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The civil war in the sixteenth-century Low Countries, commonly known as the Dutch Revolt (1566-1609), sparked one of the largest refugee crises in Reformation Europe.

Detail Summary
Date 14 November 2013
Time 15:00 - 17:00
dhr. prof. dr. Janssen, Geert, FGw hoogleraar Vroege Geschiedenis

Whereas the displacement of Protestants has traditionally received much scholarly attention, the similar and contemporaneous exodus of Catholics has largely remained uncharted. This paper seeks to uncover the Catholic exile experience and assess its impact on the Counter-Reformation. More specifically, it will argue that exile triggered the growth of popular, militant Catholicism, which redefined the concept of a corpus christianum. In this way, Catholic refugees sealed the cultural cleavage of the northern and southern Netherlands at the end of the sixteenth century. Finally, this paper will draw some comparisons with Calvinist and Jewish responses to forced migration, highlighting the analogous agency of refugees in the radicalization of religion in Reformation Europe.


Geert Janssen teaches early modern history at the University of Amsterdam. He is particularly interested in the political, religious and social history of the Low Countries.


Location: P.C. Hoofthuis (Spuistraat 134), room 1.05. Drinks reception to follow.