The OVN, Foundation for the advancement of academic research into the history of freemasonry in the Netherlands, was formed in 2001. Its Dutch title, Stichting ter bevordering van wetenschappelijk Onderzoek naar de geschiedenis van de Vrijmetselarij in Nederland), was shortened as 'OVN'.
The OVN Foundation is an independent organisation; it is not affiliated to any masonic or esoteric organization or institute. It was formed after a private initiative by a group of academics from different disciplines, who all had in interest in the history of freemasonry in common.
The goal of the OVN Foundation is described in its Statutes as follows:
‘to stimulate academic research from all disciplines into the history of freemasonry and related currents in The Netherlands and its former territories from the time of its foundation until the present day, as well as to stimulate the (international) exchange of knowledge and the results of research into this field, and the study and preservation of relevant cultural heritage’.In order to reach this goal, the OVN Foundation makes research grants for the academic study of the history of freemasonry available to students and scholars. The OVN Foundation further stimulates the developemnt of the field of study by organising public events (such lectures, workshops and international academic conferences), by making publications available and by realising heritage projects. The OVN Foundation also provides information services to a large audience, and can act as advisor on relevant projects or academic study groups.
The website of the Foundation (http://www.stichtingovn.nl/) acts as a Dutch portal to the international field of study. It provides a clear overview of the history of freemasonry (in Dutch) and provides an overview of relevant academic literature and weblinks to collections, MA/BA courses and research centres in the Netherlands and abroad. The website includes a digital version of the research guide Archiefwijzer maçonnieke archieven, with links to Dutch lodge archives in public collections.
Through these activities the OVN Foundation aims to stimulate contacts between students and academics, the curators of masonic collections, heritage experts and others interested in the field of study, and to stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation and exchange of knowledge.