UMCS lunch lecture: Fire risks in the Late Medieval Low Countries

Detail van Schilderij van Pieter Breughel de Jongere getiteld Dorpsfeest
Detail of 'Dorpsfeest' by Pieter Breughel the Younger (1564-1638) © Auckland Art Gallery

On 2 March, historian Janna Coomans will give a talk during the UCMS lunch meeting. She will talk about her new VENI project, titled Fire Risks in the Late Medieval Low Countries.

Indispensable and dangerous

Fire was as indispensable as it was dangerous in pre-industrial cities. The threat was especially urgent where building with wood and thatch was standard, including in the exceptionally urbanised Low Countries between 1250-1600. During this era, the process of policing, preventing, improving and fighting fire shaped the urban material fabric and socio-political organisation.

Change through both prevention and disaster

Local communities’ dealings with this fundamental hazard show how mitigating risk affected societies, and that both politics of prevention and major disastrous events created changes. Janna Coomans will present her VENI Project, which started in 2021 and studies these processes in the late medieval Netherlands.

Start date and time
End date and time
Starleaf (online)
Entrance fee

To sign up for the meeting, please contact Robert Flierman (