Call for Papers

Written by Hans Wallage | Published on 23/01/2023

Conference: Voices of migrants to and from the Netherlands, 16th-20th centuries

University of Amsterdam, University Library

June 15, 2023

Since the sixteenth century, the Netherlands has functioned as a place of departure, as well as a destination for refugees and migrants. Their influence on economic, social and cultural developments has often been studied through the lens of institutional policies and sources. However, historians have been increasingly attentive to writing migration histories ‘from below’, mapping the experiences, voices, agency and actions of (forced) migrants. So far, research of migrants as actors of change has usually stayed within the boundaries of traditional historical timeframes. This conference aims to bring together early career researchers studying ‘voices’ of migrants who migrated or fled from, or to the Netherlands during the past five centuries. In doing so, we hope to encourage a conversation between early career researchers studying primary sources and experiences of refugees and migrants in different social, cultural, political and economic contexts. How, and to what extent were (forced) migrants able to lobby for solidarity and support? How did migrants describe or identify themselves, and why? How did refugees remember their experiences of flight and position themselves within their new environment? We will explore these and other questions during this one-day conference. 

Possible contributions include, but are not limited to:

–           Gender in migrant and refugee voices

–           Political voices (i.e. media, correspondence, diplomacy)

–           Expressions (of identity) in material culture and art

–           Experiences of flight, arrival and life in their new environment (i.e. diaries, oral history, letters)

–           Voices of migrants in heritage (i.e. (city) landscape, architecture, museums)     

Travel costs within the Netherlands will be reimbursed. Overnight accommodation costs in Amsterdam can also be reimbursed; but please contact Lotte van Hasselt in advance for more information:

To attend please submit an abstract (no more than 300 words) by March 1, 2023 via:

Lotte van Hasselt:

Please contact Hans Wallage at or Lotte van Hasselt at if you have any questions.

NWO-Vici project: ‘The Invention of the Refugee in Early Modern Europe’:

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