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NWO awards grants to Leiden University Humanities scholars

No fewer than three Leiden University Humanities scholars have been awarded funding from the NWO’s Free Competition in the Humanities programme: two grants of 750,000 euros and one of 705,000 euros. In total, twelve researchers have received a grant in the NWO Social Sciences and Humanities domain.

Judith Pollmann

Innovations and ‘the common man’ in the Low Countries, 1500-1850


Prof. dr. Judith Pollmann  - 

Chronicling novelty. New knowledge in the Netherlands, 1500-1850

For innovation, you need more than just clever people. New knowledge also has to be accepted. The period between 1650 and 1850 saw the development of a tremendous amount of new knowledge. Judith Pollmann and her colleagues conduct research on how this knowledge came to be held by ordinary people in the Low Countries, and whether this resulted in them viewing innovation more positively than their forebears. In this project, our aim is to open up an extensive corpus of a text type that was produced in large numbers and over a very long period in all parts of Europe: personal chronicles. These chronicles are texts in which the author chronologically keeps note of memorable issues and events taking place in the world around him/her, with the purpose of recording them for posterity.


Gijsbert Rutten

Pardon my French?


Dr. Gijsbert RuttenPardon my French? Dutch-French Language Contact in The Netherlands, 1500-1900

Many people are concerned about the Dutch language becoming anglicised. What is less well-known is that the current anglicisation was preceded by centuries of gallicisation. Strangely enough, almost no linguistics research has been conducted on that process of gallicisation between 1500 and 1900. This project looks at the influence of French on Dutch, the language choice of multilingual individuals, and public debates on that infernal gallicisation.



Ab de Jong

Keepers of the flame: Zoroastrian priests in the Sasanian and early Islamic period


Prof. dr. Albert de JongKeepers of the Flame: The Reconfiguration of the Zoroastrian Priesthood in Sasanian and Early Islamic Times

Before the Arab conquests in the seventh century, Iran was a Zoroastrian kingdom, in which the priesthood played a prominent role. After the conquests, all this changed. This project focuses on the question of how Zoroastrianism managed to survive, by looking at the profound metamorphosis of the work of Zoroastrian priests.


NWO Free Competition grant

The NWO Free Competition grant encourages curiosity-driven research that does not fall within the thematic programmes. That is to say, researchers are free to choose the subject of their research as long as it fits within the Humanities.

See the awards on the NWO website

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