Personal pages

Ben Wubs PhD


Biographical Note

Year of Birth: 1961

Organisation: Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Room: L3-018

Phone: 010-4082516



Master’s (‘doctoraal’)

Utrecht University

February 1989

Economic and Social History


Erasmus University Rotterdam
March 2006


  • Prof. dr. G.G. Jones (Harvard Business School)
  • Prof. dr. H.A.M. Klemann (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Title thesis: Unilever between Reich and Empire. International Business and National War Interests.


Work experience since graduating:

  • 1988-2000       Schoonhovens College (pre-university education), Schoonhoven                   Economics and history teacher, co-ordinator vwo, deputy principal
  • 1999                Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), Amsterdam               Preliminary research (pilot in connection with PhD)
  • 2000-05           Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam, in collaboration with NIOD,
    Researcher (PhD)
  • 2004-05           Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University
  • 2005-08           Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University
    Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC), Utrecht
    Postdoc researcher
  • 2007-08           Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam                    Researcher pilot-project: Rotterdam and German Hinterland
  • 2008-2012             Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Erasmus Fellow: The Dutch Big Four and Germany: AKU, Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever and Philips, 1920-1960
  • 2012-               Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam


Scholarships and grants

  • 2007                Laureate EUR-fellowship
    Every year the Erasmus University Rotterdam awards EUR Fellowships to four highly talented young scientific researchers to allow them to conduct four years of research, to encourage their careers in science and enable the university to retain talented researchers.
  • 2009                Research grant German Historical Institute Moscow. Invited by the GHI to do research in the Special Military Archives in Moscow.
  • 2012                Fellowship Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Invited to write a joint publication (book and article) with Prof.dr.Takafumi Kurosawa (Kyoto University). The topic is Dutch and Swiss Multinationals: Political Risk in the Inter War Period.


NWO Proposals/subsidies

  • 2008                Together with Prof. dr. Hein Klemann Vrije Competitie: Outport and Hinterland Rotterdam Business and the Ruhr Industry, 1870-2000.(funded)
  • 2009                Veni Proposal: Dutch multinationals and Germany: Economic interdependence and international conflict, 1890-1960 (not funded, though elegible)


EU Proposals/subsidies

  • 2012                           HERA ‘Cultural Encounters’ proposal together with Richard Coopey (Aberystwyth University and London School of Economics), Regina Lee Blaszczyk (German Historical Institute-Washington and the University of Leeds), Véronique Pouillard (University of Oslo),  Barbara Townley (St. Andrews), Alan McKinlay (Heriot-Watt University): The Enterprise of Culture: International Structures and Connections in the Fashion Industry Since 1945 (under assessment).


Contract research

  • 2011                Subsidy for one PhD by the Rotterdam Port Authority Decision-making process re. Tweede Maasvlakte (213 K).


  • 1988-2000 Schoonhovens College
    Economics and history teacher (grade one havo, vwo).
  • 2004-05 Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University, lecturer:
  • 2004 History of the Short Twentieth Century
  • Introductory lectures first year students about Eric Hobsbawm's The Age of Extreme. The short Twentieth Century.
  • 2005 Total War. War, economy and society, 1914-1945.
  • This course aimed to give an image of the immense impact total war had on the lives of generations (mainly) Europeans and the everlasting meaning of these conflicts on today's world. This course has been set up by Ralf Futselaar and Ben Wubs.
  • 2009- Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Despite the fact than a EUR-Fellowship offers a full research grant for four years I was teaching (around 30 percent annually) in various courses at ESHCC:
  • 2009-10 Bachelor's: Onderzoekscollege Internationale Betrekkingen B: Relaties tussen Nederland en de Verenigde Staten van 1609-2009
    This course focuses on two periods: 1609 to 1782 and 1860 to 2009.
    Dutch-American relations are researched on four aspects, i.e. economic, political, social and cultural. The papers written for this course can eventually be extended into a bachelor thesis.
  • 2009- Academische Vaardigheden: Werkstuk
    Supervising first years students when they write an academic paper based on secondary literature.
  • 2009- Bachelor's elective: Business History
    This course, which originally has been set up by Klemann has been completely transformed by Wubs. It offers an introduction to this versatile and topical discipline. Its target is to learn about recent discussions in business history and the importance of these for economists, social scientists, and historians. It is popular with students from several departments at the Erasmus and exchange students. The course language is English.
  • 2009- Minor: Total War
    This course is part of larger minor War!. The minor consist of three parts, i.e. Early Modern Warfare, Total War, and Cold War, which are coordinated by Wubs. The course Total War is set up and developed by him. The aim of this course is to explore the rise and demise of a historical era of total war. Furthermore, it aims to investigate the unlimited scope of total war in which all available resources of belligerents nations were mobilized and little or no differentiation was made between soldiers and civilians. During this series social, economic, political, military, and technological aspects of total warfare will be explored. The course language is English.

Master's Research Workshop:

  • 2009- Nationalism and New Nation States
    The creation of Germany, resulting in a new central power on the continent and new tensions with France, and after a certain period also with Britain. Apart from new states, newly important states could result from economic developments. Prussia became a major power because it could absorb a number of smaller German states in the new Kaiserreich, transforming the new empire's Western provinces in an industrialized center of worldwide dimension. The tensions thus created between new and old European powers will be the central theme of this course. The course language is English.
  • 2010- Rise and Fall of the American Empire
    Both in military and economic terms the United States of America grew into the most powerful empire of the world during the twentieth century. Just like the British Empire a century ago, the United States endeavoured to bring free markets, the rule of law, and democracy to the rest of the world. However, at the beginning of the twentieth first century, America's military, political and economic power is seriously challenged. Rising economies like China and India threaten its economic position. Simultaneously, the American empire shows signs of military overstretch. This research workshop will explore the rise and possible fall of the American colossus in a historical context. It has been set up and developed by Wubs. The course language is English.
  • 2011- International Relations Theory
    The Oxford Handbook of International Relations (Oxford 2008) offers a comprehensive overview of the field of international relations theory. It debates the nature of the field itself, critically engages with the major theories, and examines the field's relation with other disciplines. This seminar studies and discusses selected articles of the Handbook which provides a critical introduction to the subject of international relations theory. In the second part of this seminar, the seminar explores how these theories could be usefully employed in historical research and how it may help to design a research proposal and to include theories of international relations in a master's thesis. The course is set up by De Goey and Wubs. The course language is English.
  • 2009- Since NWO research grant (Vrije Competitie) for our project:
    Outport and Hinterland supervision PhD students:
    a. Joep Schenk, Coal, Iron Ore and Steel Rotterdam Business and the German 'Montan' Industry, 1870-1940
    b. Marten Boon, Opting for Oil. Rotterdam's Oil Harbour and the Move from Coal to Petrochemical Feedstock of the Rhine Industry, 1945-1970.
    c. Klara Paardenkooper, The Box and Rotterdam's New interland.The Rise of Container Transport and Globalisation,1970-2000.
  • 2010 External PhD student Maritime Museum Rotterdam:
    Wouter Heyveld, A history of the Dutch Offshore Oil and Gas Industry (1960-2010).
  • 2011 PhD subsidised by the Rotterdam Port Authority:
    Dirk M. Koppenol, From Plan to Project: Decision-making Maasvlakte II (1969-2008).
  • 2009- Business History @ Erasmus. 
    On a three weekly basis a seminar is organized with international scholars. After this seminar a master class is organized by Wubs for PhD students at ESHCC and RSM.
  • PhD Committee:
    2011 Martijn Lak (ESHCC)
  • PhD supervision:
    2009-2013 Marten Boon,
    2009-2014 Klara Paardenkooper,
    2009-2014 Joep Schenk
    2011-2015 Wouter Heyveld
    2011-2015 Dirk Koppenol


  • 1990-00           Co-oordinator vwo, deputy principal 
  • 2005-08           Co-ordinator BINT (Bedrijfsleven in Nederland in de Twintigste Eeuw), an inter-universitary research program under the direction of Dr. Joost Dankers, Prof. dr. Keetie Sluyterman and Prof. dr. Jan Luiten van Zanden.
  • 2009-              Organiser Business History @ Erasmus together with Prof.dr. Abe de Jong (RSM). The aim of this platform is to unite researchers from the schools of History, Culture & Communication, Business, Economics, Social Sciences and Law in their endeavors to improve our academic knowledge in the field of business history and to incorporate insights from this field in teaching programmes. On a three weekly basis a seminar is organized with international scholars.
  • 2009-              Secretary of the Transnational Rhine Network, i.e. a collaborative network of economic, business and technology historians consisting of scholars from various universities in Germany (Bielefeld, Bochum and Frankfurt), France (Sorbonne, Lyon and Strasbourg), Switzerland (Basel), United Kingdom (London School of Economics and Coventry), Japan (Kyoto and Tokio), Denmark (Copenhagen Business School), the United States (Redlands) and the Netherlands (Erasmus University, TU Eindhoven, Leiden, TU Delft). In 2008, the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Goethe University Frankfurt took the initiative to form this network, which aims to study the long-term development of the transnational Rhine economy in the 1850-2000 period.
  • 2010-              Chair Educational Committee Posthumus Institute (research school social and economic history in the Netherlands).
  • 2010-              Board Stichting Bedrijfsgeschiedenis.
  • 2011-              Member of the Council of the European Business History Association (EBHA).
  • 2013-              Leergang Academisch Leiderschap 2013.