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Dr. M.J. (Moritz) Föllmer

Modern History
Faculty of Humanities
Photographer: Maike Raap

Visiting address
  • Kloveniersburgwal 48
  • Room number: D 0.03
Postal address
  • Postbus 1610
    1000 BP Amsterdam
  • Profile

    Biography and research interests


    I studied history, philosophy and constitutional law at the universities of Bonn, Göttingen and Paris-Sorbonne. After completing my PhD at the Humboldt University Berlin, I was Wissenschaftlicher Assistent at the same institution, Feodor Lynen Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Chicago, and Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds. I joined the University of Amsterdam in September 2011 as Associate Professor of Modern History (UHD Nieuwste Geschiedenis). In the spring of 2021, I was an Alumnus Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg. in the autumn of 2023, I held a joint fellowship of the FZH and the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study. 

    The basis for my subsequent research is a monograph entitled Individuality and Modernity in Berlin: Self and Society from Weimar to the Wall, which has been published with Cambridge University Press. It traces the history of individuality in Berlin from the late 1920s to the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. I contend that the demand to be recognised as an individual was central to metropolitan society, as were the spectres of risk, isolation and loss of agency. This was true under all five regimes of the period, through economic depression, war, occupation and reconstruction. The quest for individuality could put democracy under pressure, as in the Weimar years, and it could be satisfied by a dictatorship, as was the case in the Third Reich. Liberal democracy only prevailed in the course of the 1950s, when it was able to offer superior opportunities for consumerism.

    The book stemmed from a long-term preoccupation with the history of individuality and collectivity, of urban modernity, and of twentieth-century Germany in a European perspective. In this vein, I have also published a first monograph on elites and nationalism in Germany and France, 1900-1930 and (co-)edited books on interpersonal communication in modern Germany, on the theme of 'crisis' in the Weimar Republic, and on the relationship between historiography, literature and the arts. Moreover, I have authored a number of articles and book reviews on German history from the turn of the century to the 1950s and, to a lesser extent, on twentieth-century France and Europe.

    These interests have taken my research in two broad directions.

    First, I continue to study Weimar and Nazi Germany, with an emphasis on subjectivity and individuality but also on broader interpretative issues. A book on culture in the Third Reich appeared with C.H. Beck and has subsequently been translated into Hungarian and English. It was favourably reviewed by several German and Anglophone media and received a Geisteswissenschaften International distinction. In contrast to earlier accounts, this narrative synthesis discusses völkisch, bourgeois and popular strands; pays due attention to politics, especially the exclusion, persecution and murder of Jews; gives equal weight to the pre-war and the wartime years; and places German culture in its transnational contexts. Related short pieces explore the conventional character of most culture in the Third Reich, the fluid boundary between 'German' and 'Nazi' and antifascism. Other current interests include the revolution of 1918/19, the cultural history of capitalism, and commonalities and relations between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

    Second, I am historicising key dimensions of modernity, namely individuality and urbanity, in the context of twentieth-century (Western) Europe. In this vein, I have organised a series of workshops and edited a theme issue on the urban history of Europe since 1945 together with Mark B. Smith, a Russian historian at the University of Cambridge, and written on choice, on governance and on brutalist architecture in various cities. I have also published on leadership in the interwar period and, in a more essayistic vein, on the relationship between the history of individuality and present-day politics (in English, German and Dutch). Over the last couple of years, I have worked on a book entitled The Quest for Individual Freedom: A Twentieth-Century European History, which will appear with Cambridge University Press in September 2024. 

    I was a founding member of the Arbeitskreis Geschichte und Theorie and the review editor of German History. Presently, I sit on the advisory board of the Reich President Friedrich Ebert Memorial Foundation in Heidelberg, the editorial board of Moderne Stadtgeschichte and the international advisory board of the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. I am also a member of the Amsterdam Centre for Urban History and the vice-director of the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies. Beyond my activities within the profession, I occasionally address a wider public by giving interviews, introducing film screenings, lecturing or participating in forum debates.

    Too access a selection of my publications see

    or click on 'publicaties'.





    "Ein Leben wie im Traum": Kultur im Dritten Reich (Munich, C.H. Beck, 2016)

               A Harmadik Birodalom Kultúrtörténete (Budapest: Corvina, 2018)

              Culture in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)

    Individuality and Modernity in Berlin: Self and Society from Weimar to the Wall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013; paperback edition 2015)

    Die Verteidigung der bürgerlichen Nation: Industrielle und hohe Beamte in Deutschland und Frankreich 1900-1930 (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2002)


    (Co-)edited volumes and special issues

    Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany (with Pamela E. Swett) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022)

    Urban Societies since 1945 (with Mark B. Smith), special issue of Contemporary European History, 24 (2015)

    Die Kunst der Geschichte: Historiographie, Ästhetik, Erzählung (with Martin Baumeister and Philipp Müller) (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009)

    Die "Krise" der Weimarer Republik: Zur Kritik eines Deutungsmusters (with Rüdiger Graf), (Frankfurt, Campus, 2005)

    Sehnsucht nach Nähe: Interpersonale Kommunikation in Deutschland seit dem 19. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, Franz Steiner, 2004)


    Articles and book chapters

    'Das Problem der Regierbarkeit Hamburgs von den 1970er zu den 1990er Jahren', Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg 2021, 35-57

    'Capitalism and Agency in Interwar Germany', in Moritz Föllmer and Pamela E. Swett (eds.), Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 31-57

    'Introduction: Historicizing Capitalism in Germany, 1918-1945' (with Pamela E. Swett), in Moritz Föllmer and Pamela E. Swett (eds.), Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 1-27

    The Middle Classes,' in Nadine Rossol and Benjamin Ziemann (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022), 454-474

             'Die bürgerlichen Mittelschichten', in Nadine Rossol and Benjamin Ziemann (eds.), Aufbruch und Abgründe: Das Handbuch der Weimarer Republik (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2021), 516-537

    'Le aspirazioni all'autonomia individuale', in Christoph Cornelissen and Gabriele D'Ottavia (eds.), La Repubblica di Weimar: democrazia e modernità (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2021), 173-190

    ‘Urban Individuality and Urban Governance in Twentieth-Century Europe’, in Simon Gunn and Tom Hulme (eds.), Powers of the City: New Approaches to Governance and Rule in Urban Europe Since 1500 (New York: Routledge, 2020), 235-253

    'The Sociology of Individuality and the History of Urban Society', Urban History, 47 (2020), 311-326

    ‘The Unscripted Revolution: Male Subjectivities in Germany, 1918/19’, Past & Present, 241 (August 2018), 161-192

    ‘Hochkultur im Krieg’, in Norbert Frei (ed.), Wie bürgerlich war der Nationalsozialismus? (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2018), 206-220

    ‘Cities of Choice: Elective Affinities and the Transformation of Western European Urbanity from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s’, Contemporary European History, 24 (2015), 577-596

    ‘Urban Societies in Europe since 1945: Toward a Historical Interpretation’ (with Mark B. Smith), Contemporary European History, 24 (2015), 475-491

    ‘Führung und Demokratie in Europa’, in Tim B. Müller and Adam Tooze (eds.), Normalität und Fragilität: Demokratie nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg (Hamburg, 2015), 177-197

    ‘Leadership in Modern Times: Reflections on Yves Cohen’s Le siècle des chefs, History, Culture and Modernity, 2 (2014), 65-81

    Volksgemeinschaft zwischen Bedeutungsvielfalt und Homogenitätsanspruch’, Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 62 (2014), 452-459

    'The Subjective Dimension of Nazism', Historical Journal, 56 (2013), pp. 1107-1132

    'Wie kollektivistisch war der Nationalsozialismus? Zur Geschichte der Individualität zwischen Weimarer Republik und Nachkriegszeit', in Birte Kundrus and Sybille Steinbacher (eds.), Kontinuitäten und Diskontinuitäten: Der Nationalsozialismus in der Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts (Göttingen, 2013), Beiträge zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus, 29, 30-52

    'Which Crisis? Which Modernity? New Perspectives on Weimar Germany', in Jochen Hung, Godela Weiss-Sussex and Geoff Wilkes (eds.), Beyond Glitter and Doom: The Contingency of the Weimar Republic (Munich, 2012), 19-30

    'Nationalismus, Konsum und politische Kultur im Europa der Zwischenkriegszeit', Neue Politische Literatur, 56 (2011), 427-453

    'Was Nazism Collectivistic? Redefining the Individual in Berlin, 1930-1945',  Journal of Modern History, 82 (2010), 61-100

    'Jenseits der Liberalisierungsthese: Individualität in Westberlin zwischen Kriegsende und Mauerbau', Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, 58 (2010), 134-155

    'Suicide and Crisis in Weimar Berlin', Central European History, 42 (2009), 195-221

    'Kapitalismus und Geschlecht in Zeitromanen um 1930', in Martin Baumeister, Moritz Föllmer and Philipp Müller (eds.), Die Kunst der Geschichte: Historiographie, Ästhetik, Erzählung (Göttingen, 2009), 349-371

    'Surveillance reports', in Miriam Dobson and Benjamin Ziemann (eds.), Reading Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from 19th and 20th Century History (London, 2008), 74-89

    'Senior Civil Servants and Nationalism in Germany, 1900-1933', in: Peter Becker and Rüdiger von Krosigk (eds.), Figures of Authority: Contributions towards a Cultural History of Governance from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (Brussels, 2008), 263-284

    'Modernität im Frankreich des 20. Jahrhunderts: Sozial- und kulturhistorische Forschungen', Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, 47 (2007), 405-435

    'Die Berliner Boulevardpresse und die Politik der Individualität in der Zwischenkriegszeit', in: Wolfgang Hardtwig (ed.), Ordnungen in der Krise: Zur politischen Kulturgeschichte Deutschlands 1900-1933 (Munich, 2007), 293-326

    'Grenzen und urbane Modernität - Überlegungen zu einer Gesellschaftsgeschichte städtischer Interaktionsräume' (with Habbo Knoch), in Karsten Borgmann, Matthias Bruhn, Sven Kuhran and Marc Schalenberg (eds.), Das Ende der Urbanisierung? Wandelnde Perspektiven auf die Stadt, ihre Geschichte und Erforschung (Berlin, 2006), 85-99

    'Les hauts fonctionnaires et la construction de la nation: Une comparaison entre la France et la Prusse de 1900 aux années 1920', in Alain Chatriot and Dieter Gosewinkel (eds.), Figurationen des Staates in Deutschland und Frankreich/Figures de l'État en Allemagne et en France 1870-1945 (Munich, 2006), 33-56

    'Ideen als Weichensteller? Polyvalenz, Aneignung und Homogenitätsstreben im deutschen Nationalismus 1890-1933' (with Andrea Meissner), in Lutz Raphael and Heinz-Elmar Tenorth (eds.), Ideen als gesellschaftliche Gestaltungskraft im Europa der Neuzeit: Beiträge für eine neue Geistesgeschichte (Munich, 2006), 313-336

    'The Problem of National Solidarity in Interwar Germany', German History, 23 (2005), 202-231

    'Auf der Suche nach dem eigenen Leben: Junge Frauen und Individualität in der Weimarer Republik', in Moritz Föllmer and Rüdiger Graf (eds.), Die "Krise" der Weimarer Republik: Zur Kritik eines Deutungsmusters (Frankfurt, 2005), 287-317

    'Einleitung: Die Kultur der Krise in der Weimarer Republik' (with Rüdiger Graf and Per Leo), in: Moritz Föllmer and Rüdiger Graf (eds.), Die "Krise" der Weimarer Republik: Zur Kritik eines Deutungsmusters (Frankfurt, 2005), 9-41

    'Das Appartement', in Alexa Geisthövel and Habbo Knoch (eds.), Orte der Moderne: Erfahrungswelten des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt, 2005), 325-334

    '"Good-bye diesem verfluchten Leben": Kommunikationskrise und Selbstmord in der Weimarer Republik', in Moritz Föllmer (ed.), Sehnsucht nach Nähe: Interpersonale Kommunikation in Deutschland seit dem 19. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, 2004), 109-125

    'Einleitung: Interpersonale Kommunikation und Moderne in Deutschland', in Moritz Föllmer (ed.), Sehnsucht nach Nähe: Interpersonale Kommunikation in Deutschland seit dem 19. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, 2004), 9-44

    'Der Feind im Salon: Eliten, Besatzung und nationale Identität in Nordfrankreich und Westdeutschland 1914-1930', Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift, 61 (2002), 1-24

    'Machtverlust und utopische Kompensation: Hohe Beamte und Nationalismus im Ersten Weltkrieg', Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, 49 (2001), 581-598

    'Der "kranke Volkskörper": Industrielle, hohe Beamte und der Diskursdernationalen Regeneration in der Weimarer Republik', Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 27 (2001), 41-67

    'Die fragile "Volksgemeinschaft": Industrielle, hohe Beamte und das Problem der nationalen Solidarität in der Weimarer Republik', Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung, 6 (2000), 281-298

  • Publications


    • Föllmer, M. (2022). Capitalism and Agency in Interwar Germany. In M. Föllmer, & P. E. Swett (Eds.), Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany (pp. 31-57). (Publications of the German Historical Institute). Cambridge University Press. Advance online publication. [details]
    • Föllmer, M., & Swett, P. E. (2022). Introduction: Historicizing Capitalism in Germany, 1918-1945. In M. Föllmer, & P. E. Swett (Eds.), Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany (pp. 1-27). (Publications of the German Historical Institute). Cambridge University Press. Advance online publication. [details]
    • Föllmer, M., & Swett, P. E. (Eds.) (2022). Reshaping Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany. (Publications of the German Historical Institute). Cambridge University Press. [details]





    • Föllmer, M. (2016). 'Ein Leben wie im Traum': Kultur im Dritten Reich. München: C.H. Beck. [details]





    • Föllmer, M. (2012). Which crisis? Which modernity? New perspectives on Weimar Germany. In J. Hung, G. Weiss-Sussex, & G. Wilkes (Eds.), Beyond glitter and doom: the contingency of the Weimar Republic (pp. 19-30). (Publications of the Institute of Germanic Studies, University of London; Vol. 98). Iudicium. [details]







    • Föllmer, M. (2018). Hochkultur im Krieg. In N. Frei (Ed.), Wie bürgerlich war der Nationalsozialismus? (pp. 206-221). (Jena Center. Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Vorträge und Kolloquien; Vol. 22). Wallstein Verlag. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2018). [Review of: N.B. Strote (2017) Lions and Lambs: Conflict in Weimar and the Creation of Post-Nazi Germany]. Journal of Modern History, 90(4), 978-979. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2018). [Review of: P.-M. Rabe (2017) Die Stadt und das Geld : Haushalt und Herrschaft im nationalsozialistischen München]. VSWG. Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 105(3), 464-465. [details]



    • Föllmer, M. (2016). Dekonstruktion vs. Rekonstruktion: [Rezension von: I. Crăciun (2015) Die Dekonstruktion des Bürgerlichen im Stummfilm der Weimarer Republik]. Neue Politische Literatur, 61(3), 503. [details]




    • Föllmer, M. (2016). Gewalt in Demokratien der Zwischenkriegszeit [Review of: C. Millington, K. Passmore (2015) Political Violence and Democracy in Western Europe, 1918–1940]. Neue Politische Literatur, 61(1), 134-135. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2016). [Review of: M. Black, E. Kurlander (2015) Revisiting the ‘Nazi Occult’: Histories, Realities, Legacies]. German History, 34(2), 345-346. [details]



    • Föllmer, M. (2014). [Review of: G. Brockhaus (2014) Attraktion der NS-Bewegung]. Neue Politische Literatur, 59(2), 318-320. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2014). [Review of: M. Metzger (2013) Bewältigung, Auswirkungen und Nachwirkungen des Bombenkrieges in Berlin und London 1940-1955: Zerstörung und Wiederaufbau zweier europäischer Hauptstädte]. H-Soz-u-Kult, Article 20492. [details]


    • Föllmer, M. (2013). Fliegen für den Faschismus [Review of: F. Esposito (2011) Mythische Moderne: Aviatik, Faschismus und die Sehnsucht nach Ordnung in Deutschland und Italien]. Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte, 7(1), 126-127. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2013). Linguistik des Nationalsozialismus [Review of: H.D. Schlosser (2013) Sprache unterm Hakenkreuz: eine andere Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus]. Neue Politische Literatur, 58(3), 498-499. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2013). [Review of: R. Bergien (2012) Die bellizistische Republik: Wehrkonsens und "Wehrhaftmachung" in Deutschland 1918-1933]. American Historical review, 118(2), 605-606. [details]
    • Föllmer, M. (2013). [Review of: U. Saekel (2011) Der US-Film in der Weimarer Republik - ein Medium der 'Amerikanisierung'? Deutsche Filmwirtschaf, Kulturpolitik und mediale Globalisierung im Fokus transatlantischer Interessen]. English Historical Review, 128(533), 1007-1008. [details]


    • Föllmer, M. (2012). [Review of: D. Fulda, D. Herzog, S.-L. Hoffmann, T. van Rahden (2010) Demokratie im Schatten der Gewalt: Geschichten des Privaten im deutschen Nachkrieg]. Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, 52, Article 81313. [details]


    • Föllmer, M. J. (2021). The Quest for Individual Autonomy in Weimar Germany. Paper presented at German Studies Association Annual Conference 2021, Indiana, United States.


    • Föllmer, M. J. (2019). Ansprüche auf individuelle Autonomie in der Weimarer Republik. Paper presented at Weimar: Modernità e democrazia/Modernität und Demokratie in Europa (1919-1933), Trento, Italy.


    • Föllmer, M. J. (2018). Cultures of Capitalism in Weimar and Nazi Germany. Paper presented at German History Society, Annual Conference, Leicester, United Kingdom.

    Journal editor

    • Föllmer, M. (editor) (2019-2023). Informationen zur modernen Stadtgeschichte (Journal).

    Talk / presentation

    • Föllmer, M. (speaker) (15-9-2017). Auf der Suche nach dem revolutionären Subjekt: Deutschland 1918/19, Graduiertenkolleg „Kommunismus als Weltgeschichte: Historiografische und aktuelle Perspektiven“, Duitslandinstituut Amsterdam7.
    • Föllmer, M. (speaker) (9-6-2017). Reflections on Culture in the Third REich, Politicising the Social and Cultural in the Histories of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Cambridge.
    • Föllmer, M. (speaker) (13-12-2016). Participant in Final Round Table, The De-industrialising City, London.


    • Föllmer, M. (examiner) (13-1-2017). The Commune Movement during the 1960s and 1970s in Britain, Denmark and the United States (examination).
    • Föllmer, M. (examiner) (16-12-2016). Democrats into Nazis? The Radicalisation of the Bürgertum in Hof-an-der-Saale, 1918-1924 (examination).
    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
    • Oxford University Press
      Review Editor German History