Dr. Krijn Thijs
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

Dr. Krijn Thijs
© Kim Krijnen
Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam
Oude Hoogstraat 24
1012 CE Amsterdam

Postbus 1628
1000 BP Amsterdam
+31(0)20 - 5255394

Krijn Thijs (Amsterdam, 1976) is senior staff member at the Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam (German Studies Center) at the University of Amsterdam. He studied history in Amsterdam and Berlin and wrote his dissertation as a guest researcher at the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam. In 2006, he obtained his PhD from the Free University Amsterdam. In his dissertation, he compares Berlin narratives and the city’s anniversary celebrations in the Third Reich, the DDR and West-Berlin (Title: Drei Geschichten, eine Stadt. Die Berliner Stadtjubiläen von 1937 und 1987, Boehlau Verlag 2008). The book was awarded a Study Prize of the Stiftung Praemium Erasmianum. In 2012, Krijn Thijs was the curator of the open-air historical exhibition “Party, Pomp und Propaganda”, organized by Kulturprojekte Berlin, as part of the 775th anniversary celebrations. Currently, he contributes to the Berlin exhibition in the future Humboldt Forum.

Thijs has published widely about the contemporary history of Berlin and Germany, with an emphasis on political cultures, collective memories and professional history writing in the twentieth century. Furthermore, his research interests include the unification of East and West German historiography after 1990 and the experiences of German Wehrmacht soldiers in Western Europe 1940-1945 (see below).

As a long-standing staff member of the Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam, Thijs has acquired a lot of experience in organizing and leading academic events, such as conferences, workshops and public lectures. He regularly appears in Dutch media to comment on developments in Germany. Thijs teaches at the University of Amsterdam.

Krijn Thijs was a member of the Konzeptteam for the Berlin Exhibition at the Humboldt Forum. The Präsentationspapier can be viewed online.

 Personal page UvA

Krijn Thijs’ research interests include three different topics in modern German history. First of all, he studies Berlin urban history in the 20th Century. Following the lines of research of his PhD and a postdoc research project at Leiden University (2006-2009), his publications revolve around the interplay between political ruptures, the imagination of the city and the presence of the past in the ‘age of extremes’. Recent output:

  • Kuratorenteam Berlin-Ausstellung im Humboldtforum (Kulturprojekte Berlin)
  • West-Berliner Visionen für eine neue Mitte. Die Internationale Bauausstellung, der »Zentrale Bereich« und die »Geschichtslandschaft« an der Mauer (1981–1985), in: Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History, Online-Ausgabe, 11 (2014), H. 2, URL: http://www.zeithistorische-forschungen.de/2-2014/id=5097, Druckausgabe: S. 235-261.
  • Party, Pomp und Propaganda. Die Berliner Stadtjubiläen 1937 und 1987 (Berlin: Nicolai Verlag 2012)
  • “Entfernter Erfahrungsraum. Überlegungen zu West-Berlin und 1989”, Eurostudia.
    Revue transatlantique de recherche sur l’Europe 7 (2011) 1-2, 29-46. [PDF].


In a new research project, Krijn Thijs aims to enhance our understanding of the unification of East and West German historiography after the dissolution of the GDR 1989/90. The project reframes the classical distinction between scholarship and biography and focusses on direct, personal encounters and practices during the years of revolution. The study will develop new understandings, especially of the evaluations and ‘Abwicklungen’, and on the controversies surrounding them. Center stage is the interplay between personal and professional believes amongst both East and West German historians: what were their ambitions, their hopes and fears during unification? In 2015, Thijs was Leibniz Summer Fellow at the ZZF Potsdam to conduct research on this topic. In 2016, he receives a grant of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung to write a monography. Recent output:

  • Die Dreiecksbeziehungen der Fachhistoriker. Über den Umbruch in der ostdeutschen Geschichtswissenschaft, in: Die Hochschule (2015), S. 101-185 [PDF]
  • Gebrochene Geschichte. Lebenserfahrung und Historikerbegegnungen nach 1989, in: Franka Maubach und Christina Morina (Hrsg.), Das 20. Jahrhundert erzählen: Zeiterfahrung und Zeiterforschung im geteilten Deutschland (Göttingen: Wallstein 2016, forthcoming)
  • Leibniz Summer Fellowship 2015 am ZZF Potsdam


A third research project of Krijn Thijs discusses the personal experiences and memories of German Wehrmacht soldiers serving in the Nazi occupied Netherlands (1940-1945). The project builds on historical research on everyday life during World War II in Germany and the Netherlands, and stresses the importance of encounters, transfers, border crossings and ‘people on the move’ during the wartime years of conflict and oppression. As a case study, Thijs studies the largely unknown history of German soldiers in the Netherlands, collecting their private letters and photographs, reconstructing their opinions and their behavior, tracing the paperwork of their local offices and reflecting their position as rulers of a periphery Dutch province of the Nazi Empire. Recent output:

  • Conference 'Occupied Societies in Western Europe. Conflict and Encounter in the 20th Century', KWI Essen (7-8 July 2016)
  • Conference 'Probing the Limits of Representation. The "Bystander" in Holocaust History' (Amsterdam, 24-26 September 2015)
  • Duitse veldpostbrieven uit ‘Holland’. Hypothesen en bronnen over de ervaringen van Wehrmachtsoldaten, in: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 127 (2014), 3 [PDF]
  • Een verloren postzak achter het front. Stemmen van de laatste Duitse verdedigingstroepen in maart 1945, in: Roy Stoots e.a. (ed.), Wychen in de oorlog. Tentoonstelling (Nijmegen 2014) [PDF]
  • Workshop “Alltag am Atlantikwall. Erfahrungen und Begegnungen der Wehrmacht in Nordwesteuropa“ (Amsterdam, Juni 2013)
  • ‚Die müssen ein bisschen aufgemöbelt werden, die Holländer.‘ Deutsche Feldpostbriefe aus den besetzten Niederlanden – eine Annäherung, in: K. Thijs/R. Haude (red.), Grenzfälle. Transfer und Konflikt zwischen Deutschland, Belgien und den Niederlanden im 20. Jahrhundert (Synchron: Heidelberg, 2013) p. 85-10 [PDF]
  • „Niederlande – schwarz, weiß, grau. Zeithistorische Debatten seit 2000“, in: Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, 03.06.2011.


Full list of publications [PDF]



  • February 17: 'Zwischen Katerstimmung und Neuorientierung: Der VHD und die Vereinigung der deutschen Geschichtswissenschaften in den 1990er Jahren'. Hosted by VHD. Online


  • December 24: 'Grote lijnen van de Duitse geschiedenis. Een gesprek met Krijn Thijs'. Hosted by De Nieuwe Wereld. Online
  • December 1: Book presentation & debate 'Duitsland 1918-1991' (hosted by DIA). Online

Krijn Thijs regularly comments in Dutch media on developments in Berlin and Germany. A selection:

January 24, 2016: Radio broadcast about the remake of the Berlin Kaufhaus des Westens

October 3, 2015: Television broadcast 25 Years after German Reunification

November 9, 2014: Television broadcast 25 Years after the Opening of the Berlin Wall

August 25, 2012: Television News Report on Thijs' exhibition 'Party, Pomp und Propaganda'


Berlijnse Crisis, aflevering 2001

Columns - 18 Juni 2001 - Autor: Krijn Thijs
Vroeger, toen Berlijn nog frontstad in de Koude Oorlog was, waren dat gevreesde conflicten met Russen en Amerikanen en dreigende Derde Wereldoorlogen. Wat te denken van de illustere Luchtbrug in 1948 (Berliner Krise nr. 1), het Chroestsjov-ultimatum van 1958 (Nr. 2) en van de bouw van de Muur in 1961 (crisis nr. 3)?

Cookies werden auf dieser Website verwendet. Gehen Sie damit einverstanden?
Akzeptieren Verweigern