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Thomas Spijkerboer (1963) is professor of Migration Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam since 2000. He has been Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University (Sweden) (2017-2020) and International Franqui Professor at Ghent University (2020-2021). He is one of the lecturers in the master’s track on International Migration and Refugee Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2016, he was appointed as a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenchappen (Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities); in 2017 he was elected as a member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Siences).

He studied law at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. From 1982 to 1986 he worked as a volunteer at the Rechtswinkel Amsterdam (legal clinic), specializing in housing law. From 1986 to 1993, he worked at Advokatenkollektief Zaanstreek (lawyers’ collective), where he specialized in asylum cases. Between 1993 and 2000 he was a lecturer in Migration law at the Catholic University Nijmegen. In Nijmegen he wrote his dissertation Gender and Refugee Status (Ashgate, 2000; Praemium Erasmianum 2001), combining qualitative, quantitative and purely legal approaches.

Since 2000 Thomas works at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he established the Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law, which is nowadays one of the largest research groups on the issue worldwide. From 2001 to 2006, he co-directed (together with Kees Groenendijk) the research project Transnationality and Citizenship: New Approaches to Migration Law, carried out with the Catholic University Nijmegen and funded by NWO (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). In 2010-2011, he worked on the research project Fleeing Homophobia. Asylum claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the EU, funded by the EU and initiated by COC Nederland.

Inc2013-2018 he led the research project Border Policies and Sovereignty. Human rights and the right to life of irregular migrants, funded by NWO (see the migrant deaths page on this website). In addition, between 2013 and 2017 he functioned as head of the NWO-funded research project Migration Law as a Family Matter, which was initiated by the late Sarah van Walsum.

For Thomas' publications see his own website. You can contact Thomas at, Twitter @TSpijkerboer.

Ancillary activities

  • Nederlands Juristenblad | Den Haag | Medewerker | 2000-01-01 - present
  • European Journal of Migration and Law | Leiden | redactielid | 2017-12-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily


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