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Dr W.R.E. Velema (1955) has been appointed Professor of the Philosophy of History and the History of Historiography (Jan Romein chair) at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) as of September 1, 2009. The Jan Romein chair is sponsored by the Amsterdam University Association (Amsterdamse Universiteits-Vereniging).

Dr W.R.E. Velema (1955) has been appointed Professor of the Philosophy of History and the History of Historiography (Jan Romein chair) at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) as of September 1, 2009. The Jan Romein chair is sponsored by the Amsterdam University Association (Amsterdamse Universiteits-Vereniging).

Wyger Velema is a specialist in the history of eighteenth-century political thought. As Jan Romein Professor, he will focus his research on the development of Dutch historiography in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a special emphasis on the interaction between historiography, politics and political thought.

In early modern Europe, the Dutch Republic was in many respects an exceptional state. Not only was it born from a revolt, but it also developed a republican form of government at a time when absolute monarchy was increasingly becoming the international standard. These extraordinary political circumstances were reflected in Dutch political thought and historiography, which revolved to a significant extent around the liberty that was considered characteristic of republics. As a result of this predominant theme, Dutch historiography for a long time found its main inspiration in humanism and in the republican historiography of classical antiquity. Even the modernising historiography of the Dutch Enlightenment remained primarily concerned with republican liberty. This political aspect of early modern Dutch historiography will be the central theme of Velema's research over the coming years.

Velema, who obtained his PhD degree at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA) under the supervision of Prof. J.G.A. Pocock, has been Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of History of the University of Amsterdam since 1987. From 1991-1994 he was a research fellow at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He is a board member of the History of Political and Social Concepts Group and co-editor of Brill's Studies in the History of Political Thought. He is also currently co-director of the NWO research program The First Dutch Democracy: The Political World of the Batavian Republic, 1795-1801. Velema has written several books, most recently Republicans. Essays on Eighteenth-Century Dutch Political Thought (2007).