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Hans Mol

Professor emeritus of Medieval Frisian History

Prof.dr. J.A. Mol
+31 71 527 2727

Hans Mol is Professor Emeritus of Medieval Frisian History at the Institute for History.

More information about Hans Mol

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 co-editor of the Medieval Low Countries. An Annual Review, co-editor of De Vrije Fries and Schriftführer (secretary of the board) 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. 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 strip 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 early phases of church foundation the Frisian coastal area between Flushing and Bremen in the period 700-1200. In this field I participate with Gilles de Langen (Groningen Institute for Archaeology).

Key publications

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.

G.J. de Langen and J.A. Mol, Church Foundation and Parish Formation in Frisia in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries. A Planned Development?, The Medieval Low Countries. An Annual Review 4 (2017 [2018]) 1-55.

G. de Langen en H. Mol, ‘Terpenbouw en dorpsvorming in het Friese kustgebied tussen Vlie en Eems in de volle middeleeuwen’, in: A. Nieuwhof (red.), Van Wierhuizen tot Achlum. Honderd jaar archeologisch onderzoek in terpen en wierden (Groningen 2016) 99-128.

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

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

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.
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'.

Key publications

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

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, 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 and the Humanities Cluster of the KNAW at Amsterdam, together with Johan Feikens, Derk Drukker and Thomas Vermaut. A current project is the HISGIS Kennemerland (coastal area of North Holland between Haarlem and Alkmaar;) (to be realized medio 2020. 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, 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).
  • H. Jongbloed, Diepenheim uitgediept. Heerlijkheid en horigheid in Oost-Nederland (en Westfalen) (Groningen 2019), eerste promotor prof.dr. D.E.H. de Boer.

Professor emeritus of Medieval Frisian History

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis



  • Fryske Akademy onderzoeker Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis
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