The great monarchs of Europe


The great monarchs of Europe

Nobility and the dynasties of the European continent

This course is a history of Europe stretching from the Middle Ages to the present and is based on the reign of ten famous monarchs. Not only do we deal with these monarchs in chronological order, but we also pay attention to the time and country in which they lived.

We begin with the most famous medieval monarch, Charlemagne, who ruled during the ‘early Middle Ages’. You will learn which areas he conquered and what the consequences were for the rest of Europe. After Charlemagne , we’ll cover another great Charles: Charles V. This sovereign was of great influence for the development of the Low Countries, but also elsewhere in Europe. Charles V has left a legacy that is visible to this very day. During the third lesson you will learn about his main opponent, the French King Francis I. Charles and Francis fought each other ferociously, but also behaved like colleagues at crucial moments in European history. The fourth lesson brings you the British Queen Elizabeth I. She  was very influential and known for the greatest British maritime victory ever, the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The fifth lesson is about the greatest of all French kings – Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’. Not only did he play an exceptional role in the political sphere – his amorous adventures will impress you as well! We’ll deal with the greatest Russian leader ever during the sixth lesson; Peter the Great was the most influential Russian emperor in European history. In lesson seven, the Prussian king Frederick the Great is treated with respect. What made him such a very capable leader? Why are the Germans still proud of him? … and why was Maria Theresa – the sovereign we deal with in the eighth lesson – not fond of him? That of course has to do with the fact that she lost a lot of territory to him – and also to Louis XIV. Yet she managed to overcome the problems that these gentlemen posed in a brilliant manner! If this empress has not made enough of an impression on you, we’ll cover one that definitely will – one who has earned the nickname ‘The grandmother of Europe’. …and rightly so!; Queen Victoria – put on  a pedestal in the ninth lesson – developed a clever ‘marriage policy’ on the European continent and through her eventually almost all European dynasties are related. During the tenth and final class we discuss not one sovereign, but a whole dynasty – the Orange –Nassau family!

All classes are a combination of the personal life of a monarch and the developments in their various European home countries during their reign. The ‘greatest’ states in European history will be covered: Spain, France, England, Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary.



This course consists of ten lectures that are given every Friday from 10 AM to 12 PM at the ‘De Roos’-teahouse on P.C. Hooftstraat 183 (right inside the Vondelpark on your left hand). The course starts on Friday January 29th 2016 and ends on Friday April 15th 2016. On Friday February 26th and on Friday March 25th there will be no lectures.

A free digital syllabus is available shortly before the start of the course. You can also order a printed version of the syllabus for € 10,95 (including shipping). This printed version will be sent to you by mail shortly before the first day of the course.

Price: € 225,-

Click here to book this course.