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Research per university

What follows is a survey of existing programs and current projects for each of the participating universities.


Most research in Leiden in the field of medieval studies fits into two research clusters or programs.

Two research clusters

Most research in the fields of medieval history, art and architectural history, historical linguistics and literary history fits into two separate research clusters or programs, namely:

  1. Europe 1000-1800: Collective Identities and Transnational Networks
  2. Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

The first program is organised with the Institute for History, while the second cluster is to be situated within the Leiden University Centre for Arts in Society (LUCAS).

Both programs testify to the choice made by the departments of history, art history and Western languages to combine the late medieval and early modern periods into integrated master and research programs.

Some research projects

Within these two programs individual researchers (tenured staff, postdocs and PhD candidates) engage with widely different subjects (see their personal webpages for more details).

Externally funded are at the moment: Leaving a Lasting Impression. The Impact of Incunabula on Late Medieval Spirituality, Religious Practice and Visual Culture of VENI-laureate Anna Dlabacova; Hoven in Holland (Manors in Holland) led by Hans Mol and Robert Stein; and Land, adel en boeren in middeleeuws Friesland (Land, Nobility, and Peasants in medieval Friesland) that is conducted in collaboration with the Frisian Academy in Ljouwert under the supervision of Hans Mol and Gilles de Langen.

Other research

In addition, various other departments in the Leiden Humanities Faculty which do not participate in the Research School host renowned specialists who focus in their research on the period 500-1500. Worth mentioning are the islamologist-medieval Egyptologist Petra Sijpesteijn; the Iran specialists GabriĆ«lle van den Berg and Ashgar Seyed Gohrab; sinologist Hilde de Weerdt; Korea specialist Remco Breuker, and philosopher Frans de Haas.

Outside of the Humanities Faculty the Middle Ages are also prominently covered by the Faculty of Archeology,amongst others in the research conducted by emeritus professor Frans Theuws, by Byzantologist Joanita Vroom, and by VENI-laureates Roos van Oosten and Rachel Schats.

Research output

Under these circumstances, regular cooperation creates added value for both teaching and research. This cooperation takes shape, among other things, through the co-teaching of courses, collaboration in symposia and publications, and contributions to the Leiden Medievalists Blog.


Medieval Studies at Utrecht University is organised in the Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies (UCMS), founded in the year 2000.

UCMS is a centre of excellence in which medievalists in all four departments of the Faculties of Humanities collaborate (History and Art History; Languages, Culture and Communication; Media and Culture Studies; Philosophy and Religious Studies).

Medievalists in all departments collaborate with the University Library Special Collections (manuscripts and early prints) as a specifically important partner. An interdisciplinary and cross-departmental profile distinguishes Medieval Studies at Utrecht University, which is further characterised by:

  • Research focused on ages of transition (linking late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, as well as late medieval and early modern culture);
  • Interdisciplinary teaching at BA (minor Middle Ages) and MA level (RMA Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies);
  • Collaboration with the manuscript and early print collections in the University Library in research and teaching, and the focus on material aspects of written culture;
  • An interdisciplinary approach as well as a focus on the multilingual character of medieval culture, including Latin, Celtic languages, and later medieval vernaculars.


Since 2017, UCMS has developed three major research themes: Inclusion & Exclusion, Premodern Reading Cultures (in collaboration with the Utrecht Centre for Early Modern Studies, the section Ancient Studies, and Utrecht University Library Special Collections), and Medieval Cultures of Knowledge (in collaboration with the Descartes Centre).

These research themes are explored by local seminars as well as international conferences.

The activities developed within all three themes are sponsored and fed by the various larger research groups funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO, ERC and other funding bodies.


RMA-teaching in the field of Medieval Studies is offered in the joined programme Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

The Medieval track includes the sub-tracks Medieval History, Medieval Literature, and Early Medieval Insular Languages.

Students can also specialise, in close collaboration with other RMA-programmes, in medieval musicology as well as medieval art and architecture.


Medievalists at Utrecht University share a long history of collaborating with cultural partners in Utrecht and elsewhere.

Important partners include Museum Catharijneconvent and other major art museums in the Netherlands (Boymans van Beuningen) and abroad (Louvre; Wallraf-Richartz); the Utrecht Municipal Archives; the local Foundation St Martin and its European counterpart the Centre culturel europƩen St Martin de Tours, the Utrecht European City of Literature and the Festival for Early Music.

Utrecht Medievalists have a strong tradition in collaborating with schools for primary and secondary education and are partner of the EU sponsored educational initiative JINC.

Members of UCMS collaborate with national (Huygens ING, Royal Library in The Hague) and international institutes (national libraries in Brussels and Paris) to elaborate and further the field of digital humanities.

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