skip to main content


The Meertens Institute is a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences that deals with the study and documentation of Dutch language and culture in the context of everyday life. The Meertens Institute has been collecting data for a long time and has made it available to both scientific research and the general public. Together with the Huygens Institute of Dutch History (Huygens ING) and the International Institute of Social History (IISG), the Meertens Institute forms the KNAW Humanities Cluster.

In the summer of 2017 the Meertens Institute will start the ISEBEL project. The acronym stands for Intelligent Search Engine for Belief Legends and is funded by the program Trans-Atlantic Platform Digging into Data of NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). The ISEBEL project is looking for a


Scientific programmer (m / f)

(0.5 fte, 19 hours a week)


The ISEBEL project aims to build a search engine (an overall search engine with visualization tools etc.)  that makes it possible to search in several folktale databases simultaneously, starting with the Dutch Folktale Database, the Danish Folktale Database and the Mecklenburg Folklore Database (but expandable with story material from – for example – Sweden, Norway and Iceland). Direct cooperation partners are Tim Tangherlini (UCLA), Christoph Schmitt and Holger Meyer (University of Rostock).

Job description

The scientific programmer will be part of a team that will build the ISEBEL search engine, which simultaneously allows simple and complex queries in the Dutch, Danish and German databases. ISEBEL can present search results, visualize them in geographic mapping, develop a timeline, and generate word clouds. ISEBEL should be extensible and scalable, allowing it to interact with additional resources, and to incorporate additional tools for the algorithmic exploration of the accessible data.


We are looking for someone, preferably with a university-level (MA, MSc) degree, although a polytechnic level belongs to the possibilities as well

• who has an affinity with the folktale research the Meertens Institute performs;

• who is competent in one or more modern programming languages (Python, Java) and specialized in the field of databases (relational, noSQL, triplestore, and graph-based)  text search engines (Lucene/Solr, ElasticSearch), and exchange formats like XML or JSON;

• who has facility with the underlying technologies supporting the existing databases;

• who is able to assess and – where necessary – improve the quality of search;

• who possesses a meticulous, communicative and accessible attitude as far as assignments are concerned;

• who is flexible and able to work independently;

• who is able to plan and organize carefully and properly;

• who delivers a product that is transferable;

• who has a good command of Dutch and an excellent command of English (the language in the international consortium), both orally and in writing. Knowledge of German and / or Danish is an advantage.

Conditions of employment

The appointment at the Meertens Institute is 0.5 fte (19 hours per week) for a period of 2 years, preferably starting on 1 July 2017. Depending on education and experience the function is valued at scale 11 of the CAO of Dutch Universities maximum. The Meertens Institute has attractive secondary employment conditions to offer.

To apply

You can submit your application (cover letter and CV) before Monday, May 29th 2017 to with the subject "scientific programmer".

For more information about this position, please contact Theo Meder, senior researcher Folk Narrative Research and project leader of ISEBEL,, 020-4628558.