Universiteit Leiden

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Jasper van der Steen

Assistant professor

Dr. J.A. van der Steen
+31 71 527 1492

Jasper van der Steen is a postdoc at the Institute for History.

More information about Jasper van der Steen


I am a historian of early modern Europe with two main research interests. The first is dynastic politics and culture. The starting point of my new project 'The Nassaus and the Family Business of Power in Early Modern Europe' is that since the 1990s scholars of early modern Europe have convincingly demonstrated the resilience of the European nobility’s political influence over time. Yet scholars continue to assume that ‘family’ is an irrational social system for the exercise of power. My project turns that assumption on its head and explores the crucial importance of the wider family for the exercise and transmission of power. Using a conceptual framework developed in business studies, I explore the ‘corporate culture’ of the Nassau family in the period 1550-1815 and, in doing so, develop a new model for writing dynastic history. The project is funded by the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (Veni) of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and runs from 1 February 2018 to 31 January 2022.

Secondly, I am interested in the political potency of the past in early modern Europe. My first monograph Memory Wars in the Low Countries, 1566-1700 (Brill, 2015) explains how public memories of the Revolt in the Habsburg Netherlands in the South and the Dutch Republic in the North diverged and became the objects of fierce contestation in domestic political struggles, on both sides of the border and throughout the seventeenth century. Against widespread assumptions about the supposed modernity of cultural memory I argue in Memory Wars that early modern public memory did not require the presence of state actors, nationalism and modern mass media in order to play a role of political importance in both North and South. Together with colleagues I co-edited and published in open access Memory before Modernity: Practices of Memory in Early Modern Europe. I also published my research results in The Sixteenth Century Journal (forthcoming 2018), Early Modern Low Countries, and De Zeventiende Eeuw, as well as a book chapter on memory and politics in A Cultural History of Memory in the Early Modern Age (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2018). 

Curriculum vitae

Employment history

2018-present: postdoctoral researcher, Leiden University
2016-2018: wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
2013-2014: lecturer, University of Amsterdam
2008-2016: respectively PhD candidate, lecturer, university lecturer (UD) and postdoctoral researcher, Leiden University


PhD (2014): Leiden University
MA (2009): University of Durham
BA (2007): University College Roosevelt 


2017: Veni, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
2015: Rubicon, NWO


2016: Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte Mainz
2015: Leiden University Library 

Assistant professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Nederlandse geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 2.62b



  • Stichting EMLC secretaris
  • Werkgroep Zeventiende Eeuw penningmeester
  • Vlaams-Nederlandse Vereniging voor Nieuwe Geschiedenis bestuurslid
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