The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut néerlandais du Proche-Orient

Prof. Dr Johan (Han) de Roos, emeritus, is former General Director of NINO (1990-2003) and has been affiliated to the institute as a Research Fellow since his retirement in 2003. His main field of interest is the study of Hittite language and culture, with a focus on Hittite votive texts and dreams.

De Roos first gained interest in Hittitology during his study of the Classic Languages from 1956 till 1962, taking a subcourse in Hittite Languages. This resulted in a position as fellow researcher at the University of Amsterdam at the department of Anatolian Languages in 1973, where he assisted Prof. Dr Houwink ten Cate. In 1975, instigated by the latter, De Roos initiated the long-running project “Treated Passages from Hittite Texts”, which is still ongoing today and almost nearing its completion.

In 1984, De Roos completed his PhD and held a position as visiting professor in Hittite Studies at the Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China (1987-1988). He also gave a number of guest lectures at Peking University and at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris on Hittite votive texts and general ancient Near Eastern history. Due to his long commitment to scientific research on the ancient Near East at an international level, he was appointed “Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau” in 2003.

From 1990 until his retirement in December 2002 he was General Director of NINO in Leiden. During this period he served as Editor-in-Chief of the quadrimonthly journal Bibliotheca Orientalis, was responsible for the installment of the annual so-called Veenhof Lecture at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, and played a leading part in the establishment of the NIASD (Nederlands Instituut voor Academische Studies in Damascus; subsidiary institute of NINO in Syria), which was officially opened in 2001.

De Roos contributed to a great number of journals, serving as board member of Ex Oriente Lux (1982-2002) and as editor of the journal Anatolica (1988-2003) and the series Egyptologische Uitgaven (1991-2003).

After his retirement in 2003, De Roos turned all of his attention to the completion of the above-mentioned “Treated Passages from Hittite Texts”-project, initially preparing it to be published as a book, but since 2013 altering the data so that it can be published as a searchable, online database. The database will allow scholars worldwide to search through a collection of some 16,000 entries of treated passages from Hittite texts, published in journals and books between 1907 and 1960. The publication of this database is scheduled for 2015.

Selected Publications