Marrying Cultures: Queens Consort and European Identities 1500-1800

Maria Amalia, Princess of Saxony. Prado Museum, Madrid (detail)

HERA Joint Research Programme – Cultural Encounters 2013-2016

A total of 18 projects will be funded in a programme entitled “Cultural Encounters” supported by EU partner countries, and the HAB is participating in one of them. The HERA programme gives individual scholars from different countries and disciplines the opportunity to co-operate in an interdisciplinary project. The project “Marrying Cultures” is led by Professor Dr. Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly (Oxford). The other principal investigators in the research group are: Professor Svante Norrhem (Umea), PD Dr. Almut Bues (Warschau) and Dr. Jill Bepler (Wolfenbüttel). The project also includes a post-doc researcher in both the UK and Sweden and a doctoral student in Wolfenbüttel and Warsaw. The research group examines case studies of the cultural transfer associated with dynastic marriages in Europe, primarily Northern Europe, in the early modern period. This work includes research on material objects and collections and the group is working closely with experts from museums and libraries. In the course of the project exhibitions and programmes for schools will make new findings accessible to a broader public.

The main Wolfenbüttel project concentrates on books: The history of European dynastic libraries has mainly been written from the perspective of collections handed down in male succession. There was however a large movement of books (and thus cultural transfer) set in motion by the politics of dynastic marriages which spanned the whole of Europe. Taking case studies of German princesses who married abroad, the project tries to trace books which travelled with young princesses when they married, look at the composition of their book collections in their new homes and see what patterns of inheritance meant for the movement of books. The doctoral student Maria Skiba who works in Wolfenbüttel will be supervised by Professor Dr. Susanne Rode-Breymann of the Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien in Hannover. The dissertation topic will be concerned with the consort and cultural transfer in the realm of music. In the final year of the project the PhD student has the opportunity to organize a concert at the HAB based on music that forms part of her findings.

Marrying Cultures Website

HERA brochure 2013 (PDF)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 291827. The project "Marrying Cultures" is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme ( which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, BMBF via PT-DLR, DASTI, ETAG, FCT, FNR, FNRS, FWF, FWO, HAZU, IRC, LMT, MHEST, NWO, NCN, RANNÍS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme.

Funding: HERA Joint Research Programme "Cultural encounters"
Duration: October 2013 – September 2016 (still in progress; compilation of edited volume)
Researcher: Dr. Jill Bepler
Phone: +49(0)5331-808-208, Fax -266