Universiteit Leiden

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Bram Caers


Dr. B.J.M. Caers
+31 71 527 8010

I graduated in Dutch and English literature in the University of Antwerp, where I wrote a PhD on urban historiography in the city of Mechelen (1500-1750) revealing how medieval chronicles were recycled and rewritten to serve new goals. After having taught courses in Medieval Literature at Utrecht University, I now work as a postdoc in Leiden. I continue to be partly affiliated with the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels, where I coordinate the BNTL, a bibliographic database for Dutch Studies.

More information about Bram Caers


I am particularly fascinated by the contact zone between the periods traditionally labelled as the 'Middle Ages' and the 'Renaissance'. I have looked at how Renaissance texts portray the Middle Ages, and at how the medieval manuscript changed form and function in the course of the Renaissance. In my current research, I study an Early Modern manuscript dealing mostly with events from the sixteenth century. This research allows me to to combine my insights from Medieval Manuscript Studies with a good grasp of Early Modern Cultural and Political History.


2009 Graduation as MA in Dutch and English, University of Antwerp
2009-2011 Scientific collaborator on a project dealing with layered identities in the late medieval and early modern period, University of Antwerp
2011-2015 PhD dealing with urban historiography in the city of Mechelen, University of Antwerp
2016-present Coordination of the BNTL, a bibliographic database for Dutch Studies, Royal Library of Belgium
2017-2018 Lecturer at University of Utrecht, teaching classes on Medieval Literature
2019-present postdoc, University of Leiden

Description of my research

My research is centred around a manuscript made in the early seventeenth century, which contains dozens of drawings depicting scenes and soldiers from the Eighty Years War, as well as a collection of poems, songs, chronograms and other texts dealing mainly, but not only, with the same subject matter. The manuscript is known for being the earliest hand-written copy of the Dutch anthem 'Wilhelmus', but has never been looked at in any detail. The main question is why this distinctly orangist manuscript was made, in a time and a place (the southern city of Mechelen) where it is distinctly out of joint. I will look at the manuscript and its makers first, expanding my research to literature in a broader sense in this period of time. My aim is to rethink the traditional hypothesis of a cultural divide between the southern and northern Low Countries after 1581, the Fall of Antwerp.

Grants & awards

2010 Intra-universitaire Scriptieprijs / Runner-up for the Taalunie Scriptieprijs
2018 KVAB Jaarprijs Wetenschapscommunicatie


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Oude Nederlandse L&C

Work address

P.N. van Eyckhof 1
2311BV Leiden
Room number 2.05b


  • Centrum voor de bibliografie van de Neerlandistiek VZW Wetenschappelijk medewerker
  • Queeste: tijdschrift over Middeleeuwse letterkunde in de Nederlanden Redactiesecretaris

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