‘City and Society in the Low Countries’ builds on a great tradition of urban history in the former Low Countries, particularly in Belgium. Ever since the days of Henri Pirenne, urban history has been researched intensively at Belgian and Dutch universities, made possible by government and private banking support. That the theme of urban history has occupied a central place in Belgian historiography concerning the medieval and early modern period should not come as a surprise, given the degree of urbanisation of the region, surpassed in the European context only by northern and central Italy. The thematic chapters testify to this exceptional situation in putting forward not a simple chronology but a resolutely comparative approach. They include the lesser urbanised regions of the large delta of the Low Countries, where a network of navigable rivers allowed ongoing economic, political and cultural integration, resulting in a performative urban network, rather than a centralised ‘state’. This book offers a synthesis along thematic lines, based on the current state of knowledge, with a strong emphasis on actual themes in urban historiography: identity, space as producer of meaning, material culture and the city as centre of knowledge.