Dr Joris van den Tol

Marie Curie Fellow
Dr Joris van den Tol

I am an historian of Early Modern Economic and Social History, specializing in the Dutch Republic in a globalized world. My first book, Lobbying in Company (Brill, 2020) uses the Dutch colony in Brazil (1630-1654) as a case study for lobbying. I argue that (ordinary) people made a difference for history. Through lobbying (a combination of petitions, personal relations, and public opinion), individuals were able to influence the decision-making process. Lobbying alliances transcended boundaries of ethnicity, religion, geography, gender, and class.

Before coming to Cambridge, I was a Rubicon Postdoc at Harvard University for two years (2019-2021) and a lecturer in International Studies at Leiden University for three (2016-2019). I obtained my PhD at Leiden University in 2018.

At Cambridge I am working on two projects. The first is a short project with two colleagues from Leiden University. In this project we study the relationship between the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and slavery in the nineteenth century. The second project is my Marie Curie Project where I study Anglo-Dutch lobbying in the seventeenth-century Atlantic.

Why did Dutch merchants petition the Amsterdam city council for free trade in the English Empire in the middle of the Dutch Golden Age? And why was there a plan for a new Dutch Company to protect trade in the English colonies in Barbados, Virginia, and the Leeward Islands? This project posits that both were creations of a transnational advocacy network (TAN). This TAN was a cooperation between Dutch merchants and English planters in the English Atlantic colonies. This Research Action emphasizes the interdependent nature of economic interests and political decision making in international politics and diplomacy in the Early Modern period. Such an approach illuminates the historical origins of TANs predating the nineteenth century and challenges the strict national framework of petitions. This proposal highlights the importance of non-state actors in international affairs and empire building. Moreover, this approach adds a novel Atlantic perspective to both the English Civil Wars and the (first) Anglo-Dutch War(s). Finally, this project is a unique case to answer the question why a successful transnational economic network attempted to become a formal, state-chartered, organization. This research has a two-pronged approach. [1] Reconstruct the economic exposure of the petitioners; linking names and signatures to notarial deeds relating to these English colonies. [2] Reconstruct the TAN’s coordination and strategy by comparing rhetoric and argumentation between petitions and diplomatic correspondence and pamphlets.


Tags & Themes


Queens' College
Cambridge CB3 9ET


Key Publications


  • Geketend voor Hollands Glorie: Slavernij in de geschiedenis van de provincie Zuid-Holland (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2023) [with K. Fatah-Black and L. Lauret]. (Open Access)
  • Serving the Chain? De Nederlandsche Bank and the last decades of slavery, 1814-1863 (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2023) [with K. Fatah-Black and L. Lauret]. (Open Access)
  • Dienstbaar aan de keten? De Nederlandsche Bank en de laatste decennia van de slavernij, 1814-1863 (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2022) [with K. Fatah-Black and L. Lauret]. (Open Access)
  • Lobbying in Company: Economic interests and political decision making in the history of Dutch Brazil, 1621-1656 (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2020) [The Atlantic World, Vol. 38].


  • 'Petitions in the Dutch Atlantic and the ‘Absence’ of a Dutch West India Interest, c. 1600–1800', in: M. Dantas da Cruz (ed.), Petitioning in the Atlantic World, c. 1500-1840 (Cham: Palgrave, 2022) 45-64.
  • 'Slavery: Capitalism & Racism', in: I. Duyvesteyn and A.M. van der Wal (eds.), World History for International Studies (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2022) 103-126. (Open Access)
  • '1640: Nederlanders op Barbados', in: L. Heerma van Voss et al, Nog meer Wereldgeschiedenis van Nederland (Amsterdam: Ambo|Anthos, 2022) 215-220.
  • ‘Non-Dutch petitions in the seventeenth-century Dutch Atlantic’, Early Modern Low Countries Journal 4.2 (2020) 158-180. (Open Access)
  • ‘Chinese Petitions to the Dutch East India Company: Gambling on Formosa’, in: T. Weststeijn (ed.), Foreign Devils and Philosophers: Cultural encounters between the Chinese, the Dutch, and other Europeans, 1590-1800 (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2020) 132-147.
  • ‘Kondschappen: lobbyen in de zeventiende-eeuwse Republiek via petities, publieke opinie, en persoonlijke relaties’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis – Journal of History 131.3 (2018) 431-452. (Open Access)
  • ‘Nederländsk Atlanthistoria med nordiska kopplingar’, Historisk Tidskrift 138.2 (2018) 287-301. [with K. Wirta] 
  • ‘De handel met de vijand: het economisch belang van smokkel en Spaanse handelsembargo’s voor de Republiek in het begin van de zeventiende eeuw’, The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History/TSEG 13.1 (2016) 53-73. (Open Access)
  • ‘Monopolizing arguments: outside lobbying in the Dutch Republic for free trade to Brazil, 1630-1638’, in: A. Polonia and C. Antunes (eds), Mechanisms of global empire building (Porto: CITCEM/Afrontamento, 2019) 109-123.
  • ‘The networks of Dutch Brazil: rise, entanglement, and fall of a colonial dream’, in: C. Antunes and J. Gommans (eds), Exploring the Dutch empire: agents, networks, and institutions, 1600-2000 (London: Bloomsbury, 2015) 77-94. [with C. Antunes and E. Odegard].
  • ‘Hendrick Haecxs: Amateuristisch lobbyen door de WIC in de Republiek in 1647’, in: L. Geevers and G. Vermeesch (eds.), Politieke belangenbehartiging in de vroegmoderne Nederlanden: De rol van lobbyen, petities, en officiële delegaties in de politieke besluitvorming (Maastricht: Shaker Publishing, 2014) 47-65.
  • ‘1642: De Portugese slavenlobby’, in: L. Heerma van Voss et al, Wereldgeschiedenis van Nederland (Amsterdam: Ambo|Anthos, 2019) 248-252.
  • ‘Review Essay: The Dutch Atlantic in three volumes’: M. van Groesen (ed), The legacy of Dutch Brazil (New York: Cambridge University Press 2014); J. Jacobs and L.H. Roper (eds), The worlds of the seventeenth-century Hudson Valley (Albany: SUNY Press 2014); G. Oostindie and J.V. Roitman (eds), Dutch Atlantic Connections, 1680-1800: linking empire, bridging borders(Leiden/Boston: Brill 2014) in: Itinerario 39.2 (2015) 371-376.