Senior lecturer in medieval history
Medieval History. Territory. Nobility. Nassay dynasty. Tournaments. Political representation. State formation. History of the Low Countries and Spain. Brabant. Gift-giving. Corruption. Stained glass windows. Paleography.
I studied History at the University of Leiden and in Santiago de Compostela and subsequently gained my PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with the award of distinction of cum laude. I am the author of De staat van dienst. De gewestelijke ambtenaren van Holland en Zeeland in de Bourgondische periode (1425-1482) (Hilversum: Verloren, 2000) and Prelaten, edelen en steden. De samenstelling van de Staten van Brabant in de vijftiende eeuw (Brussels: Commission Royale d’Histoire, 2016).
My two most recent books are A Chivalric Life: The Book of the Deeds of Jacques de Lalaing (trans. with Rosalind Brown-Grant) and Constructing and Representing Territory in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (ed. with Kim Overlaet).
I co-edited Bourgondië voorbij. De Nederlanden 1250-1650. Liber alumnorum Wim Blockmans (Hilversum: Verloren, 2010) (with Louis Sicking), and Political representation: communities, ideas and institutions in Europe (c. 1200 - c. 1650), (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2018) (with Jelle Haemers and Alastair Mann).
I have published widely on the cultural and socio-political history of the late medieval Low Countries in general, and on the nobility and tournaments in particular in journals such as Renaissance Quarterly, Urban History, The English Historical Review, Journal of Medieval History and BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review.
In 1403, the Nassau dynasty acquired the town of Breda and other lordships in the Low Countries. The rise of this high-ranking noble family had important consequences for this highly urbanized area. This NWO funded project demonstrates how the Nassaus used urban space to legitimate their privileged position and to represent their noble lineage and lifestyle. Moreover, it uncovers how, in their turn, the towns took advantage of the dynasty’s princely, noble and religious networks in the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
Together with Rosalind Brown-Grant (University of Leeds) I received an AHRC Research Networking Grant titled The Joust as Performance: Pas d’armes and Late Medieval Chivalry. The project aimed at stimulating and expanding co-operation between researchers in different European and American universities, museums, and research institutions working on chivalric urban culture in general and on tournaments and pas d’armes in particular. Dissemination of the network’s findings will be via a collected volume of 16 sources and 7 essays (to be published in the Casebook series of Liverpool University Press) and a website hosting a virtual exhibition and a varied database of research and teaching materials aimed at both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Imagining a territory. Constructions and representations of late medieval Brabant
This NWO funded project analyses how the interaction between prince, nobles and urban elites influenced the construction, perception, and representation of a territory. The test case will be the late medieval Duchy of Brabant, which still has historical and territorial significance for many people in present-day Belgium and the Netherlands. To underscore the fluidity and multiplicity of the concept of territory, this project sets out to disentangle the divergent, though sometimes overlapping, conceptions of what exactly Brabant was (or should be) in the eyes of different political actors, in this time before the availability of reliable scale maps. To answer the main research question the project takes a twofold approach. On the one hand, we will define ducal, noble, and urban conceptions of Brabant mainly through administrative sources, particularly those of the fourteenth century that reflect a turning point in the capturing of territory. On the other hand, we will explicate how differently political actors envisaged and visualized territory in a wide range of relevant sources: architectural, heraldic, cartographic, narrative, and administrative. In this way, the project provides a completely new perspective on the concept of territory before cartography and state formation turned boundaries and territories into more fixed (but still changeable) geographical entities.
Click here for open access to the volume Constructing and Representing Territory in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (edited with Kim Overlaet).