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Nadine Akkerman

Professor Early Modern Literature & Culture

Prof.dr. N.N.W. Akkerman
+31 71 527 2065

Nadine Akkerman, FRHistS, MAE is a Professor of Early Modern Literature & Culture at the Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Nadine Akkerman


Recent and on-going research

As PI of the ERC Consolidator Grant FEATHERS (2020-2025) I lead a large-scale project on early modern manuscript culture and the mediation of authorship. The project members are Lotte Fikkers, Clodagh Murphy, Jonathan Powell, and Holly Riach. To distinguish between authorial and scribal voices the project analyses 3 distinct manuscript types: Historical letters, Legal documents, and Literary works. In doing so it addresses 3 questions: who were these scribes; what was their role or function, and where did their influence end and their employer’s begin?

Another ongoing project is the editing of the complete correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart (1596-1662), Queen of Bohemia, published by Oxford University Press (OUP) in three volumes, of which my prize-winning PhD (2008) serves as the groundwork:

  • Vol. I: 1603-1631 (publ. 20 Aug. 2015)
  • Vol. II: 1632-1642 (publ. 25 Aug. 2011)
  • Vol. III: 1643-1662 (forthcoming 2028, to coincide with the 380th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia)

I have published extensively on women’s history, diplomacy, and masques - one of my books being biography of Elizabeth Stuart and the political struggles that reshaped early modern Europe in the 17th century, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Hearts (OUP 2021; translated as De Hartenkoningin bij Querido Facto, 2023), the other being the critically acclaimed Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain (Oxford: OUP, 2018) - and am part of the team behind ‘Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered’, an international project split between Leiden, Groningen, Massachusetts, Oxford, and London, which created waves by virtually unfolding a 17th-century letter.

Other publications include The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-Waiting across Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2013), edited with Birgit Houben, the first collection that seeks to integrate ladies-in-waiting into the master narrative of early modern court studies, and Courtly Rivals: Elizabeth Stuart (1596-1662) and Amalia von Solms (1602-1675) in The Hague, which appeared on the occasion of an exhibition of the same name at the Historical Museum in The Hague ('Het Haags Historisch Museum') held between 24 October 2014 and 15 March 2015.

My latest book is Spycraft: Tricks and Tools of the Dangerous Trade from Elizabeth I to the Restoration (Yale UP, 2024), co-written with Pete Langman.


My research activities have been supported, among others, by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, NWO, and the British Academy. Recently, in 2021, I was awarded the Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize for my work. In April 2018, I was awarded the Ammodo Science Award for fundamental research in the humanities. In November 2017, I received the World Cultural Council Special Recognition Award. In 2009 I was awarded the Studieprijs Stichting Praemium Erasmianum, a national award, for the completion of an extraordinary PhD in the field of humanities, social sciences or behavioral sciences.

Dissemination of Research

I have given presentations at several literary festivals, including the Hay Festival, Edinburgh Spy Week and Althorp, and also at institutions including Google UK and Lincoln’s Inn. I have been historical advisor to several exhibitions. With Jana Dambrogio, the Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator of MIT Libraries, I am the co-director of a growing number of videos on letters, espionage and materiality: click here for Courtly Rivals or Spies and Secrets on Vimeo (also available on YouTube). Follow me on Twitter @misswalsingham.

I am represented by Johnson & Alcock.

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Curriculum Vitae

I studied English Language and Literature at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam from 1996 to 2001. In November 2008 I was awarded my PhD in English Literature ‘cum laude’ (with distinction) for a dissertation entitled, “The Letters of A Stuart Princess: The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Electress Palatine of the Rhine, and Queen of Bohemia”. My dissertation includes a census of all the letters, either to or by the Queen of Bohemia, many of which are dispersed in archives across the world and which were before my edition mostly unpublished. I have been lecturing at Leiden since 2007. I was elected as member of The Young Academy (KNAW) in 2017.

1 October 2022 - 30 September 2023 
Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford

1 September 2018 – 30 June 2019
Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford

21 July 2017 – 1 July 2024
NWO Aspasia

1 May 2017 – 1 November 2018
co-applicant, with Helmer Helmers, of an NWO Archaeological Discoveries of (Inter)national Importance Grant

1 September 2016 – 24 March 2021
main applicant of the NWO Internationalisation in the Humanities Grant

1 January 2016 – 25 March 2017
main applicant of the NWO Added Value in Humanties Grant

1 September 2015 – 30 June 2016
Fellow at The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS)

1 March 2011 - 1 March 2015
NWO VENI research fellow at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS)

27 May 2014 – 4 July 2014
Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham

1 February 2010 - 28 February 2011
NWO RUBICON research fellow at Leiden University's Institute for History

Since 1 May 2017
Senior Lecturer / Reader in early modern English Literature, Leiden University

1 September 2007 - 30 April 2017
Lecturer, Leiden University

1 August 2006 – 1 August 2007
Junior lecturer Radboud University Nijmegen

1 September 2002 – 9 December 2006
PhD student / Junior lecturer Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Teaching activities

From September 2024 I will be teaching the MA course ‘Shakespeare’s Sister: Gender Troubles in the Early Modern Period’, with Dr Lotte Fikkers, and the ResMa core course ‘Methodologies and Theories-Medieval & Early Modern’, with Prof. dr. Stijn Bussels.

Professor Early Modern Literature & Culture

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Oude Britse letterkunde

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number B0.28



  • The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Board Member Humanities Council (Lid Raad voor Geesteswetenschappen)
  • Huygens Institute - KNAW Board member Science Committee (Dutch: lid Wetenschapscommissie)
  • Radboud University Nijmegen / Dr. C.L. Thijssen-Schoute Foundation Member of curatorium endowed chair European Early Modern History of Ideas
  • Stichting Alfred Heineken Fondsen Jury member Heineken Young Scientists Awards
  • Stedenband Leiden-Oxford Chair
  • Dr. C. L. Thijssen-Schoute Foundation a foundation for the promotion of the History of Ideas in the Early Modern Period
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