A Game of Thrones

Duration: March 2020 - 1 December 2023
Subsidy provider: NWO-VENI
Subsidy size: 250.000 euro

A Game of Thrones? Order and Governance in the Dutch Republic and the Swiss Confederation, 1576-1701.

European monarchies and city-states have long attracted researchers’ attention. Conversely, this study teaches us how federation-states legitimised their authority by focussing on providing good governance, order, and safety.

A state’s survival highly depended upon legitimised, good governance with regulations to protect the community from real or imaginary harm. Influential research from the 19th century has led tot he belief that Europe’s power-play was mainly ‘a game of thrones’ with top-down policy-enforcement. This historical-representation has been questioned since the 1950s, though still with a monarchical-focus. To address the omission ‘veteran’ Swiss Republic and the ‘new-born’ Dutch Republic are used to provide a historical analysis on the establishment of order within federations (‘republics’). Hence, this study focusses on:

This extensive study focusses on the origins of governance, and state- and nation-building within federation-states (provinces/ cantons). Studying long-term developments, comparing the three states to each other and testing it against existing research on principalities and city-states, this study:

Interestingly, consensus did not always go unruffled due to clashing interests and old privileges. To understand the origin of governance, long-standing non-monarchical states, and their legitimisation during the early-modern period needs to be studied.

This project is an NWO-Veni project that will run from 2020 to 1 December 2023.