New project: Madness and the city

Interactions between the mad, their families and urban society in the Dutch Republic,1600-1798

9 September 2014

Martje aan de Kerk has been awarded with one of the 3 PhD Fellowships of the Institute for Culture and History (UvA) for a four-year research project, starting in September 2014.

This research project aims to uncover the interactions between the mad, their family and urban society, and to analyze the changing attitudes towards perceived madness in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The focus of the research will be on the changing daily reality of the mad and their caregivers during this period. Which options were available to families, and which choices families made in order to take care of their mad family members? Which impact did this all have upon the significant increase in the admission rates of the urban Dutch Dolhuyzen in the eighteenth century?


Martje aan de Kerk (1988) finished the Research Master in History (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam in 2013. During this period she specialized in medical history during the early modern period. In her master thesis she examined perceptions of illness and treatment options on the medical market in early modern Amsterdam. Her price winning bachelor thesis about the patterns of admission in the Amsterdam Dolhuys in the seventeenth and eighteenth century has resulted in publications in Skript (2011) and Geschiedenis Magazine (2012).

Published by  ACUH