Universiteit Leiden

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Ariadne Schmidt appointed professor of the Cultural History of Leiden

Ariadne Schmidt will be appointed professor by special appointment of the Magdalena Moons chair at Leiden University. From 1 September 2018 she will carry out academic research and teach on the cultural history of the city, in particular of Leiden.

In parallel with her professorship, Schmidt will also play a role in supporting and strengthening the partnerships with Leiden's museums, heritage institutions and historical associations. She will also contribute to the public context of Leiden's urban culture. The aim of this chair is to strengthen the relationship between the city and the university and at the same time to broaden the academic knowledge of Leiden's rich history. The initiative for this special chair comes from former committee members of the 3 October Association, who are now part of the Magdalena Moons Society.

Strengthening knowledge of local history

Schmidt has been a member of staff of the Institute for History at Leiden University since 2010, where she is currently an assistant professor. Her doctoral research was on 'Surviving after death.   Widows in Leiden in the Golden Age' for which she conducted extensive research on urban history and the role of women through the ages. She has considerable experience teaching students and supervising PhD candidates. In her new position, Schmidt will also focus on the role of gender in urban culture.

Leiden has a flourishing association life, which is much broader than only the celebration of the Relief of Leiden. For the city, this chair will be the face of historical research, and for the university a link with the city's heritage, its rich local history and all the institutions that work to promote and preserve this history. 

Funding for the chair

Former committee members of the 3 October Association, now members of the Magdalena Moons Society, have organised the funding. This chair has been made possible thanks to the generous gifts from Leiden institutions and individuals.   

Magdalena Moons

The name of the chair refers to an important female icon in Leiden's history: Magdalena Moons. She was the wife of the Spanish commander Francisco de Valdés and there is a myth that she prevented a Spanish attack on Leiden. There was a longstanding question about whether Moons actually was the wife of Valdés, but a few years ago archive documents provided proof of their marriage. 

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