Research group Data Management
Specialisation Dutch maritime connections with the colonial world


Gerhard de Kok (1983) is a maritime historian. He holds undergraduate degrees in business economics and history. In 2019 he obtained his PhD from Leiden University after defending a thesis on the local economic effects of the Transatlantic slave trade on the Dutch island of Walcheren (1755-1780). At the research institutes KITLV and IISH, he studied the former colonial connections of the Dutch port city of Rotterdam and the banks Hope & Co and R. Mees & Zoonen. In addition, he lectured at Leiden University on a variety of maritime topics.

For his research, De Kok often employs research methods from the Digital Humanities. This includes generating knowledge from large historical datasets using Python libraries such as Pandas and NumPy. In 2021, he built a web application to enable researchers to quickly search through a large volume of automatically transcribed colonial archives (through SQL). He also experiments with machine learning, word embeddings and Linked Open Data (LOD) to facilitate historical research.