The NIAS – one of the institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) – will host its very first lecture. It will be delivered by the distinguished historian Walter Scheidel (Stanford University). In his lecture, “Violence and the history of inequality”, he will present new insights into why inequalities are so persistent in societies – and why this situation is unlikely to improve within the near future. The NIAS Lecture series is born from the belief that academic knowledge from the humanities and the social sciences is more relevant to societies than ever before. In hosting this series of annual lectures, NIAS provides a platform for renowned scholars to present their ideas about the value of knowledge to the general public.