Research group Political Culture and History
Specialisation Political culture, Representation, Identity, Age of Enlightenment & Revolution, Republic & Kingdom


Joris Oddens (1981) studied Dutch, European Studies and History in Amsterdam and Florence. He obtained his PhD in 2012 from the University of Amsterdam, with an award-winning dissertation on the history of the first Dutch parliament (1796-98). He has also worked as a researcher and lecturer in Nijmegen, Groningen, Leiden and Padua, and he was a fellow at the Dutch Institutes in Rome and Istanbul.

Oddens is an expert on the political culture of the Netherlands between the late sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. He studies the political significance of culture in a narrow sense (for example literary texts or paintings), while also trying to understand, in a broader sense, how politics worked and which ideas shaped political attitudes and behaviour. His research deals with the political centre as well as the periphery and it concerns both elites and ordinary citizens. He has written about elevated Stoic ideals in the friendship books of revolutionary statesmen, but also about everyday political practices on the tiny Dutch island of Ameland. He has also published on emotions in politics, religious violence, sister republics, bicameralism, self fashioning, ghosts, and the Dutch in the Ottoman Empire.

In the past few years, Oddens has worked on the history of petitioning. This research has resulted in a book on petitions and politics in the Netherlands (1780-1860), which was published in the Autumn of 2023. More recently Oddens has developed an interest in portraits as an object of historical study. He is working on a new book project that will focus on the famous group portraits from the time of the Dutch Republic (c. 1550-1750).

At the Huygens Institute, Oddens is the head of the research group Political Culture and History. He is also the project leader of the REPUBLIC project (2019-24), which aims to provide digital access to all resolutions of the Dutch States General (1576-1796).