Koen is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at Saint Louis University. He is currently working on a study of the Avesnes dynasty in Hainaut which grew from a minor aristocratic family in the eleventh century to become rulers of several major counties in the Low Countries and northern France in the thirteenth century. By examining their political interactions, marriage alliances, crusades participation, pious giving and other religious policies, it will help us understand the influence of crusader pedigree as well as the process and methods of dynastic image building in relation to the family's growing power and influence.
Besides the Low Countries and Crusades Koen's other topics and areas of interest include the Islamic and pre-Islamic Middle East, feuds and private wars, and Flemish communities in the British Isles. Originally from Belgium and raised in France and California, Koen is fully fluent in both Flemish and French. Prior to attending Saint Louis University, Koen received a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2003.