Maarten van Rossem

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prof. dr.

Maarten van Rossem
Maarten van Rossem
Van Rossem in 2013
Born (1943-10-24) 24 October 1943 (age 75)
Zeist, Netherlands
ResidenceUtrecht, Netherlands
Educationdrs., PhD[1]
Alma materUtrecht University
Occupationhistorian, writer, presenter
Years active1984–present
Notable work
De Verenigde Staten in de Twintigste Eeuw (1984)
Home townWageningen, Netherlands
Van Rossem in America (2009)
Maliebaan in Beweging (2010)
Maarten for President (2012)
Van Rossem Vertelt (2012)
Hier zijn de Van Rossems (2015)
Frequent guest
Pauw & Witteman
De Wereld Draait Door[1]
De Laatste Show (2009)[2]
De Slimste Mens (2012-)[3]
Political partyLabour Party
AwardsDutch historian of the year 2003, 2010, and 2011[4] Republican of the year 2016[5]
WebsiteMaarten Online
Maarten van Rossem signature.svg

Maarten van Rossem (born 24 October 1943) is a Dutch historian. He specializes in the history and politics of the United States. As an expert on America, he is a frequent guest on television political talk shows. His public career started when he was asked to comment on the 1984 vice presidential elections.[1] He still makes regular TV appearances and gives frequent public lectures.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1943 in Zeist, Van Rossem grew up in Wageningen (Netherlands). In his youth he became fascinated with the United States through a visit from his three American cousins. When they came to visit his parents, they each had their own photo camera with them. This led him to think all Americans were rich.[1]

He attended the grammar school in Wageningen, graduating in the exact sciences. Initially he studied pharmacy at Utrecht University, because of his high marks for chemistry. Because he disliked the subject, he secretly switched to studying history. His family opposed this decision, stating that this would only lead to unemployment.[1]

As a student in the 1960s, he was expected to be leftist and radical, but he chose not to go in that direction. He thought it would be very unlikely that there would be a revolutionary revolt against capitalism. Despite being brought up in a liberal environment, he joined the Labour Party in 1967.[1]

He continued to be intrigued by the United States, collecting newspaper clippings on Martin Luther King, president Kennedy and the Chicago riots.

After eight years he graduated cum laude. He wrote his senior thesis about the historiography of the Cold War with Hermann von der Dunk as his thesis advisor. Through his thesis he discovered the joy of writing: "You can say that at that point I became a historian".[1]

His PhD thesis on the Partisan Review was also counseled by Von der Dunk, who allowed him to change the subject twice. It took him 12 years to finish it.


In 1984, he published his best selling book The United States in the 20th century (Dutch title: De Verenigde Staten in de Twintigste Eeuw). Due to the acclaim and success of the book, he became a regular guest on various Dutch television channels to comment on American presidential elections. Since then he is often asked to speak at events concerning Dutch-American relations.

In 1996, he became a tenured professor occupying the endowed chair of modern history at the Utrecht University. This appointment allowed him to speak on a wider range of subjects. He was forced to retire from this position in 2008, in order to comply with the law as he had reached Dutch retirement age at the time. He derided this action, saying "Yesterday I had a normal working day; today my activities are seen as nothing more than occupational therapy for the elderly, focused on stimulating the brain, in order to prevent its precipitate decline after receiving the first state pension cheque", he said on his first day of retirement.[6] He continues to give public lectures all around the country.[7]

The first issue of his own magazine, the Maarten!, was published in the summer of 2008. Initially a one time addition to the Historic Newspaper (Dutch: Historisch Nieuwsblad), the glossy magazine has since grown into its own, circulating on a bimonthly basis. Even though the format parodies personality magazines like Oprah Magazine, its content is serious, running editorials on current events and putting them against a historic background.[8]

In the summer of 2012 he toured the United States in preparation of a documentary series on the 2012 presidential elections.[9] During the 2012 Dutch general elections he was a "lijstduwer" for the Labour Party,[10] which earned them 5.929 votes, ranking him the 16th most popular candidate.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Maarten van Rossem: een kleine biografie" (in Dutch). Historisch Nieuwsblad. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Historicus van het jaar elke week in 'De laatste show'" (in Dutch). De Standaard. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  3. ^ "De Slimste Mens: kennisquiz met Philip Freriks en Maarten van Rossem" (in Dutch). NCRV. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Lezers: Van Rossem is Historicus van het Jaar" (in Dutch). Historisch Nieuwsblad. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Foto's van Maarten van Rossem als Republikein van het Jaar". 13 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Maarten van Rossem blogt: "Op mijn eerste pensioendag kwam P+W goed uit"" (in Dutch). VARA. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Agenda" (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Maarten van Rossem-glossy krijgt vervolg" (in Dutch). Historisch Nieuwsblad. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  9. ^ Natalie Morris (16 July 2012). "Springfield once again a media darling". The State Journal-Register. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Maarten van Rossem lijstduwer PvdA" (in Dutch). Trouw. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Kerngegevens 2012" (pdf) (in Dutch). Kiesraad. Retrieved 20 September 2012.