During this On Expedition MaRBLe course block students indulge in historical travel books from the Special Collections, work with primary sources that tell about trade missions and scientific expeditions and they think about identity and concepts such as “othering”. The Wikipedia articles are written to disseminate the research results to a wider audience and to practice writing from a neutral point of view, referencing and citing (primary) sources. Past February six students started this year’s On Expedition course block and worked with these primary sources. Find their Wikipedia articles below.






Personally, I didn’t just read because I was a student, but because so many books felt like a new world opening up. Even outside of research, I would highly recommend for everyone to look up what there is to discover.


– Louise Husson,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences MaRBLE student On Expedtion


On Expedition Journey: photograpy series
This year one of the students, Nell Lenoir, documented the process of the student during this research-based project. This documentation is done through a photography series accompanied by the student’s narratives including their first impressions, ups and downs, awe-moments and story-telling about the author of their chosen book. Curious? Find the photography series on Facebook and Instagram.

In 2020, Johanna Hvalić (now alumna BA European Studies) vlogged her On Expedition journey and shared her experiences during the entire process.

Many travel books in the Special Collections
The largest special collection of Maastricht University (UM), the Jesuit Library, contains many lavishly illustrated travel books, most of which date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Part of them is partly digitised. The travel books bear witness of the broad interests and the highly international orientation of the Jesuits. The books do not only address Catholic missionary zeal, but deal also with trade missions and scientific expeditions.Travel books are fascinating: they tell stories about other countries, different cultures, different times, in short, about an unknown world. In this era of increasing globalisation the interest in cultural exchange and travel writing appears to be on the rise. What is more comfortable than reading a book about risky adventures, sitting safely on a chair?

Special Collections available to all
UM’s Special Collections contains books from the 15th century up to the most recent ones from the 1970s. Mainly in the fields of philosophy, history, anatomy, literature, theology, law and social sciences. In this sense, it is a broad humanities collection, offering a range of starting points for the research and teaching activities within the UM and outside. Books from these collections are physically accessible upon request and some is already digitally available. Inspired enough to get hands on yourself with the Special Collections? Visit our website or contact Odin Essers, curator Maastricht University Special Collections.

Photos by Nell Lenoir