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Making Memories: European Elites, Country House Cultures & Identities


Dr. Hanneke Ronnes

Members of the research group

Prof. Rob van der Laarse 

Outside member:
Dr. Conrad Gietman

Description of the research programme of the research group

Until the twentieth century, the claim of noble and patrician families to political power and socio-cultural supremacy in society rested to a great extent on concepts of birth, lineage and honor attained by past generations. These families accentuated their (noble) heritage in numerous ways: intangibly through heroic family myths, chronicles, genealogy; materially through the possession of castles, heraldic display, galleries of ancestors, art collections, family tombs, pseudo medieval architecture, et cetera. These symbols of past greatness were in many cases subject to invention, remodeling and exaggeration. This interdisciplinary research group aims to investigate the meaning of memory and history for the nobility and bourgeois aristocracy from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century. The research group will not only study the ways in which history served as a means to establish a pecking order and was used as a mechanism of inclusion and exclusion, other meanings related to identity, cultural capital and even gender will also be taken into account.

Envisaged results

The primary aim of this research group is to write a NWO Grant or Horizon 2020 proposal.

Work plan and time schedule

The research group will meet on a regular basis in order to write the above mentioned grant proposal. The group also has a digital existence, ie much of the communication will be done through email, given the fact that (parts of) the proposal will have to be repeatedly reviewed.

Societal relevance

The societal relevance of the research proposed by this research group is mainly related to the fact that it has strong links with the museological sphere. The objects mentioned above feature large in many of the collections and presentation of much visited contemporary (historical) museums and public archives