Select Page

Eileen van der Burgh MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Global History, History of Medicine, Maritime History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2022-2023

Dutch Shipping and the Environment, 1621-1939

Leiden University

Supervisors: Prof. dr. M. van Groesen & Dr. A.M.C. van Dissel

Duration of appointment: September 2022 – September 2026

Quarantine has been part of the maritime world since the early modern period. Ships sailing around the world were seen as potential health hazards due to the fact diseases were often present on board. During the 19th century the growth of world trade caused a further increase of flows of goods and people. Quarantine measures would be imposed upon incoming ships as they had to be at anchor for forty days. Merchants were not too thrilled when these types of measures were imposed, because this resulted in delays and extra costs. Governments had to constantly weigh the health benefits of quarantine measures against commercial and imperial interests.

This project investigates the relationship between the maritime practice and the development of international quarantine regulations. The role of the Dutch shipping industry in this process will be one of the main themes within this project. Quarantine practices overseas, for example in the Dutch East Indies, Suriname, and the Dutch Caribbean, will also be investigated. Combining both a maritime historical perspective and a medical historical outlook this project will shed light on past quarantine practices in Europe and overseas territories.