Overview of my research projects, participating parties, grants and results
1. Dissertation project on the works of art acquired by the town of Haarlem through its confiscation of the
ecclesiastical and religious institutions in the period from 1580 until 1630.
This project resulted in a number articles and a number of papers presented at conferences, three books (Tot lof
van Haarlem (dissertation), Karel van Mander en de Haarlemse schilderkunst and Macht en onderhorigheid
binnen de Ridderlijke Orde van Sint Jan). For further information see my Publications, Papers and Symposiums on
I received the 'Haerlem award' from the Historische Vereniging 'Haerlem' (Historical Society Haarlem; 1987) for
part of my research on the works of art, and in particular for the research into the functions of series of the
commander portraits in the convent of St John of Jerusalem in Haarlem. My research resulted in the publication
Macht en onderhorigheid binnen de Ridderlijke Orde van Sint Jan. De commandeursportretten uit het Sint Jansklooster
te Haarlem, Haarlem 1991.
2. The functions of art, ritual and text in medieval memoria (from 1996)
In 1996 I launched the research project Zorg voor het hier en het hiernamaals. Memorietafels in de Noordelijke
Nederlanden in de 15de en 16de eeuw (Care for the Here and the Hereafter. Memorial paintings and sculptures in
the Northern Netherlands in the 15th and 16th centuries). Together with students and colleagues we made an extensive
inventory of the extant works of arts and listed them in a database. Theses and several articles were written in
preparation of the exhibition and the accompanying scholarly publication Leven na de dood, an overall
publication of broad comparative research of memorial paintings and sculptures for a specific area, one of the
first books of this kind.
Researching memorial culture automatically involves crossing disciplinary borders and moving from objects as
sources to other types of sources. Therefore the project gradually changed into research of medieval memoria
for the Netherlands in general, as the change of title shows: The functions of art, ritual and text in medieval
- The exhibition Leven na de dood. Gedenken in de late Middeleeuwen (Life after death. Memoria in the Late
Middle Ages (Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, 11 December 1999 - 26 March 2000). Organisers: Helen WŁstefeld,
Truus van Bueren and Henri Defoer.
- The scholarly exhibition catalogue of the same title. Authors: Truus van Bueren and Helen WŁstefeld.
- The conference Memoria in middeleeuws Utrecht (Memoria in Medieval Utrecht), Utrecht, 25 March 2000.
- The international conference and symposium Care for the Here and the Hereafter, Utrecht, 10 - 12 May 2001.
- Care for the Here and the Hereafter. Memoria, Art and Ritual in the Middle Ages (eds. Truus van Bueren and
Andrea van Leerdam), Turnhout 2005, with the proceedings of the conferences of 2000 and 2001.
- Memoria in beeld (Representations of medieval memoria), 2008, by Truus van Bueren, Andrea van Leerdam and
Fenna Visser, is a website and database with over 500 memorial paintings and sculptures (language: Dutch; region:
present-day Netherlands). In 2009 an extensive update was made and articles were added in both Dutch and English.
- The Rich Internet Application Commemoration in the convent MariŽnpoel: prayer and politics by Leen Breure
and Truus van Bueren (with Research Notes by Truus van Bueren and Kim Ragetli 2009-2010). This interactive website is
an introduction to the medieval culture of memoria for a wide public.
- The website Kloosterkleding in beeld (The dress of conventuals), 2010, by Lonneke Hoondert. This website
is a tool for researchers to help them establish the identity of conventuals (nuns, monks, sisters, brothers) by
way of their dress.
Participating Ph.D. students
- Visitor's grant for prof. Molly Faries of Indiana University, U.S.A. (1997, NWO: the Netherlands Organisation
for Scientific Research), for research of memorial painting with infrared reflectography. Resulting paper and
publication: Truus van Bueren and Molly Faries "Care for the Here and the Hereafter: using IRR in the Study of
Memorial Paintings". The results of this cooperation and other technical research are also included in several
other publications, such as Leven na de dood, see Publications and Papers presented on this website.
- Grant (May 1998 - May 1999, NWO: the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) for a sabbatical leave
to write the scholarly catalogue Leven na de dood (see above, Main results) for the exhibition in Museum
Catharijneconvent te Utrecht (11 December 1999 - 27 March 2000).
- Grants for the organisation of (international) conferences in 2000 and 2001 from NWO (the Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research), KNAW (the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) and DELA
- Grants for the translation of articles, the illustrations and the editing of Care for the Here and the
Hereafter, including a grant from the Ridderlijke Duitse Orde, Balije van Utrecht (Order of the Teutonic
Knights of St John in Utrecht).
- Grants for Memoria in beeld from DANS, The Professor van Winter Fonds and the K.F. Hein Fonds.
Ph.D. students in the research project The functions of art, ritual and text in medieval memoria of which I
am the acting supervisor:
Daantje Meuwissen received her doctorate degree on 18 October 2011. Title dissertation: Gekoesterde traditie. De
portretreeks met de landcommandeurs van de Utrechtse Balije van de Ridderlijke Duitse Orde. (Cherished Tradition.
The portraits series with the land commanders of the Teutonic Orde of Knights, Utrecht Bailiwick), Uitgeverij
Verloren, Hilversum 2911. Extensive summaries in English and German. Supervisors: Truus van Bueren and prof. dr.
Rudi Ekkart. Daantje Meuwissen is appointed (1 March 2012) as assistant professor at Radboud University, Nijmegen,
Institute of art history.
- Rolf de Weijert (2013; Ph.D. Supervisors: Truus van Bueren and prof. dr. Mayke de Jong). Thesis title: 'Schenken,
begraven, gedenken: Memoria in het Utrechtse kartuizerklooster Nieuwlicht 1391-1580' (Gift giving, Burials and
Remembrance: Memoria in the Carthusian monastery Nieuwlicht near Utrecht, 1391-1580).
- Bini Biemans (2013; Ph.D. Supervisors: Truus van Bueren and prof. dr. Mayke de Jong). Thesis title: '"God heb
altoos danc ende loff". De laatmiddeleeuwse memoriecultuur in de Klaaskerk te Utrecht' (The Late Medieval Memoria
Culture in the Church of St. Nicolas in Utrecht).
- Charlotte Dikken (2013; Ph.D. Supervisors: Truus van Bueren and prof. dr. Jeroen Stumpel). Thesis title:
'Stained glass windows and their memorial functions in medieval society. A Comparative Study'.
The Memoria contact group
A group of Dutch and Belgian researchers of the culture of memoria in the Netherlands have been meeting
every two months since January 2004. The group started out as a contact group of doctoral students from the
Netherlands and Belgium, with Truus van Bueren (Utrecht University) as a senior scholar. Other senior researchers
have also joined in since 2007. The group now consists of 16 researchers: Koen Goudriaan, VU University Amsterdam;
Jan Kuys, Radboud University Nijmegen; Douwe Faber (former lecturer of history at Leiden University), Kees Kuiken
(independent scholar), Truus van Bueren, Utrecht University; nine Ph.D. students; and two former students preparing
for a dissertation project.
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3. Medieval Memoria Online
The Medieval Memoria Online project resulted from the need to perform interdisciplinary, broad comparative
and quantitative research in the field of memoria. The source material is not only varied and consists of
texts and text carriers and art objects, it is also widely spread over the world and much material is often unknown
to researchers. In the Netherlands two projects were at the basis of the MeMO project:
After extensive preparations the project was officially launched in May 2009. Participants are:
- The Memorial registers contact group. Since January 2004 this group has been preparing an online database
with an inventory and description of registers with a function in the culture of memoria such as necrologies,
lists of grave owners, lists of memorial gifts). It used the provisional inventory which was made around 1990 by the
Signum contact group (scholars working on the
medieval religious and ecclesiastical institutions in the Nederlands). Members of the Memorial registers contact
group were Sabrina Corbellini (VU University Amsterdam, today at the University of Groningen), Annemarie Speetjens
(VU University Amsterdam), Rolf de Weijert (Utrecht University), Liesbeth Zuidema (then at Leiden University), Jan
Sanders (State Archives in Noord-Brabant), and Truus van Bueren (chair, Utrecht University).
- The other initiative is the above-mentioned inventory and description of memorial paintings and sculptures.
Products are an exhibition, a book, articles and papers at conferences and the website and database Memoria in
beeld (Representations of Medieval Memoria).
And various heritage institutions:
- Utrecht University
- VU University Amsterdam
- University of Groningen
The MeMO project enables an interdisciplinary investigation in which case studies are combined with comparative
analysis of large amounts of source materials, including objects and texts. This objective is achieved by making
available on the Internet an information system containing databases with inventories and descriptions of sources
that are fundamental to the study of memoria: memorial registers, narrative sources regarding memoria,
memorial paintings and sculptures (Memorialbilder), and tomb monuments and tomb slabs, Northern Netherlands
(May 2009 - February 2013).
- Foundation for Ecclesiastical Art and Artifacts Netherlands (Stichting Kerkelijk Kunstbezit Nederland; SKKN),
- Netherlands Institute for Art History (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie; RKD), The Hague
- Central Bureau for Genealogy (Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie; CBG), The Hague
- Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), responsible for the IT components of the project
MeMO will cover the Christian memoria of the Netherlands from the beginning of the twelfth century to the
end of the sixteenth century (circa 1580). The system will, however, also be available for other areas and periods.
An international description standard (MeMO DS, Medieval Memoria Online Description Standard) has been created for
the contents of the five databases. MeMO will offer a user-friendly system with an advanced search machine enabling
researchers to access material which would be unavailable to them without this system.
- For the preparation of the project: Investment Subsidy NWO Medium Starting Grant, granted by NWO, the Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research. Title: Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO): de constructie en dynamiek van het
religieus-sociale geheugen. Inventarisatie, beschrijving en beschikbaarstelling van tekst en beeld met een functie
in de memoria in de middeleeuwen. Additional grants by the Professor Van Winter Fonds en Data Archiving and
Networked Services (DANS).
- For the project itself: Investment Subsidy NWO Medium for Medieval Memoria Online. Additional grants by
DANS, the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands), the Professor Van
Winter Fonds and the K.F. Hein Fonds.
For further information about the MeMO project, and for the results so far, please visit the
official MeMO website.
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4. Participation in international projects
Participation in the application of the Dutch-Flemish internationalisation project Herinnering in geschrift en
praktijk. Een analyse van de handschriftelijke overlevering als materiŽle spiegel van herinneringspraktijken in
religieuze gemeenschappen uit de Nederlanden in de volle en late middeleeuwen. Period: 2006-2008. Responsible
parties: R.I.A. Nip (University of Groningen) and J. Deploige (Ghent University). Products so far: three congresses
and symposiums. Bundel: Jeroen Deploige, Brigitte Meijns en Renťe Nip (red.), Herinnering in geschrift en praktijk
in religieuze gemeenschappen uit de Lage Landen, 1000-1500, Groningen, 29 september 2006 en Brussel, 5 oktober
2007, Brussel 2009.
Representing Utrecht University and especially the MeMO project, involved in the application for a Hercules grant
Sources from the Medieval Low Countries (SMLC). A Multiple Database System for the Launch of Diplomata Belgica
and for a Completely Updated Version of Narrative Sources. Sponsor: Hercules-Stichting van onderzoeks- en
innovatie-infrastructuur in Vlaanderen. Period: 2010-2013. Main applicant: Jeroen Deploige, Ghent University.
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2010: web design by Charlotte Dikken (UU). This website was tested and works on Internet Explorer, Opera and Firefox
and is best viewed on a fully maximized screen.
Last updated on: March 23rd, 2017.