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Dr J. (Janna) Coomans

Post-doctoral researcher
Faculty of Humanities
Capaciteitsgroep Geschiedenis

Visiting address
  • Kloveniersburgwal 48
  • Room number: D.010
Postal address
  • Postbus 1610
    1000 BP Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile


    Janna Coomans is a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Medieval History. She defended her dissertation (cum laude), titled “In Pursuit of a Healthy City: Sanitation and the Common Good in the Late Medieval Low Countries”, in June 2018. Her current research project explores the practices of various agents to promote communal wellbeing in the late medieval urban Low Countries. It is part of the ERC-funded interdisciplinary project “Healthscaping Urban Europe”. Her main research interests are the history of (public) health; social and urban history and more theoretical explorations of spatiality and materiality; as well as gender, medicine, crime, and urban governance.



    Peer reviewed

    • “The King of Dirt: Public Health and Sanitation in Late Medieval Ghent,”  Urban History (published online 18 April 2018).
    • “Policing Female Food Vendors in the Late Medieval Netherlands,” Yearbook of Women’s History 36 (2017) , 97-113.
    • “On the Street and in the Bathhouse: Medieval Galenism in Action?” (co-author: G. Geltner), Anuario de Estudios Medievales 43 (2013), 53-82.

    Journal articles

    • “De middeleeuwse stad en zijn varkens” (co-author: F. Camphuijsen), Madoc 28 (2015), 140-149.
    • “Hoe vies waren de Middeleeuwen? Baden in een middeleeuwse stad,” Geschiedenis Magazine (2014, nr. 2), 45-49.
    • “Varkens van de werf: Stadsreiniging in laatmiddeleeuws Utrecht,” Tijdschrift Oud Utrecht 85 (2012), 60-66.


    •  “A Bibliography of Works on the History of Public Health in Pre-Industrial Societies” (with Guy Geltner), online publication, annually updated.
    •  Editor (with T. Smits and J.-J. Zurnée) of  Snelweg naar Rome: Een nieuwe generatie historici over het verleden (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2013).

    Conference papers and presentations (selection)

    • “Urban Redevelopment and Public Health in the Late Medieval Low Countries: The Production of The Meat Hall,” International Conference EAUH, Helsinki. Third place in conference essay contest.
    • “Sanitation and the neighborhood in the late Medieval Netherlands,” Centrum voor Stadsgeschiedenis, Universiteit Antwerpen.
    • “Urban Health and Fire Safety in the Late Medieval Low Countries.” Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo. Recipient of competitive travel grant.
    •  “Disease Prevention in late Medieval Leiden,” Prosecuting Environmental Offenders, Invitation Workshop, Amsterdam
    •  “Approaches to Public Health in Fourteenth-century Ghent.” Public Health Practices, Invitation Workshop, Villa I Tatti, Florence.



    • Crime in the Middle Ages: seminar (Geschiedenislab)
    • Introduction to medieval history: seminar (werkgroep)
    • BA thesis supervision
    • Guest lecturer: history of premodern health and hygiene



    Academia Premodern Healthscaping Website Linked In
  • Publications


    • Coomans, J. (2021). Community, Urban Health and Environment in the Late Medieval Low Countries. Cambridge University Press.



    • Coomans, J. (2019). ‘Food Offenders: Public Health and the Marketplace in the Late Medieval Low Countries. In Policing the Urban Environment in Premodern Europe (pp. 121-148). Amsterdam University Press.



    • Coomans, J. (2017). Policing Female Food Vendors in the Late Medieval Netherlands. Yearbook for Women’s History , 36, 97-113.



    • Hermenault, L. G. G. (Author), Coomans, J. (Author), & van Wissen, L. (Developer). (2021). Ghent: Medieval Public Health Measures viewer. Web publication/site


    • Camphuijsen, F., & Coomans, J. (2014). De middeleeuwse stad en zijn varkens. Madoc, 28(3), 140-148. [details]


    • Coomans, J. (2020). Praemium Erasmianum Dissertation Prize.


    • Hermenault, L. (participant) & Coomans, J. (participant) (9-7-2021). Matter into Place, Ghent. Title paper: "Water Infrastructures and Public Works as Key Elements of an Economy of Movement in Ghent (XIVth-XVth centuries)" (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Hermenault, L. (organiser), Coomans, J. (organiser) & Digard, L. (organiser) (9-7-2021). Matter into Place, Ghent (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No known ancillary activities