ID: 10



Born in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) in 1958, Peer Boselie studied as an archivist (Den Haag 1979). Also studied theology and church-history (Nijmegen 1996). He worked as an archivist in Eindhoven, Maastricht and Sittard. Since the municipal reorganization of 2001 he is director of the Sittard-Geleen and regional archives, since 2010 director of the Euregional Historic Centre.
He is very active in the (eu)regional historical world and publishes mainly on subjects relating to euregional history, church-history ŕnd historical recipies. He always tries to find new ways to let the public discover history. For this, archival information needs context, analog or digital. Digitization of (part of) the archival records can be very helpfull in these matters, so many archival information can be found on the companies website (over 6 million pageviews last year). But also ‘storytelling’ and the build ánd unbuilt (green) environment are of major importance for contextualization.


The Sittard donkeys: how to build city history ánd have fun….!

Brief summary:

In Sittard (NL) an innovative project is being undertaken: digitally the history of the city is excavated, starting from vectorized cadastral information, enriching it, adding genealogical information, using only authentic (archival) information, making all information traceable, open source programs, using simple formats only, and: low-budget!


In Sittard (in the South of the Netherlands near Maastricht) a innovative project is being undertaken by a small staf of professionals and (meanwhile) more than 60 volunteers. In this growing ‘family’ there are (next to the principle that hardly any money is available) seven main principles:

a)   starting from volunteers, their interests and capacities

b)   digitally excavating the history of the city

c)   doing that starting from vectorized cadastral information

d)   connecting history of people with cadastral information

e)   using only authentic (mostly archival) information

f)    make every part of information traceble to its source

g)   making use of open source programs and simple formats only

The results are stunning. We are working together with social organizations, so volunteers are partly people with ‘a spot’ like autism, asperger or reintegration after burn-out. People, who never showed interest in history are now working with historical information with fun and high quality results. Many new insights have seen the light. The city's history is growing fast (even in 3D, so that multimedia students now do their internship with us). Interesting is to see that sometimes even money can be earned, (but more often can be saved) by integrating the project in municipal policy. The costs of the volunteers are recovered totally and more…

Side-effects are that because the information is being presented in a very accessible way it causes a lot of social (and political) support, and that vulnerable people, by being volunteers, become more self-confident. Some of them even got a paid job again because of the experience with us...

Scientific contribution:

The project as such was not intended as a scientific project.
However, already new insights in the history of the city have seen the light, for instance by being capable of using mass-data which give answers to complicated questions accurate and fast, like for instance building-data, or sociological and prosopographical research.
Also the archeological history is helped a lot. By combining air-photography and mass-data from the cadastre, the walls (and older walls) of the city exposed their secrets.


heritage, geo-location, vectorization, cadastral data, authentic, genealogy, open source, low-budget, volunteers