NISE – For the comparative transnational study of national movements

Since the end of the 18th century nationalism has played an important role in the history of Europe. The protagonists of nationalism, assembled in national movements, were involved in the construction of nations and national identity, contributing both to the constitution and the dissolution of states. Today still, nationalism is a complex phenomenon that exerts an important influence on the cultural and political evolution of Europe.

Research into national movements has consequently multiplied considerably. However, although national movements are in fact pre-eminently transnational, researchers often remain unaware of results from studies of other national movements. Case studies are therefore often carried out without a contextual or comparative dimension. Moreover, theory formation often is unsufficiently based on the results of comparative empirical research.

The fact that comparative studies tend to be complicated, the language barrier and the unavailability of controlled and systematically presented data all contribute to the research problem. Moreover, the (historical) information on European national movements resides in archives and documentation. Until now, however, there has not been any coordinated effort on a European level to collect records, documentation and information on this subject, to conserve and disclose them for research. At the same time there is also a need for advice and support for the conservation and disclosure of the sources.

That is why NISE was established. The main objective of the research, heuristic and archival platform is to enable comparative and transnational studies on the subject within a well-defined research area. Mapping out personal and institutional relations between national movements will enable researchers to study political and cultural transfers.

To that avail, NISE collects, checks and structures data about the intermediary structures (political parties, organisations, societies and the people involved) of national movements in Europe. Look for more information > Database

The data are gathered as a result of projects, unilateral input and links with other databases. NISE also provides the opportunity to draw up action plans for the structured and controlled collection, conservation, and disclosure of and access to the relevant historical and current archival sources. All results are disseminated through various publication series. Look for more information > Activities

The platform provides also an electronic forum for the exchange of information and expertise. Look for more information > Forum

NISE is an initiative of the ADVN, a government funded archives, documentation and research centre in Antwerp (Belgium) with more than twenty-five years experience in data management, research and archival collection regarding the Flemish movement and Flemish nationalism. The ADVN still acts as the coordination centre for the platform.

However, NISE can only perform successfully with the help of sustained cooperation at a European level between academics and research and heritage organisations. The former are assembled into the Scientific Council and the Associated Membership, the latter into the Network of Institutes, Projects and Networks and the Partnership Scheme. The platform is interdisciplinary, though with emphasis on historiography. Look for more information > Organisation


See for a full account of the context, aims and framework of the platform:

L. Boeva, Rien de plus international. Towards a comparative and transnational historiography of national movements, Antwerp, ADVN, 2010.

Order the English edition


There is a Dutch version available:

L. Boeva, Rien de plus international. Naar een comparatieve en transnationale historiografie van nationale bewegingen, Antwerpen, ADVN, 2009.

Order the Dutch edition


An abridged version is available in English and Dutch, as well as in French, Spanish, German and Russian. These brochures are free.