The N.W. Posthumus Institute (NWP), named after Nicolaas Wilhelmus Posthumus (1880-1960), the first professor in economic and social history in the Netherlands, was founded in 1988 as a Dutch inter-university institute for graduate training in economic and social history. As of 1994, the NWP has been officially recognized as a research and training institute by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). As of 2002, the NWP extended its scope also to institutions in Flanders (Belgium).
Over the years, the NWP has succeeded in establishing a durable platform for collaboration among scholars in the field of economic and social history, including annual ESTER courses for PhD candidates.