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Kerrewin van Blanken MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Early Modern History, European History, International Relations, Political History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2020-2021

Diplomats in Print. Public diplomacy and Franco-Dutch relations 1609-1713
UvA/KNAW Humanities Cluster, NL-Lab
Overarching project: The Invention of Public Diplomacy
Supervisor(s): Helmer Helmers (KNAW/HuC), Geert Janssen (UvA)

In my project I study the developing norms and practices of ‘public diplomacy’ in seventeenth century Europe, with a focus on the diplomatic relations between France and the Dutch Republic. Seventeenth century diplomats recognized the power of print and public opinion in shaping diplomatic negotiations. Not only did they monitor and suppress material unfavorable to their sovereign, they also played an active role in disseminating political information to a wider public. Sometimes this took the form of diplomatic speeches published under the name of the involved ambassador. Other times, information on ongoing negotiations was covertly leaked to the press, or disseminated in manuscript or oral form.
My research has three main goals. First, to chart the attitudes of diplomats towards publicity, and the ways they attempted to monitor and manipulate it. Secondly, to evaluate the impact of these practices on the bilateral relations between the Dutch Republic and France in a number of case studies. Third, to analyze how diplomats developed and shared new knowledge about the public sphere. The interactions between the Dutch Republic and France will allow me to compare between different state structures, confessional contexts, and geopolitical situations (from allies to enemies over the course of the seventeenth century).