Vossius Center for the History of Humanities and Sciences

Ms M.A. (Martje) aan de Kerk MA

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Geschiedenis
  • Visiting address
    Oost-Indisch Huis
    Kloveniersburgwal 48  Room number: D 0.09
  • Postal address:
    Kloveniersburgwal  48
    1012 CX  Amsterdam
  • M.A.aandeKerk@uva.nl

Research Project


Martje aan de Kerk is a PhD candidate at the early modern history department. She is working on a project entitled: 'Madness and the city. Interactions between the mad, their families and urban society in the Dutch Republic, 1600-1795.' This 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. Establishing what option people had to take care of their family members, how private and public care was arranged and who were classified as mad are key aims of this research. Thus, this project will incorporate both intra and extramural care for the mad and will therefore shed new light on the history of early modern madness in the Dutch Republic.


'They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.' (Remark from Nathaniel Lee (c.1653 - 6 may 1692) after being incarcerated in Bedlam for five years)


Short Biography 

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 early modern medical history and the history of madness. 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).


Research interests

History of Medicine, Social History of Medicine, Early Modern History, Urban History, History of social institutions, History Of Madness And Psychiatry and History of Medicine and the Body.


'Strategic voices of care and compassion: Describing the mad, their afflictions and situations in Amsterdam and Utrecht in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries', History of Psychiatry Vol. 29-I (2018) 66–78. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0957154X17736236


‘Niets menselijker dan het anatomisch model’ De fascinatie voor anatomische modellen’, online published on: http://www.museumboerhaave.nl/tentoonstellingen/amazing-models (december 2013).


‘Verstoten of verzorgd, Patronen van opname en ontslag in het Amsterdamse Dolhuys, 1640-1780’, Geschiedenis Magazine jaargang 47 nr. 5 (2012) 18-22.


‘Verstoten of verzorgd. Patronen van opname en ontslag in het Amsterdamse Dolhuis, 1640-1780’, Skript historisch tijdschrift Vol. 33 afl. I (2010) 4-15. 


  • aan de Kerk, M. A. (2017). Strategic voices of care and compassion: Describing the mad, their afflictions and situations in Amsterdam and Utrecht in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. History of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1177/0957154X17736236 


  • aan de Kerk, M. (participant) (2-6-2017). Madness in Civilization, Amsterdam, Netherlands. The loss of the capacity for rational thought, a sense of alienation from the world, overwhelming emotional turmoil, feelings of inexplicable sorrow (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Blok, G. (organiser) & aan de Kerk, M. A. (organiser) (2-6-2017). Madness in Civilization, Amsterdam, Netherlands (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
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