The dark relationship between religion and war continues to facinate, especially after the 9/11 events that showed that modernity does not exclude religion. My research focuses on the relationship between religion, war and international relations in the Early Modern Age.

The thrust of most of my work that religion continued to impact international relations after the purported watershed of the Peace of Westphalia (1648). Focusing on the wars against Louis XIV between 1672 and 1713, it explores how religion continued to shape peace and war in the international theater.

The Dutch as a global maritime power

The history of the Dutch Republic was truly global, but most studies separate the domestic, international and global activities of the Dutch. In this project, I cooperated with Gijs Rommelse to work on a new monograph on the global history of the Dutch Republic that cover all these three spheres. We also conducted a focused research on the way in which the Dutch manifested themselves at sea in articles on politics in marine painting and symbolism in naval incidents.

Rethinking the peace of Utrecht (1713)

In 2013 the peace of Utrecht (2013) was remembered. It marked the end of the long European wars and heralded a new era in European history. The peace negotiations were dominated by the issue of slave trade, the European balance of power and a new sense of public attention to high politics. In this international project, Utrecht University cooperated with research institutes in Osnabrück and Madraid and museums in Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden. It yielded a popular monograph on the peace of Utrecht (with Renger de Bruin), an open access volume of essays on the Peace of Utrecht (with Renger de Bruin, Lotte Jensen and Cornelis van der Haven) and an article in another volume of essays on the Peace of Utrecht.

Funded by: NWO VENI postdoc project 2004-2008

The Forty Year’s War (1672-1713)

Long after the Peace of Westphalia (1648), often seen as a watershed that marked the end of the wars of Religion, religion did in fact impact war and international relations. I explored this theme in four volumes of essays on the role of religion in the post-Westphalian settlement, the role of ideology in foreign policy (with Gijs Rommelse), the role of huguenots in the wars against Louis XIV (with Matthew Glozier) and the entanglement between politics and public opinion in the Early Modern Period (with Femke Deen and Michel Reinders). In a synthesizing monograph I argued that the Forty Year’s War (1672-1713) between the Dutch Republic and France was marked by grand narratives on ideology and religion.

Funded by NWO Internationalisation Project 2011-2014

The first Earl of Portland (1999-2003)

The relationship between early modern war and religion was explored in my PhD project on Hans Willem Bentinck, the first Earl of Portlang (1649-1709) as well as a volume of essays on William III I edited with Esther Mijers.