Heinz Schilling (1942), Germany

Heinz Schilling was awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for History 2002 'for his outstanding interdisciplinary research into the history of early modern Europe, in which he reveals the interrelationship between confessionalisation and national identity formation'.

1.jpgThe relationship between Church and State; the role of migrants; education; the imposition of norms and values; comparison of developments across Europe: most of the research themes studied by Heinz Schilling could have come straight from the leader columns of today's newspapers. The difference is that in Schilling's case it is the relationship between all these themes in the past which is important, and thus the historical origins of key elements of the world in which we now live. Schilling is concerned above all with European history in the time of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, and his work has brought us a more coherent picture of this period. For many years historians studying early modern Europe (1550-1650), either studied the processes of state formation or religious developments. Schilling, by contrast, studies religious, social and political factors in relation to each other. He has pointed out that both the newly formed Protestant and the Catholic states began working closely with what was generally the only official Church within their region. Schilling makes clear that there is much greater unity in European history than was previously assumed, and he raises that history above the boundaries between countries and religions.

Further reading

Niederländische Exulanten im 16. Jahrhundert. Ihre Stellung im Sozialgefüge und im religiösen Leben deutscher und englischer Städte, Gütersloh 1972.
Konfessionskonflikt und Staatsbildung. Eine Fallstudie über das Verhältnis von religiösem und sozialem Wandel in der Frühzeit am Beispiel der Grafschaft Lippe, Gütersloh (Gütersloher Verlagshaus) 1981.
Religion, Political Culture, and the Emergence of Early Modern Society. Essays in German and Dutch History, Leiden 1992.
Confessional Europe: Bureaucrats, La Bonne Police, Civilizations, in: Handbook of European History 1400-1600. Late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, hg. von Th. A. Brady, H.A. Oberman und J.D. Tracy, Bd. II, Leiden 1995, S. 641-681.
Die neue Zeit. Vom Christenheitseuropa zum Europa der Staaten. 1250 bis 1750, Berlin (Siedler) 1999, Siedler Geschichte Europas, Bd. 3.


Professor Heinz Schilling was born in 1942 in Bergneustadt, Germany. In 1963 he embarked on a study of history, German studies, philosophy and sociology at the universities of Cologne and Freiburg. His dissertation (1971) deals with Dutch emigrants in the 16th century. The topic of his Habilitation (a postdoctoral dissertation which is a requirement for those wishing to become a professor at a university in Germany) was the relationship between religious conflicts and state formation. From 1980 he was attached successively to the universities of Osnabrück and Giessen, and since 1992 Heinz Schilling has been a professor in the Department of History at Humboldt University in Berlin. He has also been a guest lecturer at the universities of Wisconsin, Madison and Berkeley. Not only is Schilling himself an extremely productive researcher, but his work has also provided a baseline for comparative research by others.
Professor Schilling also actively seeks to make his subject accessible to a wider public, and makes regular contributions to radio and television broadcasts, newspapers and exhibitions. He is also a member of various societies and editor of several journals and series.