Seminar militaire geschiedenis

Op 11 maart 2020 vindt in Antwerpen het jaarlijkse OPG seminar militaire geschiedenis plaats. Thema’s zijn onder meer de omgang met het koloniale verleden vanuit militair-historisch perspectief en het herdenken van oorlog.

Program Research Seminar Military History – Antwerp, 11 March 2020

The Research School of Political History, in cooperation with the University of Antwerp, hosts a one-day seminar on current research in military history and the relevance of military historians in Belgian and Dutch public debates on imperial history and war remembrance. The aim of the seminar is threefold: (1) to present current and discuss current research by PhD students in military history; (2) to debate current issues in societal debates surrounding military history; (3) to provide opportunities to connect with and learn from fellow academics from Belgium and the Netherlands.

The seminar will be held on the 11th of March 2020 at the University of Antwerp. We invite all PhD students and historians of military history, and those of related fields, to attend the seminar.

The first part of our seminar will be devoted to presentations by young scholars working within the field of military history in the broadest sense. All participants are then invited to debate their work and results.

During the afternoon sessions, two societally and scholarly highly relevant topics will be discussed, each from both a Belgian and Dutch institutional perspective.

First we will debate the role of the military historian within current debates on (post-)imperial history? In Belgium, the specificities of its imperial project in the Congo is receiving increasing attention, while in the Netherlands the Indonesian War of Independence is now the subject of a wide-ranging research programme centred on war and violence. These touch on sensitive issues related to national identities, post-colonial societies, and the complicated and violent relationship between (former) colony and metropole. What are the similarities and differences of these debates in Belgium and the Netherlands? What can the military historian learn from these debates and what is the added value of the adjective ‘military’ within this historical context?

Secondly, we will discuss the role of the military historian in the remembrance of wars. The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, while 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Both World Wars gained increased public attention with remembrance ceremonies, documentaries, films, book publications, re-enactments, museum expositions, and other activities on international, national and local levels. What is the added value of the military historian within these activities and the debates on remembrance? How does the discipline of military history evolve in relation to war remembrance?

Instructions for registration and participation

Please send an email to confirming participation in the seminar before 6 March. The RSPH offers lunch and drinks. 


Location: Het Brantijzer, Sint-Jacobsmarkt 13, room SJ024 and KS104, Antwerp

9.30       Coffee and registration

9.45       Welcome by Margit van der Steen on behalf of Research School Political History

Welcome by Marnix Beyen on behalf of University of Antwerp

10.00    Two parallel sessions

              Session 1

              Erik Meijer on Maritime Strategy 1930-1950

Matthijs Ooms on Maritime Trade Protection 1946-2016

              Dion Landstra on Military Observers in former Yugoslavia

Senior discussant: Nel de Mûelenaere

Session 2

Theo van den Doel on The Netherlands and its veterans (1945-2015)

Wannes Devos on the musealization of war and history in military museums.

Jan van der Fraenen

Senior discussant: Samuël Kruizinga

12.00    Lunch

13.00    The military historian and the end of Empire  

Marnix Beyen –  How military history can contribute to a better understanding of the decolonization of Congo

Ben Schoenmaker – Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950

Chair: Esther Zwinkels

14.30    Tea break

15.00    The military historian and War Remembrance

              Roel Hijink – Herdenking en herinnering van oorlog in Nederland

              Dominiek Dendooven – Herdenking en herinnering van oorlog in België

              Chair: Wim Klinkert

16.30    Concluding remarks: Toon Vrints & Ido de Haan

17.00    Closure Ido de Haan .

17.10    Drinks

The organizers hope to welcome you on this interactive and interdisciplinary seminar.


The organizers

Kim Bootsma MA
Matthijs Ooms MSc MA
Rozemarijn Vlijm MA
Prof. dr. Marnix Beijen
Prof. dr. Wim Klinkert
Dr. Samuël Kruizinga
Dr. Margit van der Steen

Research School Political History (

Antwerp University

Organizers and speakers

Prof. dr. Marnix Beyen is professor of History at Antwerp University.

Kim Bootsma M.A. is PhD candidate at Groningen University. Her thesis focusses on the integration of women in the Dutch armed forces (1968-1995). 

Dr. Dominiek Dendooven is researcher at In Flanders Fields Museum. 

Wannes Devos is PhD candidate at the University of Ghent and works in the War Heritage Institute. The title of his research is:  The alienated museum. Musealization of war and history in military museums. The case of the Royal Military Museum (1911-2017)

Theo van den Doel was a former Dutch Member of Parliament and is currently working on a PhD thesis on the Netherlands and its veterans (1945-2015).

Jan van der Fraenen is historian at the War Heritage Institute (Brussel) and was historian at the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.

Prof. dr. Ido de Haan is professor of Political History at Utrecht University and academic director of the Research School Political History. 

Dr. Roel Hijink is researcher at the University of Amsterdam. 

Prof. dr. Wim Klinkert is professor of Military History at the University of Amsterdam and the Nederlandse Defensie Academie. 

Dr. Samuël Kruizinga is associate professor at the University of Amsterdam. 

Dion Landstra M.A.  is Phd candidate at the University of Amsterdam.

Erik Meijer M.A. is PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. The working title of his research is ‘Maritiem-strategisch denken in het eerste decennium na de Tweede Wereldoorlog’.  

Dr. Nel de Mûelenaere is historian and faculty member at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Mathijs Ooms M.A. is PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. The working title of his research is ‘Maritieme handelsbescherming 1948-2018’.

Prof. dr. Ben Schoenmaker is professor of Military History at Leiden University. 

Dr. Margit van der Steen is managing director of the Research School Political History.

Rozemarijn Vlijm M.A. is PhD candidate at Leiden University. The working title of her research is ‘Leven aan boord. Humaniteit en zeemacht (ca. 1780-1880).

Prof. dr. Toon Vrints is assistant professor at the Department of History (Research Unit Social History after 1750) of Ghent University.

Esther Zwinkels M.A. is employed at the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH) in the Hague and is working on a NWO-funded PhD research project on transitional justice in the Netherlands Indies after the Second World War.