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Milja van Tielhof

  • Dr Milja van Tielhof
  • Senior researcher
  • Department of History
  • Specialisation: social-economic history of early modern times
  • +31 (0)20-2246863


Milja van Tielhof studied History at Leiden University, where she gained her PhD with a thesis on the Dutch grain trade in the 15th and 16th centuries. She subsequently worked as a teacher and as a researcher at Leiden University, VU University Amsterdam and Utrecht University. She also worked for a few years at the Historical Archives of the ABN AMRO Bank. Since 2007 she has been working for Huygens ING. She led the program entitled ‘Het verenigingsleven in Nederland in de negentiende eeuw’ (Associational life in the Netherlands in the 19th century), which consisted of five projects and was concluded with the publication of several databases on the website of the Institute. She also worked on the project entitled ‘Amsterdamse notariële akten over de Archangelvaart’ (Amsterdam notarial deeds relating to the trade with Archangel 1594-1725). From 2011 till 2016 she led research program, funded by NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), which deals with the roots of the Dutch polder model. This program (a collaboration with Utrecht University and the VU Amsterdam) was specifically oriented toward the issue of how the old water boards were run and whether or not they can be regarded as a precursor of the modern Dutch structure of consultation, with its meeting culture, emphasis on consensus, and attention to minority interests. At the moment she is starting a research project on the history of drinking water supply in Dutch cities in the early modern and the modern times.

Research and other developments

Additional Positions

  • Bestuurslid bij Vereniging van Landbouwgeschiedenis

Major publications

  • Guest editor (met Petra J.E.M. van Dam en Piet van Cruyningen), A Global Comparison of Pre-Modern Institutions for Water Management. Special Issue Environment and History 23 (2017) 335-476.
  • ‘Forced Solidarity: Maintenance of Coastal Defences Along the North Sea Coast in the Early Modern Period’, Environment and History 21 (2015) 319-350.
  • Waterstaat in stedenland. Het hoogheemraadschap van Rijnland voor 1857 (Utrecht 2006), 368 pp. (met P.J.E.M. van Dam).


Research output in Pure

Activities in Pure