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Henk Nellen


  • Prof. Dr Henk Nellen
  • Guest Researcher
  • Department of History of Science and Scholarship
  • Specialisation: early-modern history of ideas; Hugo de Groot
  • +31 (0)20-2246804


Henk Nellen studied History at the University of Nijmegen (now Radboud University Nijmegen) and gained his PhD in 1980 with a thesis on the epistolary network of the seventeenth-century French scholar Ismael Boulliau (1605-1694). In april 2007 he completed a biography on Hugo Grotius, which was awarded the Littéraire Witte Prize (2008) and the Henriëtte de Beaufort-prize (2010). In 2014 an English translation of the work was published. On behalf of Huygens ING he has been involved in the international research project entitled ‘Europa Humanistica’, which aims at creating a reference work of European humanist philologists from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and their editions of (post-)classical authors. In 2009, in conjunction with Professor Steenbakkers, he received a subsidy for the project ‘Biblical Criticism and Secularization in the Seventeenth Century’. On behalf of the Dr C. Louise Thijssen-Schoute Stichting and Huygens ING, he was appointed extraordinary professor in ‘History of Ideas of early-modern times in its social context’ at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam in 2009. After his retirement in 2014, Nellen will remain related to Huygens ING as a guest researcher, to be able to complete the projects he has been working on. Especially the Biblical project and Europa Humanistica. In addition, he will also be studying the life and works of Grotius.

Research and other projects:

Major publications:

  • Scriptural Authority and Biblical Criticism in the Dutch Golden Age: God‘s Word Questioned, ed. Dirk van Miert, Henk Nellen, Piet Steenbakkers en Jetze Touber (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), xvi, 499 pp.
  • Hugo Grotius, A Lifelong Struggle for Peace in Church and State, 1583-1645 (Leiden, Boston: Brill 2014), XXXII, 827 pp.
  • Hugo de Groot: een leven in strijd om de vrede, 1583-1645 (Amsterdam: Balans, 2007)
  • Op zoek naar een vreedzame wereldorde: Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) over natuurlijke godsdienst en rechtvaardige oorlog (Amersfoort: Florivallis, 2010)
  • (samen met J. De Landtsheer) Between Scylla and Charybdis. Learned Letter Writers Navigating the Reefs of Religious and Political Controversy in Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2010).

Other information:


Research output in Pure

Activities in Pure