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The University of Groningen. Special chair in historic country houses

The University of Groningen is the only university in the Netherlands with an academic research and education group in the field of country houses and landed estates. Here follows a short introduction on this special chair, which is made possible by the Foundation Van der Wyck-De Kempenaer since 2012. Prof. dr. Yme Kuiper, anthropologist and social historian, and dr. Elyze Storms-Smeets, historical geographer, have been appointed as respectively professor and university lecturer in Historic Country Houses and Landed Estates at the Centre for Landscape Studies of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen. The  chair has a strong interdisciplinary character: the country houses and landed estates are studied as ensembles. Both the history of the inhabitants as well as the architecture and interiors of the houses and the landscape of its gardens, parks and estates get attention. Herein the country houses and estates are subject of historical research in the context of the historical sciences and  in the social application of cultural heritage. You can learn more about our research and courses via our website:

Several of our publications might be of interest to ENCOUNTER members:

  • Y. Kuiper, N. Bijleveld, & J. Dronkers (Eds.), Nobilities in Europe in the Twentieth Century: Reconversion Strategies, Memory Culture and Elite Transformation. (2015, Groningen Studies in Cultural Change; Vol. 50)
  • Y. Kuiper & B. Olde Meierink (Eds.),Buitenplaatsen in de Gouden Eeuw. De rijkdom van het buitenleven in de Republiek(2015, Hilversum)
  • Yme B. Kuiper, ‘Tolstoyans on a Mountain: From New Practices of Asceticism to the Deconstruction of the Myths of Monte Verità’,  Journal of Religion in Europe, Volume 6 (2013) Issue 4, pp. 464-481
  • Yme Kuiper, ‘The rise of the country house in the Dutch Republic.  Beyond Johan Huizinga’s narrative of Dutch civilisation in the seventeenth century’, in: Andrew Hann and Jon Stobart (eds.), The Consumption of the Country House, English Heritage Series 2015 (revised version of 2012 inaugural address in Dutch) pp. 13-25.
  • E.A.C. Smeets,Landscape and society in Twente & Utrecht: A geography of Dutch country estates, circa 1800-1950(2005, thesis University of Leeds)
  • E. Storms-Smeets,From elite to public landscapes. The transfer and transformation of Dutch landed estates, 1880-1950, in: Virtus, Jaarboek voor Adelsgeschiedenis(forthcoming)

At the European Social Science and History Conference 2016 in Valencia (29th of March- 2nd of April 2016) prof. dr. Yme Kuiper and dr. Elyze Storms-Smeets will be giving papers in various sessions (on landed elites in the 19th and 20th century). We hope to meet you in Spain.

With kind regards,

Prof. dr. Yme Kuiper

Dr. Elyze Storms-Smeets