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Personal profile

Personal information

Prof. Dr. P.Th.J.M. (Piek) Vossen (1960) is full Professor Computational Lexicology at the VU University Amsterdam, Head of the Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab (CLTL),  co-founder and co-president of the Global WordNet Assocation (GWA) and partner in the Centre for Digital Humanities Amsterdam. In 2013 he won the prestigious Spinoza Award of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and in 2015 he has been honoured by the Dutch Royal House as a “Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion”. He is also a member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW) in three domains and a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (KHMW).

Piek Vossen studied Dutch and General Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam and received his PhD (cum laude) in Linguistics on Computational Lexicology and Lexicography. He is/has been involved in the many national and international projects, among which: AcquilexEuroWordNetMeaningCornettoDutchSemCorKYOTO and  GlobalWordNetGrid. His latest project NewsReader developed the ‘History Recorder’, a computer program that ‘reads’ the news each day and precisely records what happened when and where in the world and who was involved. Furthermore he developed 4 research projects with the Spinoza-price: “Understanding of Language by Machines – an escape from the world of language”. He also coordinates the project "Make Robots Talk".

For many years he combined his academic career with his work in the industry. He worked at Sail Labs (1999-2001) and as a C.T.O. of Irion Technologies B.V. (2001-2009), where he developed multilingual language technology for many different languages, such as cross-lingual semantic search, text classification, and natural-language dialogue systems.

Vossen published more than 300 (peer reviewed) articles in national and international journals, conference proceedings, book chapters and (hand)books. He has given more than 200 invited keynote talks at several conferences and other occasions, is a regular organizer of and referee for (inter)national conferences and journals, and has served on many scientific, advisory and program committees. He also serves as a member of PhD-committees in the Netherlands as well as abroad. In 2014 he also won the Enlighten Your Research Competition 2013.

He is an invited member of several advisory boards and institutes, such as the European Language Resources Association (ELRA), the Network InstituteDEFT Events Advisory Board of the Linguistic Data Consortium (LDC), SURFSara, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Ontology-Lexica Community Group; he also serves as an expert reviewer for the European Union.

His research interests are WordNets, Computational Lexicon, Ontologies, Computational Linguistics, Language Technology and Computer-Applications, both within a single language and from a multilingual perspective. Vossen is interested in the relation between lexicons and ontologies, from a theoretical point of view as well as from their usage in computer-applications in which meaning and interpretation play a role. He sees the lexicon as a fundamental resource to anchor meaning and interpretation in useful computer behaviour. Computer behaviour can make use of communicative models and insights from communication science. The organization of the lexicon and the knowledge stored in it need to take that usage as a starting point. He combines linguistics and computer science to model understanding of natural language texts by computers.

Visit my website: http://vossen.info


Prizes and Awards

  • 2017: Elected member (one of 16 elected in total) of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW) in three domains.
  • 2015: Honoured (one of 12 in total) by the Dutch Royal House as “Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw” (Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion), the Hague, the Netherlands.
  • 2014: NWO Enlighten Your Research Prize for Big Data in research (3 elected in total).
  • 2014: University Research Fellow Vossen, VU Universiteit Amsterdam
  • 2013: Spinoza Award (one of 3 elected in total) of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).
  • 2012: Elected member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (KHMW).


See Grants on my website


CLTL Research Master Humanities: Human Language Technology: see flyer HLT Master.

More BA/MA/Minor-courses: http://vossen.info/teaching/

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily


  • H Social Sciences
  • Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources
  • T Technology
  • P Language and Literature

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where P.T.J.M. Vossen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Linguistics Engineering & Materials Science
event Social Sciences
Information retrieval Engineering & Materials Science
ontology Social Sciences
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Ontology Engineering & Materials Science
European Central Bank Social Sciences

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Research Output 1994 2019

Identity of Long-Tail Entities in Text

Ilievski, F., 2019, 227 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

Pragmatic factors in (automatic) image description

van Miltenburg, C. W. J., 2019, 222 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

The circumstantial event ontology (CEO) and ECB+/CEO: An ontology and corpus for implicit causal relations between events

Segers, R., Caselli, T. & Vossen, P., 2019, LREC 2018 - 11th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. Isahara, H., Maegaard, B., Piperidis, S., Cieri, C., Declerck, T., Hasida, K., Mazo, H., Choukri, K., Goggi, S., Mariani, J., Moreno, A., Calzolari, N., Odijk, J. & Tokunaga, T. (eds.). European Language Resources Association (ELRA), p. 4585-4592 8 p. 603

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

European Central Bank
Causal Relation

The Meaning of Word Sense Disambiguation Research

Postma, M. C., 2019, 181 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

A Deep Dive into Word Sense Disambiguation with LSTM

Le, M. N., Postma, M. C., Urbani, J. & Vossen, P. T. J. M., 21 Aug 2018.

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePosterAcademic

Activities 2000 2018

Invited keynote talk on NewsReader @ Deloitte Learn & Shares

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Keynote speaker)
19 Nov 2018

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

4REAL Workshop: workshop on Replicability and Reproducibility of Research Results in Science and Technology of Language

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Member of programme committee)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic

COLINg 2018

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Member of programme committee)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic


Lidmaatschap KHMW

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Recipient), 2012


Lidmaatschap KNAW

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Recipient), 2017


Spinoza price

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Recipient), 2013


University Research Fellow

P.T.J.M. Vossen (Recipient), 2014


Press / Media

Documentaire "Dankzij Spinoza"

P.T.J.M. Vossen


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Interview De Dagwacht NPO Radio 1

P.T.J.M. Vossen


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Interview Brandpunt-KRO/NCRV

P.T.J.M. Vossen


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Project "NewsReader"

P.T.J.M. Vossen


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other