Envisioned post-doctoral research:
Law and Order: Low Countries? The relations between provincial and urban institutions in state-building in the Low Countries 1579-1701.
I aim to investigate how provincial and urban institutions in the Low Countries established order with regulations between 1579 and 1701, to provide safety for their inhabitants. By studying this turbulent period in history, this project will offer a source-based understanding to the early phases of modern state-building. With that, it will contribute to the topical debate and our fundamental understanding of what makes some states successful.
Studying the early development of the formation of governmental institutions teaches us the legislative-normative process, the original allocation of responsibilities and the foundations of successful states. Where the current scope of research has focused exclusively on direct monarchical rule or small-scale city-governments, this project will concentrate on the multi-level governments in the Low Countries. With a two-fold comparative approach, I will focus on the provinces of Holland and Flanders and their respective cities of Dordrecht and Ghent. I will show that provincial governments played a major role in creating order even without tight princely rule. However, the resulting interaction led not just to cooperation, but also to critique and retaliatory activities due to limitations in decision-making. To understand state-building, the relation between provinces and cities during the early-modern period needs to be studied.