Dr Esther Mijers (PhD, FRHistS, FHEA)

Senior Lecturer in Scottish History


I was born in Arnhem, the Netherlands and did my first degree at the University of Groningen (after a year in France at Rennes II), before moving to Scotland to do my PhD at the University of St Andrews. I loved it so much that I simply never went back home. From 2003 until 2006, I was a post-doc at Aberdeen, before my first appointment at the University of Reading. I joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in 2014.

My PhD and first book, on Scotland and the Netherlands, was an attempt to redraft the boundaries of the Scottish enlightenment both chronologically (going back into the 17th century) and geographically (to include Scotland’s relationship with Europe).

In Aberdeen, I worked on a project on the Scots in the 17th century Atlantic and I have been working on Atlantic history ever since. I dislike inward-looking Anglo-centric history and I firmly believe that 17th century Scotland and England were European nations.

My current research project takes me back to Scotland, and aims to write a new intellectual and political biography of William Carstares, churchman, politician, exile and one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Scottish Enlightenment. He was a fascinating figure whose interests stretched across several countries and included church politics and education.

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Member of the AHRC Peer Review College
  • Series editor Politics and Culture in Europe, 1650-1750 (Ashgate)
  • Reviews Editor Dutch Crossing. A Journal of Low Countries Studies
  • Trustee and Treasurer Scottish Historical Review Trust
  • Scotland Rep and Board Member Dutch Academic Network in the UK

Undergraduate teaching

Year 1:

  • Historians Toolkit
  • The History of Edinburgh: From Din Eidyn to Festival City
  • Early Modern History: A Connected World

Year 2:

  • Introduction to Historiography
  • Themes in Scottish History

Year 3:

  • Improving the Nation. Change and Modernisation in Scotland 1660-1730

Year 4:

  • The Dutch Miracle: The United Provinces in the Golden Age

Postgraduate teaching


  • Theories of Empire
  • 'The Wisest Foll in Christendom': the Ideas and Writings of James VI & I

Current PhD students supervised

Name - Degree - Thesis topic - Supervision type - Link

  • Learmont, Alastair - PhD - The Scottish West Indian Planter Class in Distress 1775-1815 - Secondary - link
  • Loughlin, Clare - PhD - Anti-Catholicism in Scottish polemic, 1689-1760 - Primary -
  • Noble, Alastair - PhD - ‘That Barbarous Region’: Representations of the Highlands and the Construction of Scotland 1745-1760 - Primary

Research summary


  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Scotland


  • Comparative & Global History
  • Culture
  • Ideas
  • Migration
  • Politics


  • Early Modern
  • Eighteenth Century

Research interests

Broadly speaking, my main interests are in seventeenth century Britain and the wider world. I am especially interested in Scottish history, the Republic of Letters and the early Enlightenment and the wider European and British Atlantic.

My current research focuses on William Carstares and the roots of Scottish moderatism. I also have an on-going interest in the participation of non-English, European and non-national groups in the north-American Atlantic and the Caribbean.

Watch a short video of Dr Mijers speaking about her research interests - Media Hopper

Current research activities

William Carstares. A Political and Intellectual Biography This project will research the career of the Rev. William Carstares, one of King William III's most important advisors on Scottish ecclesiastical and political affairs, and write his long overdue biography, taking into account the Scottish, Dutch, and English aspects of his career.

Europeanising the 'British' Atlantic This project aims to address the concept of the 'British' Atlantic in the seventeenth century. It is concerned with (1) the Europeanisation of the Atlantic, in particular the role played by (i) British, or Scottish, as opposed to English; (ii) European; (iii) non-national groups, and (2) the importance of the Caribbean and Central America as an area of European competititon regarding ideas and practices of empire.

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Esther Mijers.

Books - Authored

Mijers, E. (2012) ?News from the Republick of Letters?: Scottish students, Charles Mackie and the United Provinces, 1650-1750. Leiden: Brill

Books - Edited

van Gelder, M. and Mijers, E. (eds.) (2009) Internationale Handelsnetwerken en Culturele Contacten in de Vroegmoderne Nederlanden. Aachen, Germany: Shaker Publishing

Mijers, E. and Onnekink, D. (eds.) (2007) Redefining William III: The Impact of the King-stadholder in International Context. Ashgate Publishing

Mijers, E. and Stiubhart, D. (eds.) (2005) Williamite Scotland. Maney Publishing


Mijers, E. (2020) ‘Holland and we were bot one in our cause’: The Covenanters’ ‘Dutch’ reception and impact. The Scottish Historical Review, 99(Supplement: 251), pp. 412-428DOI: https://doi.org/10.3366/shr.2020.0489

Mijers, E. (2017) 'Addicted to Puritanism': Philosophical and theological relations between Scotland and the United Provinces in the first half of the seventeenth century. History of Universities, XXIX(2)DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198803621.003.0004

Mijers, E. (2013) Between empires and cultures: Scots in New Netherland and New York. Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 33(2), pp. 165-195

Mijers, E. (2010) Editorial of special issue. Dutch Crossing, 34(1), pp. 3-4

Mijers, E. (2006) Review of De Herontdekking van het Nederlandse Atlanticum. Transparant, 17(2), pp. 25-28

Mijers, E. (2005) 'For the cause of religion and [academic] liberty': connected political and academic networks in late 17th-century Utrecht. Dutch Crossing, 29(1), pp. 69-78

Mijers, E. (2005) Irish students in the Netherlands, 1650-1750. Archivium Hibernicum, 59, pp. 66-78

Mijers, E. (2005) The Scottish-Dutch context to the Blaeu Atlas: an overview. Scottish Geographical Journal, 121(3), pp. 311-320

Mijers, E. (2003) Minerva, Mars and Mercury. Scotto-Dutch intellectual exchange 1680-1730. Dutch Crossing, 26(2), pp. 197-211

Mijers, E. (2003) Uit Noodzaak, Wetenschappelijke Interesse en Curiositeit. Schotse Theologie Studenten in de Nederlandse Republiek. Transparant, 14(2), pp. 12-18


Mijers, E. (2019) Displaced but not replaced: The continuation of Dutch intellectual influences in early Hanoverian Britain. In: Sirota, B. and Macinnes, A. (eds.) The Hanoverian Succession in Great Britain and its Empire. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 175-192DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787445468.010

Mijers, E. (2017) Scottish collectors and the Grand Tour. In: Warwick, G. (ed.) University of Edinburgh Torrie Collection 1836-2016.

Mijers, E. (2014) Scotland, the Dutch Republic and the Union: Commerce and cosmopolitanism. In: Macinnes, A. and Hamilton, D. (eds.) Jacobitism, Enlightenment and Empire, 1680–1820. London; Brookfield, Vt: Pickering & Chatto, pp. 93-109DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315654140

Mijers, E. and Murdoch, S. (2012) Migrant destinations, 1500-1750: The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History. In: Devine, T. and Wormald, J. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 320-338

Mijers, E. (2012) Scotland's fabulous past: Charles Mackie and George Buchanan: George Buchanan: Political Thought in Early Modern Britain and Europe. In: Mason, R. and Erskine, C. (eds.) George Buchanan: Political Thought in Early Modern Britain and Europe. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 249-268

Mijers, E. (2011) Intellectual exchanges and Scottish authors abroad: the Scottish-Dutch trade: The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, Volume 2: Enlightenment and Expansion 1707-1800. In: Brown, S. and McDougall, W. (eds.) The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, Volume 2: Enlightenment and Expansion 1707-1800. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 203-209

Mijers, E. (2011) The Netherlands, William Carstares, and the reform of Edinburgh University, 1690-1715: History of Universities. Volume XXV/2. In: Feingold, M. (ed.) History of Universities. Volume XXV/2. UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 111-142

Mijers, E. and Onnekink, D. (2007) Introduction: Redefining William III: the impact of the King-Stadholder in international context. In: Mijers, E. and Onnekink, D. (eds.) Redefining William III: the impact of the King-Stadholder in international context. UK: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 1-14

Mijers, E. (2006) A natural partnership? Scotland and Zeeland in the early seventeenth century: Shaping the Stuart world, 1603-1714 : the Atlantic connection. In: Macinnes, A. and Williamson, A. (eds.) Shaping the Stuart world, 1603-1714 : the Atlantic connection. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, pp. 233-260

Mijers, E. (2005) Scottish students in the Netherlands 1680-1730: Scottish communities abroad in the early modern period. In: Grosjean, A. and Murdoch, S. (eds.) Scottish communities abroad in the early modern period. Leiden: Brill, pp. 301-331