Research projects

Department of History

As a junior researcher you will also share in the resources and expertise of the department’s national and international networks. The department maintains long standing partnerships with the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Maritime Museum Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Public Library, but also international universities such as Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In addition, many of its researchers play key roles in several (inter)national research projects.


A Rhine Economy, 1850 - 2000

This research programme consists of four projects, all concentrating on the Dutch-German relationship in the Rhine economy from 1850 to 2000. During this last one and a half century the Rhine River became the foremost commercial inland waterway of Europe. Central questions are, what where the consequences of the economic development for the political relations between the diverse countries along the Rhine river? How did cross-border economic relations influence the economic development in the diverse Rhine States and what consequence did the fact that the economic development took place in a shattered political surrounding had for the development of firms and groups of firms? Read more.

NWO Programme Heritage Education

This research programme examines how heritage education in a multicultural and globalizing society can contribute to the construction of shared historical knowledge, while acknowledging different perspectives on the past. The research programme has two aims. First, the programme intends to investigate and reflect on the opportunities of heritage education with regard to disciplinary foundations, goals and approaches. Second, on a practical level the aim is to develop a benchmark model for dynamic and professional heritage education and to stimulate its integration in the curriculum of primary and secondary Dutch schools. Read more

Community Museums Past & Present

A frequent complaint in Western society is that young people are ignorant of the history of their country of residence. Politicians as well as some prominent historians blame school history for not offering a convincing vision of the national past. Most history educators, however, are of a different opinion. Why the relationship between historical scholarship and school history is problematical is not clear. This research project seeks to analyze specific aspects of this relationship: the narration of the nation in history textbooks.
The research question of the project is: How have developments in historical scholarship influenced the construction of national narratives in Dutch and English history textbooks for secondary education between 1920-2010, and what were possible dynamic interactions between scholarship and school history? The research period covers major developments since the 1920s, apart from the history profession:

  1. Global transformations on domestic issues and the public self-image of both countries (since 1920 continuation of colonial framing of both nations; after 1945 de-colonization; in the 1960s a mellowing of nationalism in post-war Europe; since the 1990s re-nationalization).
  2. National education policies and regulations
  3. The rise of educational studies
  4. The changing textbook market and emerging new media. 


The project seeks to elucidate the relationship between historical scholarship and school history. It will investigate continuities and discontinuities in presenting national history in Dutch/English textbooks, and will support teachers by enhancing their insights in the changing contents and standards of history textbooks. Read more

NWO Valorization. Dynamic heritage education

Recent dynamic approaches to heritage have implications for the learning of history. The aim of dynamic heritage education is to stimulate cultural and historical consciousness among youngsters through critical reflection on material and immaterial traces from the past. It stimulates school students to explain representations of the past from different perspectives, with respect to historical facts. This way, they gain insight in why groups and individuals through time can experience, articulate and interpret the past differently.

This project will develop dynamic heritage education around the topic of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery. A design team, supported by an advisory board, will develop an educational website (Dutch / English) for students in secondary education (aged between 13 and 15 years odl). Dissemination of this dynamic approach among teachers and education officers will take place through newsletters, professional publications and training sessions.  

The project is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). It received an additional grant from the Foundation for the Remembrance of Slavery 2013. Read more

'Reason of State' or 'Reason of Princes'?

A new synthesis about the transformation of early modern rule is necessary, since older assumptions about the making of an institutional bureaucratic state have been undermined. As a consequence, early modern comments on ‘reason of state’ need to be re-interpreted. They were often (mis-)understood as mirroring the gradual replacement of medieval rule based on personal ties and Christian values by institutionalized power states. Since the 1950s, many of the assumptions on which this interpretation was based have been questioned.

The project will re-interpret these comments as ‘reason of princes’, analyzing the fundamental transformation in the nature of early modern rule not in terms of state building, but as driven by participation in war on an unprecedented scale and by new constellations within society backing up the enormous increases in war related burdens. It will summarize this new constellation as ‘new monarchy’. Read more