Addressing audiences abroad: cultural and public diplomacy in seventeenth-century Europe

Klaas Van Gelder, Nina Lamal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This special issue highlights the interactions between diplomats and wider audiences in their host country during the seventeenth century. The dynamic and complex relationships between diplomats and foreign audiences in the early modern period have remained somewhat under the radar. While concepts such as “soft power”, “cultural diplomacy”, and “public diplomacy” have been developed by scholars of international relations in the twentieth century to describe and analyse twentieth-century realities, we argue in our introduction that early modern historians can draw inspiration from these concepts to start answering the question how, why, and when different European states and their representatives addressed foreign audiences abroad. Taking such an approach will expand our understanding of the strategies and tools diplomats had at their disposal to engage with different audiences. We conclude it has the potential to open new avenues of research into the history of symbolic communication, news, public opinion, as well as early modern international relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-387
Number of pages21
JournalThe Seventeenth Century
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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