School of Humanities

Gendered power in the Nassau family

Further information


This team project traces the dynamics of gendered power in the leading Dutch Protestant family Nassau-Orange, 1560–1812.

It investigates the representations of identity and the forms of authority that were open to the men and women of this important aristocratic family.

We will trace the role of women in the establishment of an extensive family and political network across Europe and the ways in which these women promoted the interest of their dynasty in cultural and political forms.

The project utilises archival, visual and material sources to explore the gendered pathways to obtaining and maintaining dynastic power. Special attention is given to the hierarchy of masculinities (governing, subordinated etcetera) and the various forms of authority women could exercise (as regents, widows, wives, mothers).



  • Van Gent, J. and Broomhall, S. 'Corresponding Affections: Emotional exchange among William the Silent’s children', Journal of Family History, April 2009, volume 34, issue 2, pp. 143-165
  • Van Gent, J. and Broomhall, S. 'In the name of the father: Conceptualising pater familias in the letters of Willem the Silent’s children', Renaissance Quarterly, Winter 2009, volume 62, issue 4, pp. 1130-1166.


Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, 'Gender, identity, power and elite family networks in the Nassau family: 1570-1650', with Winthrop Professor Susan Broomhall, Professor Michaela Hohksmp (Free University Berlin), Dr Susie Protschky (APD), value: $459.000 (2010-2013).