Gert Oostindie was director of KITLV until 1 January 2022 and is professor emeritus of colonial and postcolonial history at Leiden University. Initially, his research focused on Latin-American history, Caribbean history in particular. For the past decade, he has broadened his scope to include Dutch colonial and postcolonial history from a comparative perspective.

He led the research project on the Indonesian War of Independence at the KITLV since 2013. He published the books Images of the Indonesian War of Independence (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2022); Postcolonial Netherlands (Amsterdam University Press, 2011) and Soldaat in Indonesië; Getuigenissen van een oorlog aan de verkeerde kant van de geschiedenis (Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2015, in collaboration with Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey). This book was published in Indonesian as Serdadu Belanda di Indonesia 1945-1950; Kesaksian perang pada sisi sejarah yang salah. (Jakarta, Obor, 2016).