Professor Gustaaf Janssens (° Antwerp 1948) is emeritus professor at the University of Leuven. He studied modern history at the former University Faculties in Antwerp, and at KU Leuven. In 1971, Prof. Janssens obtained a Master degree in History from the KU Leuven. After obtaining two NFWO research mandates, a brief teaching assignment in secondary school education, and a position as assistant at the Faculty of Arts (KU Leuven), he received his PhD in History in 1981, equally at the University of Leuven. His slightly modified PhD was published as ‘Brabant in het Verweer. Loyale oppositie tegen Spanje’s bewind in de Nederlanden van Alva to Farnese 1567-1578 (Standen en Landen, 89), Kortrijk-Heule, 1989 (442 p.). From 1982 to 2013, he worked as an archivist at the National Archives of Belgium and the State Archives in the Provinces. In that capacity and from 1988 until his retirement in 2013, he was in charge of the Archives of the Royal Palace (Brussels). From 2000, until he became emeritus professor in 2014, Janssens was a part-time lecturer, later a part-time professor, at the University of Leuven, and for the inter-university Master after Masters course in “Archivistiek: Erfgoed en hedendaags documentbeheer” (VUB-KU Leuven-UGent and UAntwerpen). He has been a member of the Belgian Royal Commission for History since 1998. He was appointed académico of the Academia Europea e Iberoamericana de Yuste (Extremadura – Spain) in 2000.
He publishes on archival science, on Belgian politics and its monarchy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and on rebellion and war in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century.
During his retirement Prof. Janssens has been able to return to an ‘old favourite’: the study of the civil war in the Netherlands during the reign of Philip II, with special attention for the Duke of Alva and the loyal Dutch opposition to the politics of the King. Over a period of forty years, he acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge on Spanish archives and the Spanish archival system; this knowledge remains indispensable for his current research.