RHI-50506 Agrarian History


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Excursion (one day)7
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. mr. PJ van Cruyningen
Lecturer(s)dr. mr. PJ van Cruyningen
Examiner(s)dr. mr. PJ van Cruyningen

Language of instruction:

Dutch or Englisch

Continuation courses:

RHI-50403 Capita Selecta History.


The central theme of the course is the history of farming and its role in the Malthusian field of tension between food production and population growth on the long term, i.e. the period 1500-2000. The theme will be elaborated on the basis of the development of Dutch agriculture, within a Western-European framework. Important points of attention are: the diversity of farming in the Netherlands, the changes in farming in time, the transition of the old, agrarian into the modern, industrial society and the transformation agriculture went through after World War II.

Learning outcomes:

After this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the processes of change of agricultural production systems;
- identify and explain the crucial turning points in the history of the Western-European society in terms of agricultural production and food security;
- recognize the coherence between long term changes in agriculture and changes in the economy and technology;
- assess contemporary agrarian developments in a historical perspective;
- report on an independent scientific investigation.


The subject matter is eleborated and explained in the lessons. At the end of the course an excursion will be organised to the Openair Museum in Arnhem. Students have to write an individual paper based on extra literature. By this way they apply what they learned in the lectures and expand it with new information.


- written test with open questions (50%);
- historical paper based on literature (50%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


For Dutch students is compulsory: Jan Bieleman, Boeren in Nederland. Geschiedenis van de landbouw, 1500-2000 (Amsterdam: Boom, 2008) and some articles which will be handed out during the lessons. For English-speaking students an English textbook is compulsory: Jan Bieleman, Five centuries farming: a short history of Dutch agriculture, 1500-2000 (Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2010)