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Hans Mol

Professor by special appointment of Medieval Frisian History

Prof.dr. J.A. Mol
+31 71 527 2733

Hans Mol is Professor by special appointment of Medieval Frisian History at the institute for History.

More information about Hans Mol

Spreekuur / Hours

Na afspraak / by appointment

Curriculum vitae

Hans Mol was born in Kapelle, the Netherlands, in 1954. He studied history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he specialized in medieval history and historical geography. He obtained his Ph.D. (with honours) at the same university in 1991 on a thesis on the Frisian Houses of the Teutonic Order. Since 1986 he is attached to the Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden as research fellow, from 1996 to 2008 also as head of the history department. In June 2003 he was appointed extraordinarius professor at Leiden University on behalf of the Fryske Akademy. He is co-founder and editor of the Medieval Low Countries. An Annual Review, and member of the Internationale Kommission zur Erforschung des Deutschen Ordens.

Fields of interest

History of the Frisian lands in the Middle Ages, with a special interest in the themes Church and Society, Warfare, Military Orders, and Settlement and Colonization. Mol is further engaged in developing a cumulative Historical GIS (Geographic Information System) for the Northern Netherlands on the period before 1850 ( www.hisgis.nl).

Online publications

See sub: https://fryske-akademy.academia.edu/JohannesMol


Profile 1. State formation in medieval Frisia

Politically speaking, the Frisian coastal area constitutes a special case in late medieval Europe since it was not subject to an overlord as it withstood feudalization in the 13th century. Its many sub-regions, which were dominated by elites of small noblemen and freeholders, long time succeeded in retaining their autonomy. An important research theme is the way in which these small entities were incorporated into larger state constructions after 1400 and what this meant for their identity.

Key publications

J.A. Mol, De Friese volkslegers tussen 1480 en 1560 (Hilversum 2017) 

J.A. Mol, ‘Gallows in medieval Frisia’: Rich Internet Publication 2011 

J.A. Mol, ‘Stellingwerf en Schoterland als vrije Friese landsgemeenten en hun strijd met de bisschop van Utrecht’, in: H. Bloemhoff en C. Zuil (red.), Soe sullen die Stellinge … Lezingen van het Historisch Symposium ‘Stellingwarf 700’ op 18 september 2009 (Oldeberkoop 2010) 11-30.

J.A. Mol en J. Smithuis, ‘De Friezen als uitverkoren volk. Religieus-patriottische geschiedschrijving in vijftiende-eeuws Friesland’, Jaarboek voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis 11 (2008) 165-204.

J. Frieswijk, A.H. Huussen jr., Y.B. Kuiper and J.A. Mol (red.), Fryslân, staat en macht 1450-1650. Bijdragen aan het historisch congres te Leeuwarden van 3 tot 5 juni 1998 (Hilversum/Leeuwarden 1999), 245 pp


Profile 2. Settlement history of the Frisia in the Middle Ages

The narrow but long stretched stript of Frisian land along the North Sea was already occupied before Roman times. However, man repeatedly suffered setbacks when he tried to extend his living space, both in the tidal marshes and the peat area south of them. Settlement was a complex process of interaction between man and nature, which gained momentum in the period after 700. My current research concerns the phasing and chronology of the diking and draining activities in relation to the development of power structures in the period 1000-1200. In this field I participate with Theo Spek (Centre for Landscape Studies, Groningen University) and Gilles de Langen (Groningen Institute for Archaeology) in the interdisciplinary project 'Managing the Water. The Formation of the Frisian Landscape in the Middle Ages'.

Key publications

J.A. Mol, ‘De middeleeuwse veenontginningen in Noordwest-Overijssel en Zuid-Friesland: datering en fasering’, Jaarboek voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis 14 (2011[2012]).

G.J. de Langen, J.A. Mol, P.N. Noomen and L. Oldersma ed., Verborgen verleden belicht. Introductie tot het historische en archeologische archief van Friesland (Leeuwarden 1996), 72 pp.


Profile 3. Sources on Frisian medieval history

Due to the fact that the Frisian lands lacked major political centers in the Middle Ages and also because most of its monasteries suffered complete destruction in the second half of the 16th century, relatively few written documents concerning medieval Frisian history have survived. To analyze them well, up-to-date editions of the most important narrative and administrative texts are needed. Some effort therefore is put in producing such editions.

Key publications

J.A. Mol en P. van der Meer (red.), ‘Thema: belang en betekenis van de  Beneficiaalboeken van Friesland 1544’,  studiebundel van artikelen in: De Vrije Fries 94 (2014) 129-312.

P.L.G. van der Meer en J.A. Mol (ed.), De Beneficiaalboeken van Friesland, 1543 (Leeuwarden 2013), 1072 pp.

H.Th.M. Lambooij and J.A. Mol (ed.), Vitae Abbatum Orti Sancte Marie.Vijf abtenlevens van het klooster Mariëngaarde in Friesland (Hilversum 2001) x en 534 pp.  

G. Verhoeven and J.A. Mol (ed.), Friese testamenten tot 1550 (Leeuwarden 1994) xxxvi + 664 pp.

P.L.G. van der Meer, J.A. Mol and P. Nieuwland (ed.), Administrative en fiskale boarnen oangeande Fryslân yn de ier-moderne tiid, Boarnerige 3 (Leeuwarden 1993) 395 pp.

J.A. Mol (ed.), Leuwerderadeels aenbrengh gemaect int jaer 1540 (Ljouwert 1989) 267 pp. 


Profile 4. Monasteries and society in the Northern Netherlands

Since my master's thesis on the landed property of the Frisian monasteries in the Middle Ages I am highly interested in the do ut des-aspects of the relation between religious houses and the lay world. Key words here are: property, power, patronage and the role of religious institutions in the 'salvation market'. In 2018 I hope to publish a book on this theme for Friesland between Vlie and Eems, 1100-1600.

Key publications

J. van Moolenbroek and J.A. Mol (ed.), De abtenkroniek van Aduard. Studies, editie en vertaling (Hilversum/Leeuwarden 2010) 373 pp.

J.A. Mol, ‘Epiloog: de Moderne Devotie en de vernieuwing van het kloosterlandschap in Nederland’, in: Hildo van Engen and Gerrit Verhoeven (red.), Monastiek observantisme en Moderne Devotie in de Noordelijke Nederlanden (Hilversum 2008) 213-231.

J.A. Mol, ‘Bemiddelaars voor het hiernamaals. Kloosterlingen in middeleeuws Frisia', in: E. Knol, J.M.M. Hermans and M. Driebergen (ed.), Hel en hemel. De Middeleeuwen in het Noorden. Catalogus van de tentoonstelling in het Groninger Museum 13 april - 2 september (Groningen 2001) 152-164.

J.A. Mol, 'Kruisheren op de Friese zieleheilsmarkt. De stichting van de kloosters te Sneek en Franeker in de vijftiende eeuw', Tijdschrift voor Sociale Geschiedenis 16 (1990) 327-348.


Profile 5. The Military Orders in the Netherlands up to 1600

Fighting for the faith, caring for the sick, and praying for the soul of their benefactors were the main tasks of the military orders, who since the time of the crusades were well represented in the Netherlands in the Middle Ages, including the Frisian lands. Especially the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Order had a great number of settlements in these regions. The main theme is how their development was influenced by the performance of their members in carrying out their original tasks.

Key publications

J.A. Mol, Vechten, bidden en verplegen. Opstellen over de ridderorden in de Noordelijke Nederlanden (Hilversum 2011) 367 pp.

J.A. Mol, K. Militzer and H.J. Nicholson (red.), The Military Orders and the Reformation.Choices, State building and the Weight of Tradition (Hilversum 2006) 181-208.

J.A. Mol, De Friese huizen van de Duitse Orde. Nes, Steenkerk en Schoten en hun plaats in het middeleeuwse Friese kloosterlandschap (Leeuwarden 1991) 416 pp.


Profile 6. Developing a parcel based historical GIS of the Netherlands

Historical geo data are very much gaining in importance. Provided that they are exactly geo referenced, they can be stored into a GIS and thus be combined with all kinds of maps (topographical, pedological, etc.) and datasets. This makes it possible to analyze historical developments in space and time on a detailed local level. A useful project in this field is the construction of the so-called HISGIS for the Netherlands, which has the digitized and vectorized Napoleonic cadastre (1812-1832) as its basic layer (www.hisgis.nl). I am working on this at the Fryske Akademy, together with Johan Feikens, Mark Raat and Derk Drukker. Two current projects are: 1. HISGIS Gelderland, subsidized by the Gelders Archief at Arnhem (to be realized Mai 2018); 2. Friesland 1750-1900, Persons and Parcels, subsidized by the Province of Friesland (Erfgoeddigitaliseringsprogramma). Furthermore the hisgis-team is working on several urban projects, like the Amsterdam Time Machine, and Leiden and The Hague programs on linking 19th century addresses to cadastral parcels.

Key publications

J.A. Mol, ‘Building a parcel based historical GIS for the Netherlands with the cadastre of 1812-1832: results, problems and perspectives’, in: Die Schwedische Landesaufnahme von Pommern 1692-1709. Ergebnisse eines Editionsprojektes im Kontext der Forschung (Kiel 2015) 35-54.

J.A. Mol, HISGIS Groningen. Opzet, verrijkingsmogelijkheden en prioriteiten (Leeuwarden 2010), 35 pp. 

J.A. Mol and P. Ekamper, ‘De kadastrale kapstok: HISGIS Fryslân als model voor een Nederlands basissysteem’, in: O. Boonstra en A. Schuurman (red.), Tijd en ruimte: nieuwe toepassingen van GIS in de alfawetenschappen (Utrecht 2009) 198-209.

J.A. Mol, J. Feikens, S. Strating e.a. (2005-2012), www.hisgis.nl: internet version of a Historical GIS for Fryslân, Groningen, Noord-Drenthe, Overijssel and Utrecht, containing the digitized and vectorized cadastre of 1832 and enriched with historical, demographical, topographical and onomastic layers and datasets.


PhD supervision

  • H.Th.M. Lambooij, Sibrandus Leo en zijn abtenkronieken van de Friese premonstratenzerkloosters Lidlum en Mariëngaarde : Een nadere studie, editie en vertaling (Leiden 2008), medepromotor prof.dr. U. Leinsle (Universität Regensburg).
  • J.A. Nijdam, Lichaam, eer en recht in middeleeuws Friesland. Een studie aan de hand van de Oudfriese boeteregisters (2008), medepromotor prof.dr. J.G.A. Bazelmans (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).
  • H. Spanninga, Gulden vrijheid? Politieke cultuur en staatsvorming in Friesland, 1600-1640 (2012), medepromotor prof.dr. S. Groenveld.
  • O.D.J. Roemeling, Heiligen en Heren. Studies over het parochiewezen in het Noorden va Nederland vóór 1600 (2013).
  • Chr. Schrickx, Bethlehem in de Bangert. Een historische en archeologische studie naar de ontwikkeling van een vrouwenklooster onder de Orde van het Heilig Kruis in het buitengebied van Hoorn (1475-1572) (2015).
  • J. Zomer, Middeleeuwse veenontginningen in het getijdenbekken van de Hunze. Een interdisciplinair landschapshistorisch onderzoek naar de paleogeografie, ontginning en waterhuishouding (ca 800 – ca 1500) (Groningen 2016), eerste promotor prof.dr. Theo Spek (RUG), medepromotor prof.dr. G.J. de Langen (RUG).
  • P. Schoen, Tussen hamer en aambeeld. Edelsmeden in Friesland tijdens de Gouden Eeuw (Leiden 2016).
  • R. Stapel, The Late Fifteenth-Century Utrecht Chronicle of the Teutonic Order (2017), copromotor dr. S. Levelt (Bilkent University, Ankara).

Professor by special appointment of Medieval Frisian History

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Institute for History
  • Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 1.70



  • Fryske Akademy onderzoeker Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis

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