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Prof. dr. W. (Pim) den Boer

European Cultural History
Faculty of Humanities
Photographer: Eduard Lampe

Visiting address
  • Spuistraat 134
Postal address
  • Postbus 15540
    1001 NA Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profiel

    Curriculum vitae

      Pim den Boer is chair emeritus of European Cultural History at the University of Amsterdam.

       Pim den Boer studied history at the University of Leiden and at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; he was fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (1994-1995) and visiting fellow of the Remarque Institute (NYU) 2005-2006.

       From 1975 to 1978 he obtained a scholarship from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. In 1976-1977 he did research in Paris and participated at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in the seminars on "l'Identité de la France" of Fernand Braudel, on "l'Histoire des mentalités" of Jean Delumeau, and "Lieux de mémoire" of Pierre Nora. From 1978 till 1988 he was lecturer for 'Historiography and Philosophy of History' at the Institute for History at the University of Utrecht.

       In 1987 he became doctor at the Leiden University, with the mention cum laude: Geschiedenis als beroep. De professionalisering van de geschiedbeoefening in Frankrijk 1818-1914 (559 p.- promotor prof.dr. H.L. Wesseling). This study was winner of the most substantial prize in the Netherlands for historical studies, the D.J. Veegens Prize of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities at Haarlem. The English translation was published at Princeton University Press: History as a profession . The study of history in France 1818-1914 (Princeton University Press 1998). In 1988 he was appointed on the newly created chair for the History of European Culture at the University of Amsterdam.

       After this nomination he became the first president of the Dutch Graduate School for Cultural History (1989-1995), now called Huizinga Institute. In this function he organized many colloquia for graduate students of different disciplines and   two international summerschools in Amsterdam with prominent scholars from England, the United States, France and Germany (see Main trends in Cultural History. Ten essays, ed. by M. Melching and W. Velema, Rodopi- Amsterdam-Atlanta 1994).

       In 1991 he started the series Colloques Franco-Néerlandais at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris with a conference about the comparative history of "lieux de mémoire" (three volumes have appeared in the series "La France et Les Pays Bas").

       At the occasion of the opening of new Netherlands Institute in Athens in october 2000 he initiated a series of international conferences on "The role of the classical tradition in the formation of national identities in Europe together with Heleen Sancisi (chair for Ancient History, University of Utrecht) . The first volume has been published by Gieben (Amsterdam). He organized a second conference "Greek archaeology and the formation of European and national identities"(2002) and a third conference "Homer in modern Europe and beyond" (Athens 2004) together with prof.dr. E.M. Moormann (Radboud University Nijmegen) and prof.dr. Ilja Veldman (Free University of Amsterdam). A fourth conference "(Neo)classicism in Europe" took place in 2006 and a fifth conference "Euripides in Modern Europe" in 2009. The papers have been published in Pharos. Journal of the  Netherlands Institute in Athens.

       He was, together with dr. Wyger Velema, co-ordinator of the international theme-group on Dutch Conceptual History at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) at Wassenaar (1994-1995). Five volumes on the history of Dutch concepts have been published at the Amsterdam University Press, other volumes are in preparation.

       He chaired (Amsterdam 2002) the international conference of the History of Concepts Group on new approaches in the history of concepts (interdisciplinarity, concept and image, concept and power, concept and gender). His own research in this field is focused on the comparative history of   'transnational' concepts in European languages. He hopes to extend this project also to non-European languages. He delivered a keynote lecture "Civilization: comparing concepts and identities" VII international conference of the history of concepts Transatlantic Dialogues, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2004) and he was invited for the interdisciplinary conference on "the circulation and reception of transnational concepts: the case of civilization" (City University of New York, September 2005).

    He participated in the Oxford History of Historical Writing volume 4, 1800-1945  and co-edited the three volumes on Lieux de mémoire of Europe: Europäische Erinnerungsorte  (München: Oldenbourg Verlag 2012)

       He is often invited to give publiclectures and to write articles for a large audience on Europe and European Identity from a historical perspective. He fulfilled numerous scientific functions. He was secretary of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society and member of the board of the Commission for Humanities of the Royal Academy of Sciences (Raad voor de Geesteswetenschappen, KNAW, Amsterdam). He is a member of the board of the international commission for the History of Concepts. He was representative of the University of Amsterdam in the organizing commission for the  21th International Congress of Historical Sciences in Amsterdam 2010. As president of the Solidarity Fund for historians-  Amsterdam 2010 he succeeded to improve the representation of historians from  ODA countries during the quinquennal conference of the International Committee of Historical Sciences(ICHS/CISH) Amsterdam, august 22-28  2010. ( see Roger Chartier ‘Quand les historiens refont le monde’, Le Monde des livres  september 3 2010).

    Pim den Boer was elected vice-president of ICHS/CISH for the period 2010-2015 by the international general assembly (Amsterdam august 2010). He has been reelected vice-president (Jinan, China august 2015) till the 23th conference (2020) of ICHS/CISH in Posnan, Poland.  

    In 1990 he was nominated Chevalier de l'ordre des Palmes Académiques (France).

    He is elected member of several scientific academies and learned societies in the Netherlands.

    In 2008 he received at the Institut de France in Paris the Prix Descartes- Huygens for his oeuvre.


       He published books, collective volumes and numerous articles on a large variety of subjects with a special interest in historiography, the history of concepts and cultural heritage from a comparative perspective.

    Selective list of publications:

    "Historische Tijdschriften"[Historical Reviews] (in Europe and the United States in 19th and 20th centuries), Tijdschrift voor geschiedenis 99 (1986) eds. P.B.M. Blaas, P. den Boer, M. Mout, I. Schöffer, R. van Uytven.
    Balans en Perspectief. Visies op de geschiedwetenschap in Nederland     [Visions on historiography in the Netherlands]  eds.F. van Besouw, P. den Boer,F.W.N. Hugenholtz, Th. van Tijn (Groningen1987)
    P. den Boer, Geschiedenis als beroep. De professionalisering van de geschiedbeoefening in Frankrijk 1818-1914 (Nijmegen 1987), translation in english:
    P. den Boer, History as a profession. The study of history in France 1818-1914 (Princeton University Press 1998)
    P. den Boer, 'Vergleichende Historiographiegeschichte- Einige Beobachtungen insbesondere zur Professionalisierung in Frankreich und Deutschland', in M. Middell e.a.(ed.), Historische Institute im internationalen Vergleich (Leipzig 2001) 135- 148
    P. den Boer, "Archaeology and identity", Pharos. Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens, volume X ( 2002) 85-104
    P. den Boer, 'Vicissitudes of historiography: maid and mistress',  Storia della Storiografia 48 ( 2005) 62-72

    P.den Boer, 'Années d’apprentissage des Annales révolutionnaires 1908-1918’.Annales historiques de la Révolution Française 353,.29-44.

    P. den Boer, ‘Historical Writing in France 1800-1914’ in The Oxford History of Historical Writing volume 4: 1800-1945. Ed. by Stuart Macintyre, Juan Maiguashca and Attila Pok ( Oxford University Press 2011) 184-203 

    Pim den Boer, ‘Ombre chinoise et vocation historiographique’, in La loi peut-elle dire l’histoire. Droit, Justice et Histoire. Ed. B. Favreau ( Bruylant Bruxelles 2012) p. 160-165.

    Pim den Boer, Une histoire des historiens français (Editions Vendemiaire, Paris 2015).                                                                                                           

    "Histoire des mentalités"
    P. den Boer, 'Naar een geschiedenis van de dood' [ Towards a history of the attitudes towards death ], Tijdschrift voor geschiedenis 89 (1976) 161-201
    P. den Boer, 'Mentaliteitsgeschiedenis: een begripsbepaling' [ History of mentalities:the definition of a concept], Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 98 (1983) 318-336

    History of Europe:
    P. den Boer, Europese cultuur, Geschiedenis van een bewustwording (Nijmegen 1989)
    P. den Boer,  P. Bugge (Aarhus) en O. Waever (Copenhagen) The History of the idea of Europe ed. J. van der Dussen , K. Wilson (Open University 1993) Revised second edition, Routledge, Londen-New York 1995, 5th reimpression 2000)
    P. den Boer, Europa. De geschiedenis van een idee (Prometheus Amsterdam 1997, second edition as ooievaar-pocket 1999).  Translation in czech: P. den Boer,  Strucne dejiny Europy. Idea Europy a jeji promeny (Barrister& Principal 2003). Fifth revised and enlarged edition in Dutch, paperback ( Bert Bakker Publishers Amsterdam 2007), English translation in preparation.

    History teaching:
    P. den Boer, G.W.Muller (red.), Geschiedenis op school [History at school] ( Royal Academy of Sciences, Amsterdam 1998)
    P. den Boer, 'Leermeesters in soorten en maten. Parijs 1870-1910-1977' Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 119 (2006) 482-494
    New concepts in Dutch vernacular and Radical Enlightenment
    (against the use of scholarly "transnational"  latin language) :
    Simon Stevin, Vita Politica. Het Burgherlick Leven (Leiden 1590)  ( Bijleveld Publishers, Utrecht 2001) a modern edition of a important text regarding early modern political thought just after the Dutch Revolt; a very early example of  mathematical reasoning applied to politics against humanist logic. A french edition published in 2005, translation by  Catherine Secrétan (CNRS Lyon-Paris) in Simon Stevin, De la vie civile 1590 ed. C. Secrétan and P. den Boer (ENS  Lyon 2005), English translation in preparation ( Brill Leiden).
    P.den Boer, 'Le Dictionnaire libertin d'Adriaen Koerbagh',  Qu'est ce que les Lumières "Radicales" (Paris 2007) 104-130.

    Comparative history of concepts:
    P. den Boer,'Vergleichende Begriffsgeschichte dargestellt am Beispeil Demokratie', Aufklärung und Historische Semantik. Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, Beiheft 21(1998) 64-67
    P.den Boer, 'The historiography of German Begriffsgeschichte and the Dutch project of Conceptual History', in History of concepts- Comparative perspectives.  ed. I. Hampsher-Monk e.a. ( Amsterdam University Press 1998) 13-23
    P. den Boer, 'Vergelijkende begripsgeschiedenis' [Comparative history of concepts]in P. den Boer (ed.), Beschaving. Studies over de begrippen hoofsheid, heusheid, beschaving en cultuur [Civilisation. Studies about the concepts of courtesy, good manners, civilization and culture] (Amsterdam University Press 2001) 1-79
    P. den Boer,  'Neohumanism: concepts, ideas, identities, identification', in M.Haagsma, P. den Boer, E. Moormann (eds), The impact of classical Greece on European and national identities (Gieben  2003)
    P. den Boer, 'Civilization: comparing Concepts and Identities',  Contributions to the history of concepts I ( march 2005) 51-63.
    P. den Boer, 'Hacia una historia comparada de los conceptos: el ejemplo de civilisation/beschaving'  Revista de Estudios Polticos 134 ( 2006) 97-124                                                                                                                                     
    P. den Boer, Συγκριτικη Ιστορια των εννοιων μεσα απο το παραδειγμα της λεξης δημοκρατια, in ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΕΝΝΟΙΩΝ, E.M.N.E. - MNHMΏN, Athene, 2006 p.319-334

    P.den Boer, 'Towards a comparative history of Concepts: civilisation and beschaving', Contributions to the History of Concepts 3 (2007) 207-233 

    P. den Boer, ‘National Cultures, Transnational concepts: Begriffsgeschichte beyond conceptual nationalism’ in  Political Concepts and time. New approaches to conceptual history. Ed. by Javier Fernandez Sebastian (  Cantabria University Press/McGraw Hill 2011) p. 205-222.

    Cultural heritage and "Lieux de mémoire":

    P. den Boer, Willem Frijhoff (eds.),  Lieux de mémoire et identités nationales. La France et les Pays Bas (Amsterdam 1993).
    P. den Boer, 'Homer in modern Europe' Pharos. Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens, volume XII ( 2004) 43-65
    P. den Boer, 'Geschiedenis, herinnering en lieux de mémoire' [History, memory and lieux de mémoire'] in Bezeten van vroeger. Erfgoed, identiteit en musealisering [ Cultural heritage, identity and musealization]  (Amsterdam 2005) 40-58 

     P. den Boer, “Loci memoriae-Lieux de mémoire” in  A. Erll and A. Nünning (eds), Cultural Memory Studies. An international and Interdisciplinary Handbook (Berlin New York: Walter de Gruyter 2008)  

    P. den Boer, ‘Euripides in Modern Europe’ Pharos Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens volume XVII (2011) 1-19

    P. den Boer, ‘ Konzept Europa’ in Europäische Erinnerungsorte 1:  Mythen und Grundbegriffe des Europäischen Selbstverständnisse. Hrsg. Pim den Boer, Heinz Duchhardt, Georg Kreis, Wolfgang Schmale (Oldenburg Verlag München 2012) p. 59-74.

    P. den Boer, ‘ Homer und Troja’ in Europäische Erinnerungsorte 2: Das Haus Europa. Hrsg. Pim den Boer, Heinz Duchhardt, Georg Kreis, Wolfgang Schmale (Oldenburg Verlag München 2012) 189-200.



  • Publications


    • den Boer, P. (2013). Culturas nacionales, conceptos transnacionales: la 'Begriffsgeschichte' más allá del nacionalismo de los conceptos. In J. Fernández Sebastián, & G. Capellán de Miguel (Eds.), Conceptos politicos, tiempo e historia. Nuevos enfoques en historia conceptual (pp. 405-422). Santander: Ediciones de la Universidad de Cantabria. [details]
    • den Boer, P. (2013). Lieux de mémoire in comparative perspective. In P. S. Varga, K. Katschtaler, D. E. Morse, & M. Takács (Eds.), Loci memoriae Hungaricae I: The theoretical foundations of Hungarian 'Lieux de mémoire' studies (pp. 44-50). Debrecen: Debrecen University Press. [details]
    • den Boer, P. (2013). Renaissance et Humanisme à Marville: L’identification de quelques portraits familiers. Lotharingia, 18, 197-202. [details]


    • den Boer, P. (2012). Konzept Europa. In P. den Boer, H. Duchhardt, G. Kreis, & W. Schmale (Eds.), Europäische Erinnerungsorte. - 1: Mythen und Grundbegriffe des europäischen Selbstverständnisse (pp. 59-74). München: Oldenbourg Verlag. [details]
    • den Boer, P. (2012). Ombre chinoise et vocation historiographique. In B. Favreau (Ed.), La loi peut-elle dire l’histoire? Droit, Justice et Histoire (pp. 161-166). Bruxelles: Bruylant. [details]
    • den Boer, P., Duchhardt, H., Kreis, G., & Schmale, W. (2012). Einleitung. In P. den Boer, H. Duchhardt, G. Kreis, & W. Schmale (Eds.), Europäische Erinnerungsorte. - 1: Mythen und Grundbegriffe des Europäischen Selbstverständnisse (pp. 7-12). München: Oldenbourg Verlag. [details]
    • den Boer, P., Duchhardt, H., Kreis, G., & Schmale, W. (2012). Vorwort. In P. den Boer, H. Duchhardt, G. Kreis, & W. Schmale (Eds.), Europäische Erinnerungsorte. -3: Europa und die Welt (pp. 7-10). München: Oldenbourg Verlag. [details]


    • den Boer, P. (2011). Historical Writing in France, 1800-1914. In S. Macintyre, J. Maiguashca, & A. Pók (Eds.), The Oxford History of Historical Writing. - 4: 1800-1945 (pp. 184-203). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [details]
    • den Boer, P. (2011). National Cultures, Transnational Concepts: Begriffsgeschichte Beyond Conceptual Nationalism. In J. Fernández Sebastián (Ed.), Political concepts and time: new approaches to conceptual history (pp. 205-222). Santander/Madrid: Cantabria University Press/McGraw-Hill Interamericana de España. [details]



    • den Boer, P. (2008). Les années d’apprentissage des 'Annales révolutionnaires' (1908-1918). Annales historiques de la Révolution française, 353, 29-44. [details]


    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Leermeesters in soorten en maten. Parijs 1870-1910-1977'. Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 119, 482-494. [details]


    • den Boer, P. (2008). Loci memoriae - Lieux de mémoire. In A. Erll, & A. Nünning (Eds.), Cultural memory studies: an international and interdisciplinary handbook (pp. 19-25). (Media and cultural memory; No. 8). Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter. [details]


    • den Boer, P. (2007). Europa: de geschiedenis van een idee. - 5e, herz. en verm. dr. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). 'Civilizaçao: comparando conceitos e identidades'. In J. Feres Junior, & M. Jasmin (Eds.), Historia dos Conceitos- dialogos transatlânticos (pp. 121-129). Sao Paulo. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). 'Homer in modern Europe'. European Review, 15, 171-156. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). Contributions to the history of concepts. Leiden-Boston: Brill. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). Eurostudia. Montréal: Le Centre canadien d'études allemandes et européennes. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). Pharos. Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens. Assen: Van Gorcum. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). Concepts in focus: civilization. Contributions to the History of Concepts, 3, 205-206. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2007). Towards a comparative history of concepts: civilization and 'beschaving'. Contributions to the History of Concepts, 3, 207-233. [details]


    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Hacia una historia comparada de los conceptos: el ejemplo de civilisation/beschaving'. Revista de estudios políticos, 134, 97-124. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). Contributions to the history of concepts. Rio de Janeiro: Unknown Publisher. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). Συγκριτικη Ιστορια των εννοιων μεσα απο το παραδειγμα της λεξης δημοκρατια. In ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΕΝΝΟΙΩΝ, E.M.N.E. - MNHMΏN (pp. 319-334). Athene. [details]


    • den Boer, P. (2007). [Review of: R. Koselleck (2006) Begriffsgeschichten: Studien zur Semantik und Pragmatik der politischen und sozialen Sprache]. Nexus, 49, 164-169. [details]


    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Afstuderen'. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(7), 39. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Archieven als bolwerk'. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(4), 29. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'De ratten van Lower Manhattan'. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(1), 29. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Stierenvechten'. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(3), 31. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Vlakbos-New York'. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(5), 29. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). 'Zwart Grafveld'. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(2), 39. [details]
    • den Boer, W. (2006). Erfgoedstudie. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(6), 39.
    • den Boer, W. (2006). Hongaars labyrinth. Geschiedenis Magazine, 41(8), 43.


    • den Boer, W. (other) (2007). visiting fellow, Remarque Institute New York University (other).
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  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities