Universiteit Leiden

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Europa Institute


The activities of the Europa Institute (also known as the Department of European Law) are supported by ‘Stichting Europees Instituut’. This foundation was the first of its kind in both the Netherlands and Europe as a whole. Established in 1957, its aim was to ‘support and advance the study of scientific issues arising from collaboration within the European context, in particular questions relating to international and supranational institutions existing and set up in Europe, and to contribute scientific work on those issues.’ This aim is achieved by supporting the research and teaching carried out at the Europa Institute, academic publications – including the renowned Common Market Law Review – and by establishing and maintaining an international academic network and conducting both commissioned and department-initiated research.

Stichting Europees Instituut is supervised by a Board of Trustees, which is composed of eight to twelve members. The current members are:

Dr Hanna Sevenster LL.M., Dutch Council of State

Felix Ronkes Agerbeek LL.M., Member of the Legal Service, European Commission

Professor Vanessa Mak, Professor of Civil Law, Leiden University

Professor Jannemieke Ouwerkerk, Professor of European Criminal Law, Leiden University

Kees Schillemans LL.M., Partner at Allen & Overy

Martijn Snoep LL.M., Chair of the Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM)

Professor Olaf van Vliet, Professor of Economics, Leiden University

Professor Marc van der Woude LL.M., President of the General Court of the European Union

The day-to-day management of Stitching Europees Instituut is the responsibility of the Chair of the Board of Trustees Dr Hanna Sevenster and the Director of the Europa Instituut Professor Stefaan Van den Bogaert. They are supported by the institute’s treasurer Professor Armin Cuyvers and secretary Professor Jorrit Rijpma.

History of the Europa Institute

The origins of the Europa Institute actually date back even further than 1957. In autumn 1954, shortly after the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded, a ‘European study group’ was set up at Leiden University. Its Chair was Professor of Administrative Law and latterly Minister of Justice Carel Polak. When the impact of the new EEC Treaty became clear, particularly in the field of competition law, a separate European Competition Law Working Group was set up early in 1957. Benno ter Kuile, a member of the academic staff and who later became Professor of Constitutional Law in Rotterdam, acted as secretary.

These developments attracted the attention of Max Kohnstamm, who worked for Jean Monnet. He advised the Ford Foundation to provide a grant to promote the study of European law, which laid the foundation for the Europa Institute. In addition to a number of professors from within Leiden University, the Board of Trustees also included former minister Wim Beijen, who played a major role in the establishment of the EEC Treaty, and Ivo Samkalden, who was Minister of Justice at the time. In 1959, Samkalden was appointed Professor of the Law of International Organisations and Director of the Europa Institute.

Many high-profile legal experts have been affiliated with the Europa Institute over the years. One of those was Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst, who initially worked for Professor Samkalden. He was later appointed Professor in Groningen, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Economic Affairs and leader of Dutch political party D66. During his time working in Leiden, Evert Alkema was also affiliated with the Europa Institute. He subsequently became Professor of Constitutional and Administrative law at Leiden University. In 1967, Samkalden was appointed Professor of the Law of International Organisations and was succeeded by Herman Maas. When he became a member of the Executive Board of Leiden University in 1971, he was succeeded by Schelto Patijn (who later became Mayor of Amsterdam). Patijn, in turn, was succeeded by Jos Kapteyn, who later made his mark as a judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. From 1978 to 1993, Hein Schermers was Professor of the Law of International Organisations and Director of the Europa Institute. From 1981 onwards, he shared the latter position with Piet Jan Slot, who held a new chair in Economic Administrative Law. Slot was succeeded in 2009 by the current holder of the chair, Stefaan Van den Bogaert. After 1993, Schermers’ chair was held by no fewer than three professors: Niels Blokker (International Institutional Law), Rick Lawson (Human Rights) and Ton Heukels (European Institutional Law). The latter was succeeded by Christophe HillionTom Eijsbouts, and Armin Cuyvers respectively. New chairs in specific fields of expertise were also established, including European Non-Discrimination Law (Rikki Holtmaat and Christa Tobler), European Migration Law (Jorrit Rijpma) and, most recently, the chair in European Citizenship (Moritz Jesse).

The Europa Institute expanded steadily during the 1980s and 1990s. Staff included current board members Hanna Sevenster (later a member of the Council of State), Marc van der Woude (later President of the General Court of Justice of the European Union) and Felix Ronkes Agerbeek (member of the Legal Service at the European Commission). Other members of staff have included Pieter Jan Kuijper, later professor at the University of Amsterdam; Christof Swaak, a lawyer in Amsterdam; Mielle Bulterman, currently Head of the Department of European Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Antoine Buyse, currently Professor of Human Rights at Utrecht University; Martin Kuijer, member of the Dutch Supreme Court; and Herke Kranenborg, who in November 2023 was nominated by the Dutch government as a judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. For some years, the International and Economic Relations department and the Institute of Energy Law also formed part of the Europa Institute. Luuk van Middelaar has worked at the Europa Institute as a Professor of Foundations and Practice of the European Union since 2015.

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