From 1st April 2008, Erik-Jan Zürcher (54) will be the new director of the International Institute of Social History (IISG) in Amsterdam. Zürcher will continue to be affiliated to Leiden University as professor of Turkish languages and culture for one day a week.
Prof. Dr. E.J. Zürcher studied Turkish, Arabic, Farsi and modern history in Leiden. He worked at Nijmegen University as a university lecturer, senior lecturer and as the chairman of the Institute for Languages and Cultures of the Middle East. In 1990, Zürcher became a senior research fellow at the IISG and was charged with the responsibility of setting up the Turkish department. He built up an international collection of Turkish archives and periodicals and initiated a number of research projects. In the meantime, the department has been expanded with Iranian, Azerbaijani and Egyptian collections. Under Zürcher's guidance a group of politically active Turkish union leaders collected the material for the IISG. Zürcher became special professor at the University of Amsterdam in 1993, which was followed by his appointment as professor of Turkish languages and cultures at Leiden University.
Zürcher's Turkey. A Modern History (London, 1993) has been translated into seven languages and is used by students worldwide. Zürcher has also held various administrative positions. He regularly appears in the media and advises the government. In 2006, he was the co-founder of the Dutch Institute for Higher Education (NIHA) in Ankara and, in 2007, the Turkey Institute in The Hague.