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The Erasmus Center for Early Modern Studies is a center of excellence based on the collaboration of the three chairs of Early Modern History (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication), History of Philosophy (Faculty of Philosophy), and History of Law (Erasmus School of Law). A considerable part of its current research is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and by NIAS.

Research Plan

Individual, Community and Government in the Early Modern Period: Morals, Politics and Administration from Erasmus to Bayle:
The research focus of the Erasmus Center is related to the expertise of the collaborating scholars and based on taking the findings of each of the collaborating disciplines vital for research in the other ones. The Center thus runs a common, monthly research seminar (see seminar program). It is also related to the considerable collection of early modern books at the Public Library. The Library harbors a famous Erasmus Collection as well as other collections of early printed books and pamphlets. These collections amount to a total of some 30,000 items. Digitalization of the catalogue of these sources and research on issues related to the topics covered in these sources is the main commitment of the Center. In time, it will provide worldwide access to this database. For these aims, the Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Rotterdam City Library have collaboratively funded the Erasmus Center and an extra specialist on early-modern books.

Honorary Fellows

Conal Condren
Emeritus Scientia Professor, University of New South Wales
Political Philosophy and Intellectual History from the 14th to 18th Centuries

Mark Greengrass
Professor of Early Modern History, University of Sheffield
France in the 16th and 17th Centuries • History of Ideas in the 17th Century


Highly research active faculty who devote most of their time to the theme of individual, community and government in the early-modern period from Erasmus to Bayle (1450–1750). These individuals run most of the Center’s scholarly activities:


Henk Nellen
17th–Century Scholarly World • Political Theory • Hugo Grotius (1583-1645)

Edwin Rabbie
Intellectual History, 1450-1700 • Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) • Hugo Grotius

Hans Trapman
Humanism and Reformation in the Low Countries • Erasmus and his Influence, 16th-20th Centuries • Cultural History of the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Jan van Herwaarden
Erasmus • Late Medieval and Early Modern Piety, Religious Life, Devotions, and Pilgrimages in the Netherlands

Robert von Friedeburg
Early Modern and Modern History

Adrie van der Laan

Erasmus Online • Rodolphus Agricola (1444–1485)

Marianne Klerk

Petrus Valkenier and the Menace of the ‘New Monarchy’

Theo Pronk
The Communal Order of Jerusalem under Threat. The Political Use of Religious Self-Images in German Imperial Cities during the Thirty Years War

Annemieke Romein
The "New Monarchy" and its Opponents in France, Germany and the Netherlands in the 17th Century

Jesper Schaap
The 'New Monarchy' in France • Rhetoric of 'intérêt' and 'raison d’état' • Henri Duc de Rohan • Gabriel Naudé


Tammo Wallinga

History of European Law • Wilhelmus de Cabriano (12th century)

Laurens Winkel
Legal History • Hugo Grotius


Piet Steenbakkers
Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677)

Wiep van Bunge
Spinoza • Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) • The Early Enlightenment in the Dutch Republic

Han van Ruler
Classical and Christian Notions of the Self in Early Modern Dutch Philosophy, Theology, and Letters (from Erasmus to Spinoza)

Henri Krop
History of Philosophy in the Netherlands • Spinoza (Ethica)

Paul Schuurman
Early-Modern and Modern Philosophy and History of War • Pieter de la Court (1618-1685) • François Fénelon (1651-1715) • Montesquieu (1689-1755) • Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) 

Jan Waszink
The political thought of Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) and Hugo Grotius • 16th- and 17th-century Tacitism

Frank Daudeij
History of Philosophy

Andrea Strazzoni
History of Philosophy