Prof. dr. M. (Michiel) van Groesen

  • Professor of Maritime History
  • Atlantic History
  • Early Modern Travel Literature
  • News and Public Opinion
  • Cartography

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2765
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Institute for History, Vaderlandse Geschiedenis
Office Address: Johan Huizingagebouw
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 2.61

Fields of interest

  • Atlantic History
  • Early Modern Travel Literature
  • News and Public Opinion
  • Cartography¬†


My current project 'Covering the Ocean' explores the intersection of Atlantic history and the history of news. Supported by an NWO-Vidi grant (2015-2020), my team of two PhDs and I will study the circulation of transatlantic news in the early modern Low Countries - north and south - by means of an analysis of early printed newspapers (c. 1620-1770).

The Low Countries, with its highly advanced print culture, formed Europe's clearing house for maritime news. Events in the Americas and Africa in particular had a direct bearing on the balance of power at home, and were reported on with great intensity. This project investigates how early print media covered distant but urgent geopolitical conflicts, using newspapers from the Low Countries, north and south. Atlantic news represented a unique challenge, as the tension between the infrequent arrival of information and a regular deadline consistently jeopardized the newspapers' credibility. In the Dutch Republic, with its culture of open discussion, a 'public Atlantic' emerged. In the more autocratic Southern Netherlands, by contrast, Atlantic news was successfully managed by the royal government. An interdisciplinary study of these politically opposing yet linguistically identical media landscapes deepens our understanding of the European media's priorities, strategies, and biases that continue to be relevant in a globalized world. For a first impression of the methodological framework of this project, see my article "(No) News from the Western Front: The Weekly Press of the Low Countries and the Making of Atlantic News", Sixteenth Century Journal 44-3 (2013): 739-60.

In prior research I examined early modern printed travel accounts, more specifically the monumental De Bry collection of voyages that disseminated very influential textual and visual images of the non-European world, and the rise and fall of Dutch Brazil as seen through the eyes of the Amsterdam print media. My book on Dutch Brazil is forthcoming with the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Curriculum vitae

2008 - 2015 Assistant/Associate Professor of Early Modern History, University of Amsterdam

2013 Queen Wilhelmina Visiting Professor, Columbia University in New York

2011 Honorary Research Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London

2008 - 2012 NWO-Veni Research Fellow

Key publications

ed. The Legacy of Dutch Brazil (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

The Representations of the Overseas World in the De Bry Collection of Voyages, 1590-1634 (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2008; pbk, 2012)

Last Modified: 10-12-2015