Geert Janssen is Professor of Early Modern History. He has a broad interest in European history between 1500-1800, in particular its political and religious cultures, and the history of migration. Much of his work is concerned with the Low Countries, including the Dutch Revolt and the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century.
Educated at Groningen (MA) and Leiden (PhD), Geert Janssen subsequently taught early modern history at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He held visiting fellowships at St Andrews, Leuven, and the Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz. In 2013 he was appointed to the chair in early modern history at the University of Amsterdam and served as director of the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH) from 2014-2016.
Over the years, he has received support from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Rubicon, 2005; Veni, 2007; Vici, 2018), the British Academy, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, and Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds Vlaanderen. He is a recipient of the Gerald Strauss Prize (2015) and the Carla Musterd Teaching Award (2006). Please find more information about current projects and publications, including the NWO VICI programme The Invention of the Refugee in Early Modern Europe, under the tab 'Research'.
Journal articles in The Historical Journal, Renaissance Quarterly, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Sixteenth Century Journal, History, and BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review.
From the start I have thoroughly enjoyed working with students who have often inspired me to broaden my range and think in different directions. Among other things, I teach the first year survey course 'Vroegmoderne Geschiedenis' and am keen to supervise students in the field of early modern history as well as in areas related to my research, including the (Counter) Reformation, the history of migration and the Dutch golden age.
I have recently supervised MA theses on Jewish manuscript production in early modern Amsterdam, Regime change in Haarlem during the Dutch revolt, William of Orange and Balthazar Gerard, News culture and diary-writing practices in 1672, and the Dutch experience in Brazil.
As a political historian, I am particularly interested in the 'soft' side of early modern politics: networks, language, ritual and (unwritten) codes of conduct. My Princely Power in the Dutch Republic (2005/2008) focused on patronage practices at the court of the stadholders (provincial governors) in the Dutch Republic. Primarily based on the extensive, yet little known diaries of William Frederick of Nassau (1613-1664) it assessed how clientage shaped political and religious mentalities in the early modern Netherlands. I have also done some work on ceremonial culture and public display at the Orange court in The Hague (e.g. Funeral processions in the United Provinces).
Much of my recent work concerns the history of religious change, conflict and identity formation. The Dutch Revolt and Catholic Exile in Reformation Europe (2014) examines the impact of flight, displacement and forced migration on Counter-Reformation culture. By mapping the Catholic diaspora during the Dutch revolt, it seeks to explain how exile worked as a catalyst of religious radicalisation and transformed the world views, networks and identities of early modern refugees. Together with Alexandra Bamji and Mary Laven, I edited the Ashgate Research Companion to the Counter-Reformation (2013).
I have a broad interest in the cultural history of migration, including early modern exile, humanitarianism and transnational solidarity networks. This is also the topic of my current research project (see NWO VICI programme below). My inaugural lecture, Nieuw Amsterdam (2014) examined the ways in which immigrants and emigrants shaped notions of 'Dutchness' in the early modern period and facilitated their spreading across the globe.
Refugees have been common throughout history, but are for the first time described as such in the early modern period (1450-1750). Integrating historical, legal and social scientific approaches to migration, this project aims to analyse the invention of the refugee in early modern Europe. More specifically, it seeks to achieve three inter-related objectives:
The project consists of three PhD positions and a Postdoc. Funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), it will run from 2018-2023.
I enjoy disseminating my research to a wider public and am keen to collaborate with museums and heritage institutions. I have done some advisory work for, amongst others, the Amsterdam Museum (new collections display 2017), Rijksmuseum (Gerard ter Borch en de Vrede van Munster 1999; Maurits. Prins van Oranje 2000; 80 jaar oorlog 2018; RijksApp 2018), Fries Museum (De Friese Nassaus 2003), Oude Kerk Amsterdam (Kalkar kerkschatten 2018).