Swinnen (Maastricht University)
  • Dr Eric Hoekstra (Fryske Akademy)

OSL is represented at nine Dutch universities: the University of Amsterdam (UvA, currently chairing the network), Utrecht University (UU), VU University Amsterdam, Leiden University (UL), University of Groningen (RUG), Radboud University Nijmegen (RUN),  Tilburg University (UvT), Maastricht University (UM) and Open Universiteit (OU).

Kloveniersburgwal 48 – F1.11B
1012 CX Amsterdam
The Netherlands
e-mail: osl-fgw@uva.nl
tel. +31 20 525 4433