Universiteit Leiden

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Van Vollenhoven Institute

About us

The VVI seeks to advance knowledge of the formation and functioning of legal systems in their social contexts, the impact of these systems on society and vice versa, their effectiveness in governance, and their contribution to development.

The Institute adopts a socio-legal and global approach, doing research on law in the books and law in action in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. VVI staff teaches several socio-legal thematic and regional courses for both Dutch and foreign exchange students. In addition, VVI provides PhD supervision, advisory services and training courses to policy makers and practitioners.


Leiden University is well-established in the study of international law, colonial law, comparative law, customary law, the social and political sciences, and non-western languages and cultures. The Leiden Law School was home to Grotius, the ‘father’ of international law, and later to the renowned scholar of Indonesian adat and public law, Cornelis van Vollenhoven. The Van Vollenhoven Institute dates back to the era when Dutch lawyers and administrators were trained for service in colonial Indonesia, Surinam and the Antilles.

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