Dr Jelle van Lottum MA, PhD, FRGS, FRHistS

Department of History
Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I work on economic and social history, maritime history and labour migration worldwide, from 1600 to the present.


  • PhD: Utrecht University 2007
  • MA: VU University, Amsterdam 2002 


I did my undergraduate degree in Amsterdam, at the VU University (in 2002). In 2003 I started my PhD at the International Institute of Social History and the University of Utrecht, which I finished and defended in 2007. That same year I moved across the Channel to the University of Cambridge where I first held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2008), followed by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-2011). The latter post was combined with a Research Associateship at St. John’s College, Cambridge.

After finishing my British Academy Postdoc I moved to the University of Oxford and Somerville College as a Research Fellow and the Principle Investigator of my ESRC Research Grant ‘Migration, human capital and labour productivity: the international maritime labour market in Europe, c. 1650-1815'. Later that year (in December 2011) I joined the University of Birmingham as a Birmingham Fellow. My ESRC funded project is now also based at the University of Birmingham.


I am particular interested in understanding the link between economic development and population movements. My current ESRC grant, titled ‘Migration, human capital and labour productivity: the international maritime labour market in Europe, c. 1650-1815', looks at one important aspect of this issue. It investigates how skills of common workers mattered for economic performance in a key sector of the pre-industrial European economy. This project forms one part of longer term interest in the history of migrations worldwide from 1600 to the present.

Other activities

  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Member of the ESRC Peer Review College
  • Member of the AHRC Peer Review College
  • Organising committee of the Global Migration History Programme
  • Co-chair of the Migration and Ethnicity network of the European Social Science History Conference (2006-2010)
  • Member of the Economic History Society.



  • Jelle van Lottum, Across the North Sea. The impact of the Dutch Republic on labour migration, c. 1550-1850, (Amsterdam 2007). [Nominated (one of three) for the triennial PhD Dissertation Prize of the International Economic History Association in 2009 as well as the Thirsk-Feinstein Prize of the Economic History Society in 2008] 


  • Van Lottum, Jelle and Jan Luiten van Zanden, ‘Labour productivity and human capital in the European maritime sector of the eighteenth century’, Explorations in Economic History (2014). Available in Open Access
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, and Daan Marks, ‘The determinants of internal migration in a developing country: quantitative evidence for Indonesia, 1930-2000’, Applied Economics 44 (2012) 34, pp. 4485-4494.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘Some considerations about the link between economic development and migration’, Journal of Global History 6 (2011) 2, pp. 339-344.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘Labour migration and economic performance: London and the Randstad, c. 1600-1800’, Economic History Review 64 (2011) 2, pp. 531-570.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, and Bo Poulsen, ‘Estimating numeracy and literacy levels in the maritime labour market of the North Atlantic of the late eighteenth century’ Scandinavian Economic History Review 59 (2011) 1, pp. 65-80.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘Migration to the Netherlands in the first half of the 19th century: an assessment’, Annales de démographie historique 118 (2009), pp. 193-208.
  • Kaal, Harm, and Jelle van Lottum, ‘Immigrants in the polder. Rural-rural long distance migration in North-western Europe: the case of Watergraafsmeer’, Rural History 20 (2009), pp. 99-117.
  • Schrover, Marlou, and Jelle van Lottum, ‘Spatial concentrations and communities of immigrants: the Netherlands 1800-1900’, Continuity and Change 22 (2007), pp. 215-252.
  • Sogner, Sølvi, and Jelle van Lottum, ‘An immigrant community? Norwegian Sailor Families in Amsterdam in the 17th Century’, History of the Family 12 (2007) 3, pp. 153-168.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, and Sølvi Sogner, ‘Magnus og Barbara. Mikrohistorie I Nordsjøregionen på 1600-tallet’ [Migration and microhistory in the North Sea region in the 17th century], Historisk Tidsskrift (Norway) 85 (2006) 3, pp. 377-401.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, and Sølvi Sogner, ‘Het verhaal van Magnus en Barbara. Migratiegeschiedenis in het klein’ [Magnus and Barbara’s story. A micro-perspective on migration history], Holland 39 (2007) 2, pp. 65-79.
  • Kaal, Harm and Jelle van Lottum, ‘Duitse boeren onder de rook van Amsterdam. Duitse immigranten in de agrarische geschiedenis van de gemeente Watergraafsmeer (1629-1921)’ [German immigration to the rural areas surrounding Amsterdam], Jaarboek Amstelodamum (2005), pp. 129-152.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, and Marlou Schrover, ‘De Choorstraat en Lijnmarkt; multiculturele straten in het 19e-eeuwse Utrecht’ [Migrant settlement in shopping streets in 19th century Utrecht], Oud-Utrecht 78 (2005) 4, pp. 129-133.
  • Kaal, Harm, and Jelle van Lottum, 'Duitsers in de polder. Duitse warmoeziers in Watergraafsmeer in de 18de en 19de eeuw' [German market gardeners in the parish of Watergraafsmeer in the 18th and 19th century], Holland  35 (2003) 4, pp. 263-276.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, 'Nieuwkomers in Nederland in de eerste helft van de negentiende eeuw' [Newcomers in the Netherlands in the first half of the 19th century], Tijdschrift voor Sociale Geschiedenis 29 (2003) 3, pp. 257-280.


Book chapters

  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘Migration in an Age of Change: The Migration Effect of Decolonization and Industrialization in Indonesia, c. 1900–2000’, in: Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen (eds.), Globalising Migration History. The Eurasian Experience (16th-21st Centuries), (Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden and Boston, 2012), pp. 247 –275.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘The economic contribution of labour migrants in the European maritime labour market of the long eighteenth century’, in: Leo Lucassen and Marcel van der Linden (eds.), Working on labour. Essays in honour of Jan Lucassen (Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden and Boston, 2012), pp. 247-268.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, Lex Heerma van Voss, and Jan Lucassen,‘ Sailors, National and International Labour Markets and National Identity,1600-1850’, in: Richard Unger (ed.), Shipping and Economic Growth 1350-1800 (Leiden and Boston, 2011), pp. 309-352.
  • Matthias van Rossum, Lex, Heerma van Voss, Jelle van Lottum and Jan Lucassen, ‘'Sailors in European, Atlantic and Asian Waters: National and International Labour Markets, 1600-1850', in: Maria Fusaro and Amelia Polonia, Maritime History as Global History, Research in Maritime History No. 43 (St. John’s Newfoundland, 2010), pp. 47-72.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘La migration de travail en Europe du Nord-Ouest‘, in: Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire and Pierrick Pourchasse (eds), Les circulations internationales en Europe (1680-1780) (Rennes, 2010), pp. 19-35.
  • Lottum, Jelle, ‘Human movement, 600-1300’,‘ Human movement 1300-1400’ and ‘Human movement, 1400-1600’, in: Historical Atlas. A comprehensive history of the world (Elanora, 2008).
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, and Jan Lucassen, ‘Six cross-sections of the Dutch maritime labour market: a preliminary reconstruction and its implications (1607-1850), in: Richard Gorski (ed.), Maritime labour: Contributions to the history of work at sea, 1500-2000 (Amsterdam, 2007), pp. 13-42.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle ‘Some aspects of the North Sea labour market, c. 1550-1800’, in: Hanno Brand, Poul Holm and Leos Muller (eds.), The Dynamics of economic culture in the North Sea- and Baltic Region (ca. 1250-1700) vol. 1 (Hilversum 2007), pp. 170-184.
  • Van Lottum, Jelle, ‘The first waves of internationalization: A comparison of early modern North Sea migration and nineteenth century Transatlantic labour migrations’ in: L. Fischer et al., Maritime Transport and Migration: The Connections between Maritime and Migration Network, Research in Maritime History No. 33 (St. John’s, 2007), pp 9-25.


Working papers 

  • Jelle van Lottum and Aske Laursen Brock, 'Rural to Urban Migration in 18th Century Scandinavia',  MEMS Working Papers Series (University of Kent) no. 3.

  • Jelle van Lottum and Jan Luiten van Zanden, ‘Labour productivity and human capital in the maritime sector of the North Atlantic, c. 1672-1815’. Centre for Global Economic History Working Paper Series, 21.
  • Jelle van Lottum and Daan Marks, The determinants of internal migration in a developing country: quantitative evidence for Indonesia, 1930-2000, Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, 1013.
  • Bo Poulsen and Jelle van Lottum, 'Numeracy and literacy in early modern Europe: Evidence from the maritime sector', (2009, Roskilde University Working Paper no. 3597064)
  • Jelle van Lottum, 'Immigranten in Nederland in de eerste helft van de 19e eeuw. Een onderzoek op basis van de Utrechtse volkstellingen van 1829 en 1839' [Immigrants in the Netherlands in the first half of the nineteenth century] (2004, IISH Research paper no. 43):