Arthur Weststeijn

Dr. Arthur Weststeijn

Director of studies in history
+39 06.326962.31Arthur Weststeijn

Amsterdam, 1980

Discipline and specialization:
History and philosophy
Intellectual history and cultural history from 1500 onward

Free University Amsterdam

Term in Rome:

Monday – Friday 10.00 –18.00

  • Research

    Radicale Republiek

    My research concerns the intellectual history of the Dutch Republic from an international perspective. I focus specifically on cultural and intellectual exchanges between Italy and the Netherlands during the period of transition from the Renaissance to the early Enlightenment (1500-1700).

    Recently, I have turned my attention to the intellectual Nachleben of the classical Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. I am studying how early-modern European thinkers and writers, particularly in Italy and the Netherlands, viewed classical Rome as a model and a myth, and how that thinking shaped European colonialism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

  • Projects


    Republican EmpireTermini

  • Teaching


    Practicum Mining Library Treasures: KNIR's Rare Books Collection
    Masterclass Posthumus Institute/Leiden University
    MA-cursus Confronting the Classics: The Ancient Past in Modern Rome & Athens

    MA/PhD cursus Science and Religion in Rome, 1492-1940
    MA/PhD cursus Urban Space in Medieval Rome, 300-1600
    MA/PhD cursus Federalisme en democratie: Rome, Amerika, Europa
    BA/MA cursus Italië op drift: van Berlusconi tot Renzi

    MA cursus Imperium en burgerschap. Europa vanuit Romeins perspectief
    MA-cursus Het antieke Rome in de achttiende eeuw

    MA/PhD cursus Rome and Renaissance Philosophy
    BA-cursus Rome in de film/Film in Rome
    MA/PhD cursus Europa quo vadis?

    MA-cursus Italië als voorland? Media en politiek anno 2011

    BA-cursus Roma Caput Mundi

  • Supervision


    Students and PhD candidates in the fields of history from late Antiquity, cultural studies, film studies, philosophy, law and political science

  • Mediation


    Archives and libraries in Rome

  • Lectures and conferences

    'Towards an Intellectual History of the Early-Modern Dutch Empire: Problems and Prospects', Leiden University, 13 November 2015

    'Communis patria? European Uses of the Classical Past in Modern Rome, 1870-2015', HERA Matchmaking Event Tallinn, 29 January 2015

    ‘Settlement and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Colonial Thought’, conference Enlightened Religion – From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety, Utrecht University, 21-23 January 2015

    ‘The Termini Project: Historical (Dis)Continuities in a Roman Locus of (In)Stability’, conference History, Culture and the Making of Sustainable Societies, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, 10 October 2014

    ‘Imperial Republics: Liberty and Expansion in Venice and the Dutch Republic’, conference Renovatio, inventio, absentia imperii. From the Roman Empire to Contemporary Imperialism, Brussels, 11-13 September

    ‘Fables of Honour and Commerce: Mandeville a "Dutch" Philosopher?’, conference Mandeville in Rome: Mandevillean Readings, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, 4-6 September

    ‘Disciplining libertines: Spinozism between Amsterdam and Rome’, workshop Domesticating the Other: Sacred Heritage and Politics of Religious Control in Europe 1500 – 1900, Swedish Institute in Rome, 15-16 May

    ‘Provincializing Grotius: Taj al-Salatin and the Peripheral Perspective on the Dutch Empire by Law’, workshop International Law and Empire, Finnish Institute in Berlin, 7-9 April

    Presentation of Harba lori fa!: Percorsi di letteratura fiamminga e olandese, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, 28 March

    (with Frederick Whitling), ‘Mixing Memory & Desire: Thoughts on Heritageography at Stazione Termini’, Swedish Institute in Rome, 18 March

    ‘Republican Empire: Venetian and Dutch Perspectives on a Roman Oxymoron’, conference Repúblicas y republicanismo en la Edad Moderna, Sevilla, 12-13 December

    ‘Commonwealths for Preservation, Commonwealths for Increase: Debating Ancient Rome in Venice and the Dutch Republic’, conference Imagining the Ancients. Republics and the Classical Past, 1500-1800, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, 14-15 November

    ‘De fabel van de vlieg en de mier. Over eigenliefde, eer en hebzucht in de Gouden Eeuw’, Nacht van Descartes 2013: Ondeugd en economie, Utrecht University, 11 November

    'How Empires Rise & Fall: Visions of Rome in Dutch Humanism', conference The Place of Renaissance Humanism in the History of Philosophy, University of Groningen, 13-15 June

    ‘Provincializing Grotius’, workshop International Law and Empire, University of Helsinki, 15-16 April

    Discussion of Romain Bertrand, L’Histoire à parts égales, École française de Rome, 8 March

    'The Ideological Origins of Dutch Colonialism', invited lecture, University of New South Wales, 28 August

    'Treaties in Dutch Colonial Expansion', conference Empire by Treaty, Sydney, 20-22 August

    'Seventeenth-Century Dutch Colonial Expansion and the Australian Frontier', invited lecture, Monash University, Melbourne, 15 August

    ‘Republican Empire. The Ideological Origins of Dutch Colonialism’, conference Le siècle d’or des Pays-Bas: nouveaux agendas de recherche, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, 2-4 February
    ‘Machiavelli in Dutch Colonial Ideology’, conference Machiavelli's Heirs. Humanism, Tacitism and Reason of State in the Dutch Republic, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, 25-26 November
    ‘Machiavelli in Dutch Brazil: Caspar Barlaeus, Johan Maurits of Nassau, and the Colonial Prince’, conference Maquiavel Dissimulado. Religião, império e herança romana no mundo português, Universidade de Lisboa, 18-19 November 2011
    ‘Ancient Rome and the Dutch Idea of Commercial Empire’, Reading Early Modern Studies Conference, University of Reading, 18-20 July
    ‘Why the Dutch Didn't Read Harrington’, conference English Republican Ideas and Networks in c17th and c18th Europe, University of Potsdam, 30 June-2 July

  • Other activities


    Corresponding editor Fascism. Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies (Brill)

    Radiodocumentaire ‘De imaginaire burgeroorlog’: De Loden Jaren in Italië (1969-1983), VPRO/OVT (met Angelo van Schaik) 9/16 december 2012

  • Publications


    ‘Maquiavel no Brasil holandês. Gaspar Barleus, João Maurício de Nassau e o príncipe colonial’, in Rodrigo Bentes Monteiro and Sandra Bagno (eds.), Maquiavel no Brasil. Dos descobrimentos ao século XXI (Rio de Janeiro: Editora FGV, 2015), 133-155

    ‘”Love Alone Is Not Enough”: Treaties in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Colonial Expansion’, in Saliha Belmessous (ed.), Empire by Treaty. Negotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 19-44

    ‘Dutch Brazil and the Making of Free Trade Ideology’, in Michiel van Groesen (ed.), The Legacy of Dutch Brazil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 187-206

    ‘The VOC as Company-State: Debating Seventeenth-Century Dutch Colonial Expansion’,  Itinerario. International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction 38 (2014), 13-34

    ‘Sfogliando il «grande libro della collettività»: i proverbi olandesi e i loro cultori tra passione e moralismo’, in Laura Lalli (ed.), La fortuna dei proverbi – identità dei popoli. Marco Besso e la sua collezione (Rome: Artemide, 2014), 285-292

    De radicale Republiek. Johan en Pieter de la Court – dwarse denkers uit de Gouden Eeuw (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2013)

    (with Jan Hartman) ‘An Empire of Trade: Commercial Reason of State in Seventeenth-Century Holland’, in Sophus Reinert and Pernille Røge (eds.), The Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 11-31

    ‘Why the Dutch Didn’t Read Harrington: Anglo-Dutch Republican Exchanges, c. 1650–1670’, in Gaby Mahlberg and Dirk Wiemann (eds.), European Contexts for English Republicanism (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013), 105-120

    'Voor de vrijheid, tegen Oranje. Pieter de la Court, dwarsdenker in de Gouden Eeuw', Geschiedenis Magazine 48, 5 (2013), 40-43

    'Gaspar van Wittel: un pittore olandese alla ricerca di Roma', in Margherita Maria Breccia Fratadocchi and Paola Puglisi (eds.), Gaspar van Wittel: i disegni. La collezione della Biblioteca Nazionale di Roma (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, 2013), 43-50

    'Republican Empire. Colonialism, Commerce, and Corruption in the Dutch Golden Age', Renaissance Studies 26, 4 (2012), 491-509

    Commercial Republicanism in the Dutch Golden Age. The Political Thought of Johan & Pieter de la Court (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012) [download full text in open access]

    (ed.), A Marble Revolutionary. The Dutch Patriot Joan Derk van der Capellen and his Monument (Rome: Palombi, 2011)

    'Preface: A Tale of Two Revolutionaries', in A Marble Revolutionary, 5-9

    ‘The Power of “Pliant Stuff”: Fables and Frankness in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republicanism’, Journal of the History of Ideas 72, 1 (2011), 1-27

    ‘From the Passion of Self-Love to the Virtue of Self-Interest. The Republican Morals of the Brothers De la Court’, European Review of History 17, 1 (2010), 75-92

    ‘Mercury’s Two Faces. Commercial Candour as the Key to Capability in the Dutch Golden Age’, in Jan Hartman et al. (eds.), Public Offices, Private Demands. Early Modern Views on Capability in Governance (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2009), 150-173

    ‘The Making of the Monster of Malmesbury’, review of Jon Parkin, Taming the Leviathan, in The Review of Politics 71, 1 (2009), 139-141

    ‘Antonio Pérez y la formación de la política española respecto a la rebelión de los Países Bajos, 1576-1579’, Historia y Política 19, 1 (2008), 231-254

    ‘Tolstoy’s Puppet Show. On the Use and Abuse of Literature for Life’, in Eric de Haard et al. (eds.), Literature and Beyond. Festschrift for Willem Weststeijn, 2 vols. (Amsterdam: Pegasus, 2008), vol. II: 849-864

    Sinds 2005 verschillende essays en recensies in Armada. Tijdschrift voor Wereldliteratuur; Het Parool; NRC Handelsblad; Trouw; De Zeventiende Eeuw.


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