Before the ODS, there were societies in the Netherlands solely engaged in studying Dante and promoting his work.
The first attempt was the Nederlands Dante-Gezelschap (Dutch Dante Society), which was related to the journal «De Wachter. Nederlands Danteorgaan» (The Watchman. Dutch Dante Publication), later known as «Onze Wachter» (Our Watchman). It was founded in 1874 by Joan Bohl – who also translated Dante’s Comedy – and would be published until 1885.
In 1921, scholars published a volume, Hommage from Holland, with some articles and a bibliography of studies performed in the country.
In 1963, J.H. Terlingen, professor at the University of Nijmegen, was elected president of the Dutch Dante Society in Utrecht; however it closed in 1965 after the death of its initiator.