Towards a New Age of Partnership (TANAP)

Towards a New Age of Partnership (TANAP)

Project start
Project end
The Hague
Cape Town
Partner country(ies)
South Africa
Sri Lanka
long description

"Towards A New Age of Partnership" (TANAP) is a project to better preserve the worldwide VOC archives and make them better accessible. These archives together form mutual cultural heritage. Most VOC archives are kept outside the Netherlands, in Jakarta (Indonesia), Colombo (SriLanka), Chennai (India) and Cape Town (South-Africa).
In Asia and Africa the documents are sometimes seen as a residue of the colonial past with which they want nothing to do. Furthermore, the archives are written in a language and handwriting that they don’t understand. This is the reason that Leiden University started a research programme to trigger the scientists of these continents to get acquainted with this hidden treasure of their own past.
The most important access for VOC-research is going to be the Database of VOC Documents. This contains now over 100.000 descriptions of VOC-documents that are sent from Asia or South Africa to the Netherlands.
TANAP is a joint initiative of Leiden University and the National Archives at The Hague. The National Archives coordinate the archiving activities in all the countries that possess VOC-documents. These are, apart from the Netherlands: Indonesia, South-Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
TANAP’s archiving activities for most part are paid by the HGIS-fund of the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, Culture and Science. The tasks of the university are mainly financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), which also gave an important contribution to the “Database of VOC Documents”.

To better preserve the worldwide VOC archives and make them better accessible.

Trigger the scientists in former colonies and trading posts of the VOC to get acquainted with the VOC archives

Database of VOC Documents (

Increased knowledge of research purposes of the VOC documents for scientists outside of Europe

Better maintenance and awareness of the worldwide VOC archives