What diaries teach us about everyday life in the Third Reich

"The cemetery was the place where Jewish life was concentrated at the end. It was the place where people went to sunbathe, children had to play, ..." Literature scholar Annelies Augustyns (VUB - UAntwerp - FWO) studied German-Jewish diaries from WWII for her PhD. These offer a glimpse into the "everyday" life of Jews in the Third Reich.
De Munck
KU Leuven

Why did nurses not receive proper pay for a long time?

In 2020, we applauded en masse for our healthcare heroes. But did you know that for a very long time, nurses in Belgium hardly got paid or did not get paid at all? And that they hardly received any recognition? Historian Luc De Munck explains why that was the case.
De Mol

Was Cleopatra poor at spelling? ✍ ❌

Aproved"* reads a Royal Decree that was possibly signed by Cleopatra (or at least by one of her ministers). But how did such a spelling error get into such an important document? Couldn't Cleopatra and her ministers spell? That's what classicist Geert De Mol (Ghent University) is looking into in his PhD.

The power of singing together

Football supporters, the scouts, students, churchgoers, ... They all like to sing together because singing together unites. People were already aware of this in the 18th century. In her research, Renée Vulto (Ghent University) looks at how singing together was used as a political instrument at that time, in order to strengthen national identity and create a sense of belonging.
De Picker
KU Leuven

Forgotten war heroes

On Armistice Day we traditionally commemorate the tens of thousands of fallen soldiers of WWI & WW II. But what happened to the almost 200,000 disabled soldiers and civilians of the world wars? This is what Marisa De Picker (KU Leuven) is researching in her PhD.

The woman in medieval Islamic philosophy

Did you know that the Greek philosopher Aristotle considered the idea that the woman is inferior to the man as a scientific fact? But how did Islamic philosophers of the Middle Ages, who were quite fond of Aristotle, think about the role of women? Completely different, according to the research of philosopher Tineke Melkebeek.  

Fights with the police: were things better in the old days?

On social media clips of skirmishes between citizens and the police regularly pop up and, in a flash, go viral. They elicit a lot of reactions, not least the classic "things used to be better in the old days". But was there less violence on the streets in the past? Historian Martin Schoups delves into documents from 19th-century Antwerp.
L. Smith

Surviving in dry environments: lessons from the past

As a result of climate change, more and more areas in the world are suffering from drought. Can we draw lessons from the Ancient past, where people learned to adapt to life in arid regions of the Near East and built entire communities there?

The best adapted does not always survive

Once upon a time there were two types of cephalopods: the nautiluses and the ammonites. Although the ammonites were much better adapted, they became extinct. And the nautiluses? They're still swimming around today. Stijn Goolaerts studies fossils of these fascinating creatures and draws a wise lesson for mankind from the sad fate of the ammonites.
Van de Vijver

What do skeletons tell us about the past?

Katrien Van de Vijver is a physical anthropologist: by studying skeletons and bones from the Middle Ages, she tries to reconstruct the story of the past. See what she can learn from this
KU Leuven

Bubbles in rock: clues from ancient fluids

Each rock really has a story to tell about events that occurred on our planet”, according to Brazilian geologist Fernando Araujo. Listen to his story about fascinating and colorful pegmatite rocks

Knowing the past to predict the future

Alexandre Chevalier studies plants from the past. He is convinced that this knowledge can help us to grow food in a more sustainable way.