Research team

Antwerp Cultural Heritage Sciences (ARCHES)

Expertise

Gerrit Verhoeven specializes in cultural, social and economic history. One of his favorite research topics is everyday time-use and time awareness in the past,. How was the balance between work, domestic chores, leisure, religion and sleep unhinged by the industr(ious/ial) revolution? To answer this question, he focuses on the history of the Low Countries - both North and South - between the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Another important line of research, is the history of travel and tourism.

Selling the 'City of Art'. Urban tourism and the advent of city marketing in Belgium (1880-1980). 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

"Selling the City of Art" places the genesis of urban tourism marketing and branding strategies in a long-term perspective for Belgium between c.1880 and c.1980. It does so by focusing first and foremost on the 'orgware', i.e. stakeholders, organisations and institutions involved in city branding, by questioning and explaining historically changing motivations and rationales behind tourist promotion using growth coalition theory. Secondly, the project analyses how these different urban power groups actually sought out various media ('software') to create a specific brand for the Belgian 'Cities of art'. Finally, it considers how the heritage infrastructure of cities ('hardware') was gradually adopted to accommodate for urban tourism and mediate a specific urban tourist brand. The current project innovates in its trailblazing use and combination of underacknowledged historical sources of both a visual and textual kind, and by applying a new in-depth DH-approach for qualitative and quantitative analysis. Hitherto a neglected field in international research, the study of Belgium from a specific long-term historical perspective will break new ground in the interdisciplinary field of Tourism Studies and open up new discussions relevant for Heritage Studies and the field of Urban Studies more in general.

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L'Ancienne Belgique. Museums, archaeology, and the creation of national identity in Belgium (1870-1940). 01/07/2021 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Up until recently, the history of archaeology as a scientific discipline was seriously biased, as experts predominantly focused on the more spectacular excavations abroad - in Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, or Egypt - while the rise of "backyard" archaeology in one's own country was largely ignored. Drawing on the rich - yet barely scrutinized - archives of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, the current project aims to analyze how the most important collection for national archaeology in Belgium took shape in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tying in with some major debates in the field, we will scrutinize slow but sure processes of institutionalization, professionalization, and ideologization, by identifying the actors and institutions involved in "backyard archaeology", the techniques that were developed, and the link with nationalism and imperialism.

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The royal museums of art and history: the history of its buildings ans its collections based on the museum's archives (RMACH). 15/09/2020 - 14/09/2030

Abstract

Leaving aside a handful of recent scientific articles, the only general publication on the history of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH), its buildings and the development of its collections is a Liber Memorialis, published in 1985 on the occasion of the museum's 150th anniversary. While the latter publication was aimed at a general public, no other encompassing scientific and critical study on the history of the RMAH that attempts at tracing this history against the background of broader (inter)-national socio-political and cultural developments, has so far been published, despite the fact that vast amounts of unstudied documentation are looming in the museum's institutional archives. Henceforth, the RMARCH project focusses on the history of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH), based on its institutional archives. In collaboration with the archivist of the RMAH, the FED-tWIN researcher will work on eliminating the enormous backlog in archival description, (online) access and digitalisation of the RMAH institutional archives with the specific aim to make these archives available to the general public but also for further scientific research. Following the reorganisation of these archives, several research questions will be addressed that ultimately will result in a new critical and scientific study on the history of the RMAH. Special attention will be devoted to the various historical buildings of the different museums that form the RMAH but also to the different actors that were responsible for the development of its collections.RMARCH proposes a multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional approach that will build on the expertise of past and current research projects in both the RMAH and the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen). The research opportunities that will emerge from opening up this important institutional archive will not only allow the FED-tWIN researcher with his/her focus and profile in archival studies and architectural history to rewrite the history of the RMAH but also to play a crucial role in connecting, moderating and advancing them into the broader field of heritage studies. These are ranging from archival and (art and architectural) historical research to conservation and restoration but also in new research fields such as digital humanities and the development of digital documentation, data visualisation and imaging technologies. In this respect, the synergy between the disciplines Heritage Studies and Conservation-Restoration of the Faculty of Design Sciences of the UAntwerpen also offers a unique opportunity to deeply embed this project into academic education and training and in cooperation with the two research groups Henry van der Velde and Heritage & Sustainability.

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Decentring diligence. Time, work and the industrious revolution in early modern Italy (1570-1840). 01/12/2019 - 30/11/2021

Abstract

More than two decades ago, Jan de Vries launched a controversial theory, that still echoes through economic, social, and even cultural history. According to his hypothesis of the Industrious Revolution time became money in the Dutch Republic. Mesmerized by and endless variety of fashionable and exotic consumer goods, Jan Modaal was keen to cut back on his leisure time. Labourers started a bit earlier at work or left somewhat later, they cut back on breaks, and pruned the dead wood of Feast- and Saint's Days. Moreover, the family-based income was further enhanced by putting women and children to work. Despite the boldness of the claim, the evidence on industriousness remained, at first, rather limited, as de Vries initially launched his hypothesis as a largely theoretical solution for a paradox. On the one hand, consumption was obviously on the march, as the list of chattels and goods in post-mortem inventories ever grew longer, while, on the other hand, (real) wages levelled out or took a plunge. Industriousness might have offered a way out of the conundrum. Nonetheless, the evidence to corroborate these claims remained limited until the economic historian Hans-Joachim Voth turned to a rather unexpected source. Drawing evidence from the proceedings of the Old Bailey, Voth traced some important evolutions in time-use, although his findings did not fit smoothly with de Vries' initial hypothesis. Except for his research, the empirical data on industriousness remains flimsy. Moreover, preliminary research has challenged its tenability for other parts of Europe. The lack of empirical data is especially problematic for Mediterranean Europe, as Vries' and Voth's data are sometimes used to flesh out the idea of a Little Divergence between the industrious North and the slothful South. Drawing new evidence from the Tribunale del governatore di Roma (Archivio di Stato), the project aims to move beyond this black-and-white stereotype. Was industriousness really a privilege of the "miracle economies" of the North or had it already struck root much earlier in the South? Was everyday time awareness and time-use radically reshuffled in early modern Rome, as it was in London, Amsterdam or Berlin?

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Time Thrift? Measuring the impact of the Industrial revolution on time awareness in Belgium (1830-1914). 01/04/2018 - 31/03/2019

Abstract

How did the Industrial Revolution reshape everyday time use and consciousness in the long nineteenth century? Even though this question has unleashed some heated debates in the last decades, conclusive emipirical evidence is still largely missing. In this project we tap the potential of police reports (the procès-verbaux) in three Belgian cities (Antwerp, Ghent, and Liège) to trace some long-term developments in time awareness/management and to tease out the (hypothetical) relation with the Industrial Revolution.

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Monography "Europe within Reach: Netherlandish Travellers on the Grand Tour and Beyond (1585-1750)" 01/04/2015 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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Fashionably Late? Economic growth and time awareness in early modern Europe (Antwerp & Amsterdam, 16th-18th century) 01/02/2014 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

The project explores the (assumed) link between time awareness and economic growth, by carefully comparing the development in two commercial hubs (Amsterdam & Antwerp) in a long-term perspective (early sixteenth to late eighteenth century) Due to this pioneering modus operandi, we aim to participate in some heated discussions on the nature, causes, and effects of the industrious and industrial revolution in early modern Europe.

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The tearing tissue. Family, friends and neighbours: the resilence of everyday social relations (Brussels - Antwerp 1715-'90). 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

Our first objective is to look beyond various bold theories on (in)formal social relations, democratisation, poor relief, and civil society. Rather, we seek to resuscitate the simple everyday dimensions of community life. Earlier research may have settled for drawing a comprehensive still life of the who is who – and the who with whom – in myriad sorts of social networks and institutions; however, we wish to portray the praxis of everyday social relations at work. How, when and why did ordinary city dwellers appeal to neighbours, colleagues, friends, and family? Were these social ties strong or weak? Vertical or horizontal?

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Travel culture of the Netherlands (1650-1750). A research into the dialectical relation between travel literature and travel practices and the effect on the rise and dynamics of the European touristic field. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

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Travel culture of the Netherlands (1650-1750). A research into the dialectical relation between travel literature and travel practices and the effect on the rise and dynamics of the European touristic field. 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2006

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