Over the years, HOST has developed a strong reputation for innovative research in the field of urban
history. The centre first developed its expertise under the leadership of Hugo Soly and Catharina Lis,
and has after their retirement been continued and strategically strengthened under the directorship of
Anne Winter (since 2010) and the co-leadership of Frederik Buylaert (2011-2016) and Wouter
Ryckbosch (since 2016).
HOST combines a strategic mission to further develop urban history as a
spearhead of research in the university, with a scholarly ambition to develop innovative perspectives of
major impact on the international field of social and urban history, which are also relevant to
contemporary societal challenges. Drawing on complementary expertise in the social and economic
history of urban Brabant and Flanders from the late Middle Ages to the long 19th century, HOST’s
research agenda revolves around the interactions between social inequality, migration and social
relations in a long-term and comparative perspective.