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Personal profile

Personal information

Karel Davids is Full Professor of Economic and Social History in the Faculty of Humanities and the School of Business and Economics since March 1, 1994.

Email: c.a.davids@vu.nl

Telephone: + 31 20 598 6354

Citations and h-index:  https://scholar.google.nl/scholar?hl=nl&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=karel+davids&btnG=


Global history; maritime history; history of technology, history of relations between humans and animals, c. 1500 - present. 

  • comparative history of the development of knowledge in Europe, Asia and the Atlantic world,c.700-1850
  • losing knowledge: historical perspectives
  • cities and knowledge, 17th-21th centuries 
  • urban transformations and capitalism,  17th-21th centuries 

Current projects

Slaves, commodities and logistics. The economic impact of Dutch Republic transatlantic slave-based activities c.1700-1850. (with prof. dr. Marcel van der Linden, IISG, and prof.dr. Henk den Heijer,  University of Leiden) (NWO-funded) (2013-2018)

Ocean of knowledge. Globalizing forces and the growth of knowledge in the Atlantic world, 1660-1860 (partly KNAW(NIAS)-funded) (2013-2018)

The Senate and the People in small power constitutional monarchies in the North Atlantic c.1800-present (with dr. Wybren Verstegen VU and dr. Nikolaj Bijleveld (RU Groningen) (KNAW-funded) (2017-2019)


  • The world and the Netherlands: Economic and social history
  • The heart of capitalism (FGW/School of Business and Economics)
  • Social history of the United States
  • Commodity chains and consumption
  • Development of macro-economic thought (School of Business and Economics)
  • Globalizing knowledge (MA)
  • Travelling ideas (MA)

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Research Output 1973 2018

Building life histories of Cape Town's enslaved, 1700-1850: an archival and isotopic study

Mbeki, L., 2018, 198 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

Construction navale

Davids, K., 2018, Dictionnaire des Pays-Bas au Siècle d’or. Secretan, C. & Frijhoff, W. (eds.). Paris : CNRS Éditions, p. 162 165 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

In the shadow of the Reformation. Cathedrals as hubs of technological knowledge in late medieval and early modern Europe

Davids, K., 2018, (Unpublished) 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic

Activities 1979 2018

Zeevaartonderwijs in Nederland van de zestiende tot de twintigste eeuw. Een stuk in vijf bedrijven.

Davids, C. A. (Speaker)
26 May 2018 → …

Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

Vitruvius and mills in the Low Countries

Davids, C. A. (Speaker)
5 Jul 2018

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Ph.D. examination

Davids, C. A. (Examiner)
9 Jun 2017

Activity: PhD thesis ExaminationPhD thesis examination

Stevin Inside Out. New perspectives on Simon Stevin

Davids, C. A. (Organiser)
16 Dec 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic

Press / Media

Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands

C.A. Davids


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other

Leve de fluit!

C.A. Davids


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other

Er is een gebrek aan historisch geheugen

C.A. Davids


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other