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 History of Zeeland in the World

On 1 January 2013, Arjan van Dixhoorn was appointed by the Familiefonds Hurgronje at the endowed chair “History of Zeeland in the World” at Utrecht University, to the benefit of University College Roosevelt, Middelburg.

The History of Zeeland in the World 

As Professor in the History of Zeeland in the World, Van Dixhoorn will study the history of Zeeland from a comparative and world-historical perspective. He is particularly interested in the role of local, regional and transregional knowledge and information regimes and knowledge communities in the shaping of Zeeland as a polity (internally) and an imperialist metropolis (externally). The focus of his research and teaching is on the history of Zeeland in the pre-modern world from its origins as an object of political action in the 14th century (Peace of Paris in 1323 uniting the two Zeeland’s east and west of the Scheldt) until its gradual development into a relatively marginalized province in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the course of the 19th century. His research interests that focus on Zeeland and the Scheldt Estuary are: 

  • the history of imperialism, colonialism, slavery from a local/regional perspective
  • the history of information and knowledge cultures
  • the role of historical an juridical knowledge in shaping political and polemical cultures
  • the long-term history of literary/learned sociability (14th-early 20th centuries)
  • the role of knowledge and information cultures in (proto-) industrialization)
  • the long-term history of political economy
  • the history of republicanism, utopian thought, and (urban) development

The History of Zeeland research programme is still in the making. A fundamental aspect is the attempt to build a Zeeland community of local and regional research networks of students, volunteers and professional historians oriented towards the international world of historical research. The questions that will drive the research programme will be inspired by and aimed at conversations with a heterogeneous community, locally in Zeeland, and internationally, with colleagues in relevant fields. The aim is to create an active community of extramural researchers engaging in various forms of professional historical research: creating datasets; editing sources; exploring new themes; writing blogs, papers, articles, doctoral dissertations, books; organizing public events such as symposia or exhibitions, or generating publicity.

The Familiefonds Hurgronje

The Familiefonds Hurgronje was established 247 years ago and, among other things, supports good causes to the benefit the province of Zeeland. The Familiefonds Hurgronje has established the endowed chair in the History of Zeeland in the World for the first time in 2013. The generous contribution of the Familiefonds Hurgronje allows the appointment of Arjan van Dixhoorn as professor at University College Roosevelt, and facilitates his research.

Prof. Arjan van Dixhoorn  

Arjan van Dixhoorn was born in Terneuzen in 1973 and obtained his PhD in 2004 from the Free University of Amsterdam for his doctoral dissertation on the social and cultural history of the chambers in the early modern Netherlands (mainly Holland and Zeeland, in particular Haarlem and Middelburg). Between 2004 and 2014 he worked as a lecturer and a postdoctoral research fellow at universities in the Netherlands, Belgium (funded by the Flemish Research Council)) and (with a Fulbright scholarship) in the United States. He is a member of the early modern group at the Descartes Centre of Utrecht University. His interdisciplinary research focuses on the social and political history of knowledge societies and the history of public opinion from a comparative and both a local/regional and transregional/world-historical perspective. He is a specialist in the history of the early modern Low Countries with a particular interest in the histories of Antwerp, Zeeland, and the Scheldt Estuary.


At UCR Van Dixhoorn teaches the 100-level course World History (Spring and Fall) and the 300-level course Zeeland in the Early Modern World​ (Spring). 

Undergraduate research

Prof. Van Dixhoorn is strongly interested in supervising Individual Research Papers (IRPs) and Honour’s Theses. Students are also welcome to discuss extracurricular research activities. He also welcomes students from elsewhere interested in writing their MA thesis using sources from or related to the region of Zeeland or the Scheldt Estuary. For the results see the page Research​.

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