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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)


When:Mo 13-06-2022 16:00 - 17:30
Where:VR-Lab Smitsborg & Online

This CHS lecture will be hybrid: online and on-site in the VR-Lab of the Center for Information Technology (Smitsborg, Nettelbosje 1 Groningen). After the lecture there will be a high-resolution demonstration of “Broeders 3D” (details see below) in the virtual reality theatre and drinks to celebrate the finalisation of the 3D model.


“Broeders 3D” is one of the outcomes of research conducted by the members of the “History of Reading in Premodern Europe” chair. Among many other topics, we are interested in spatial aspects of religious reading and knowledge transfer, which has led us to investigate “lieux de savoir” and “geographies of knowledge”.

Our interest in spatial approaches to religious reading has led to the creation of a gps-triggered and cartographic app with a guided tour by a historical character through the Dutch city Deventer in the year 1495. Broeders 3D is a further development of the “Hidden Deventer” app: Some of the late medieval sites have disappeared and our 3D model will allow visitors to experience one of them as it probably was in the fifteenth century.

Broeders 3D is a website made in collaboration with the Reality Center of the Center for Information Technology. It is a 3D reconstruction of the historical interior of the Heer Florenshuis in Deventer, home of the Brothers of the Common Life and the Modern Devotion, around the year 1450. It includes 3D models of original fifteenth-century furniture and 3D models of six books from the collection of the Athenaeum Library that were certainly present in the Heer Florenshuis. The website functions as an interface with the digital collections of the Athenaeum Library.

Furthermore, it is an interactive 3D model: in the same way as the lay inhabitants of late-medieval Deventer, the visitor can ask religious and inner-life questions to one of the brothers, who will give a reply following surviving texts of original “collationes”, spiritual and moral admonishments close to a sermon, by the Brothers of the Common Life. This is based on Pieter Boonstra’s dissertation on the “collationes” by the Modern Devout.

In our lecture we will reflect on the reconstruction of a historical interior space and the research results that were generated by the recreation of historical spatial experiences. We will discuss how 3D models can contribute to our scientific understanding of historical “lieux de savoir” and practices of knowledge transfer. We will also address the importance of bringing back together heritage objects and deep re-contextualisations of heritage. Finally, we will address the implications of reviving the practice of the “collationes” by the Brothers and experiencing them in a virtual 3D environment.