The Research Institute for History and Art History coordinates the research in the fields of:


Institutions, the state, citizenship and civil society are terms that feature prominently in research by Utrecht University historians. They combine this with a focus on developments over a longer timescale, from the Ancient World to the present day. The latter approach is important because our historians are keen to contribute to current societal debates and to show how comparable processes played out in the past, and how the present day has been shaped by that past.

Examples of research themes are the relationship between religious majorities and minorities, configurations of power, terrorism and security, human rights, and the Dutch polder model.

Maria Magdalena, door Jan van Scorel, ca. 1530 – Rijksmuseum

Art History

Most of the art historians affiliated to Utrecht University carry out research into the art of the Low Countries within a European context. They ask themselves how the arts of the Low Countries could acquire such a leading position in European culture, and how the exchange of influences developed between the Low Countries and other European cultural centres, Italy in particular.

Recent publications

17 February 2017
This book by Rolf Strootman systematically charts the socio-political and cultural memory of the Persian Empire and defines them in relation to one another.
7 February 2017
In this book, David Onnekink reinterprets the view that the Dutch Forty Years War (1672-1713), was a struggle against the expansionism of Louis XIV.
17 January 2017
In this book, Wim Denslagen explores how travellers described the cityscapes of London, Paris and New York, three world capitals admired for their beauty.