The news and explanations of natural disasters in the sixteenth-century Netherlands

Wednesday 13 September 2023, 2:30 pm
PhD student
M.E.J. van Egeraat MA
prof. dr. L.E. Jensen, prof. dr. J.B. Oosterman
Faculty of Arts

In her PhD thesis, Marieke van Egeraat studied the explanations of natural disasters as offered by people in the sixteenth century. Even back then, people had various explanations to choose from, such as God’s almighty power, a natural cause or a focus on human influence. Why did people sometimes choose one explanation, and at other times another? According to Van Egeraat, the chosen explanations related to the aims with which the explanations were issued. These aims could differ based on the political context, the medium of communication and the characteristics of the writer. What is clear is that the chosen explanations were never neutral, and were always deployed to achieve a certain goal. 

Marieke van Egeraat was born in Rotterdam on 4 December 1992. She attended the Johan de Witt grammar school in Dordrecht from 2004 to 2011. In 2011, she started studying History at Radboud University in Nijmegen. There, she achieved her Bachelor’s degree in History in 2015 and went on to follow the Research Master’s programme in Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies at the same university. In 2017, she obtained her Master’s degree with the cum laude honours distinction. On 1 January 2018, she began her PhD programme as part of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) project ‘Dealing with disasters in the Netherlands. The shaping of local and national identities, 1421-1890’. Van Egeraat currently works as a project coordinator at the Research Office of the Faculty of Arts of Radboud University.