After the foundation of the “Dutch Institute for Higher Education and Scientific Research in Morocco” (NIMAR) on 7 June 2006, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science decided to set up a similar institute in Turkey.
The reason why Turkey has been chosen as country to set up such an institute has not only been influenced by the fact that there is a huge population of migrants in the Netherlands from this country, but also because of the great potential of Turkey with its large, young and ambitious population with a serious interest for foreign countries and cultures and with a heavy demand for education. Besides, Turkey is a country which is far advanced in European cooperation bonds such as the “Council of Europe” and a country with which the negotiations to become a member of the European Union are still ongoing. Being the bureaucratic and political centre of Turkey constitutes an important reason to have chosen Ankara as the location for the institute, as well as the fact that Ankara houses a number of top national universities.
Looking at the above, the name “Netherlands Institute for Higher Education Ankara” and the logo were chosen.
The groundwork for the institute was done by John Kroes, the former Director of the Office for Information, Communication and Students at Leiden University (ICS), Erik-Jan Zürcher, Professor in Modern Turkish History at Leiden University and Jak den Exter, Project Manager and as per 1 November 2006, Director of NIHA.
Until July 2006 the legal design, the institutional embedding and the policy plan 2007-2009 were drawn up and a suitable building was found.
Following the tenancy agreement in September 2006, high priority was given to the restoration and furnishing of the building. In consultation with Leiden University, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ankara, the opening of NIHA took place at the proposed date of December 21st 2006.
Until 2012, the legal status of NIHA was the Turkish representation of the Dutch foundation. As of 2012, NIHA was established as “The Netherlands and Turkey Higher Education and Vocational Education Foundation”.
Although NIHA’s mission and objectives did not change,the new legal status has strengthened NIHA’s position in Turkey. Additionally this transition period enabled the organisation to re-evaluate its internal structure and to focus on its core businesses, being the Study in Holland Desk in Turkey, the Internship Desk, Vocational Education and Training Centre and Academic Programmes. Future activities and projects will be within or in support of these core areas.
The new logo has stayed true to the original logo, but reflects the new status as a Foundation in Turkey, the focus being less on Ankara.
Since the beginning of 2011 NIHA is a member of NWIB, the chain of Dutch Scientific Institutes Abroad and in line with this membership is dedicated to a stronger focus on its academic profile.