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Who we are

The Rathenau Instituut is a knowledge institute and employs around 50 people. We are part of the The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and we have an independent board and programme panel.

Our Staff

Approximately 50 people work at the Rathenau Instituut. The board of the Rathenau Instituut is chaired by Gerdi Verbeet, former president of the House of Representatives.The Rathenau Instituut’s programme panel meets several times each year to discuss new developments and the institute’s research programme. 

Why were we founded?

What is the impact of technology on our lives? In the early 1980s this question received close review. The people asked for new regulations to protect them from disadvantages of new technology, such as the computer. In 1986 the government founded an institute that was given the specific task to research these kind of questions. This institute was called the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Technologisch Aspectenonderzoek, now called the Rathenau Instituut. 

Who was Gerhart Rathenau?

The idea for this institute originated with Gerhart Rathenau (1911-1989), who was a well-known scientist of that time. He advised the government that people should buy a computer via their job. In this way, the people could assess the opportunities and downsides of information technology for themselves. Indeed, he advised that schools, companies, and governments should start using this technology as well. Which they did, en masse.