BZK Ministry establishes two new professor chairs for the Kingdom

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) is establishing two new professor chairs for the Kingdom. There will be a political sciences/public administration professor chair and an anthropology/sociology professor chair.

Leerstoel BZK

Leiden University and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam (UvA), are selected as residency for the professor chairs. Leiden University will hold the professor chair political sciences/public administration and the University of Amsterdam the professor chair anthropology/sociology.

Professor chair holders

The Executive Boards of the UvA and Leiden University have approved the proposal for appointment of their candidate. Social and cultural anthropologist Dr. Francio Guadeloupe will hold the professor chair Public Anthropology of Kingdom Relations for the KNAW/KITLV/UvA. Dr. Wouter Veenendaal, Associate Professor Comparative Politics at the Institute of Political Science of Leiden University, will hold the professor chair Democratic Representation in the Kingdom for Leiden University. He will be working from the KITLV in Leiden.  

Broad knowledge development

The two professor chairs by special appointment are an initiative of the Directorate-General Kingdom Relations (DGKR) of the Ministry of BZK in the context of a broad knowledge development. The professorships contribute to the strengthening of the knowledge function within DGKR. There is a need for more in-depth and broader attention in the scientific niche of Kingdom relations which generates more research, collaboration, synergy and a greater spin-off in this area.  

Caribbean universities

The intention is to closely involve the universities in the three Caribbean countries of the Kingdom in the professor chairs. The aim is to work together with the Caribbean universities whereby, for example, lecturers and researchers can be exchanged. The assignment will be further worked out in consultation and close collaboration with the Caribbean universities.

Priceless value

State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations:

“I am elated that we were able to accomplish this collaboration with the universities. Dependable scientific knowledge is of priceless value and can contribute to the further improvement of the cooperation in the Kingdom. A great milestone, especially in the year that we celebrate being connected in the Kingdom for already 70 years through the Charter”.

Professor chair holder Francio Guadeloupe:

“Almost half of the people with a Caribbean background reside in the Netherlands. At the same time, the islands are home to thousands of people whose great-grandparents were born in the Netherlands. This reality is bigger than the tensions between the politicians in The Hague and the politicians on the islands. We need to recognize that Kingdom relations in practice work out on a lower frequency than many policy makers are attuned to. I want to focus on what is being done in the community and in the political realm to make the Kingdom of the Netherlands more equitable, fair and inclusive for all. That is what I plan to study, in cooperation with knowledge institutions on all six islands and in the Netherlands”.

Professor chair holder Wouter Veenendaal:

“The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a unique structure. It consists of four autonomous and equivalent countries, but one of those countries – the European Netherlands – is politically and institutionally superior to the others. This raises questions about democratic representation within the Kingdom, which I want to investigate in the context of this chair. Together with institutions and experts on the six islands and in the Netherlands, I hope to give an impetus to the development of knowledge and education in the field of politics and democracy in our Kingdom. I very much look forward to collaborating with researchers and institutions on both sides of the ocean.”  

Open process

The professor chairs came about through an innovative, open process. Universities were asked to submit a proposal with their own explanation and research focus. The proposals of Leiden University and KITLV/KNAW/UvA were assessed as being the best ones.

DGKR already works together with The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Haagse Hogeschool) in regard to the Minor Kingdom Relations.