From the 17th century ‘new’ intoxicants like tobacco, caffeines, cacao, sugar, and opium flowed into north-western Europe through a network of Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic ports.

Public Spaces and Psychoactive Revolution. The Impact of New Intoxicants on Public Spaces, Consumption, and Sociability in North-Western Europe, c. 1600 – c. 1850


Project Summary

Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries Europe underwent a psychoactive revolution that had a profound and lasting impact on how people experienced, used, perceived, and policed urban public spaces.

PSPR recovers this momentous history by exploring the traffic and consumption of tobacco, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, and opium in the four metropoles of Amsterdam, Hamburg, London and Stockholm between c. 1600 and 1850. Consulting a host of different archives and closely collaborating with schools, museums, drug prevention units and a United Nations programme, it brings a timely and urgently required perspective on intoxicants and the politics of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary Europe.

Prof. Dr. P. Withington

Project Leader

The University of Sheffield
United Kingdom


The new intoxicants created new public spaces, like the coffeehouse, and brought ‘public’ practices of consumption into the domestic sphere.

Pehr Hilleström, Three Women Telling Fortune in Coffee, 1780s (Stockholms universitets konstsamling, J. A. Berg Collection #158)

Project Partners

Prof. Dr. P. Withington

Project Leader

The University of Sheffield
United Kingdom

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Prof. Dr. Toine Pieters

Utrecht University
Netherlands

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Prof. Dr. Dagmar Freist

Carl von Ossietzky Universitaet Oldenburg
Germany

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Prof. Leos Müller

Stockholm University
Sweden

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  • The University of Sheffield

    The University of Sheffield

  • Utrecht University

    Utrecht University

  • Carl von Ossietzky Universitaet Oldenburg

    Carl von Ossietzky Universitaet Oldenburg

  • Stockholm University

    Stockholm University