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Dutch Association for Criminology celebrates 50th anniversary in Leiden

On Thursday 6 and Friday 7 June, criminologists from across the Netherlands and Flanders descended upon the KOG Building for the sixteenth time. Leiden Law School hosted this year’s annual conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dutch Association for Criminology (NVC).

After the opening by the NVC’s President, Janine Janssen, the first keynote speech was given by Jan van Dijk, one of the NVC’s founders and a grey eminence of Dutch criminology. He was previously associated with Leiden University as a Professor of Criminology. In his contribution to the anniversary compilation (published by Boom), he specifically mentions his ‘Leiden mentors’, Willem Nagel and Wouter Buikhuisen.

Intergenerational transmission

250 conferencegoers found out more about concepts such as ‘intergenerational transmission’. This is a phenomenon regularly seen by criminologists in behaviour such as abuse and neglect, where children who have been victims of parental violence are more likely to display problematic behaviour later in life towards their own children, for example. If we extend this more broadly to criminology as a pattern of behaviour, we can also presume that future criminologists will adopt interests, research methods and other behaviour – academic or otherwise – from the criminologists who preceded them.

Besides a ‘regular’ exploration of intergenerational transmission, the keynote speeches focused on how criminology in the Netherlands and the Dutch Association have developed and what we have learned from future generations so far.

For that same reason, Leiden Law School criminologists Sigrid van Wingerden and Joni Reef set out – in their keynote – new visions for criminology teaching and education in order to prepare Leiden’s future criminologists even better.

Numerous other topics were covered in the 46 parallel sessions, ranging from experiences of imprisonment by inmates and prison guards to extremism and terrorism. The entire methodological spectrum from surveys to virtual reality also resurfaced. Leiden Law School’s criminologists were well represented during these sessions and were involved in no fewer than 43 paper presentations.

Thesis Award and Willem Nagel Award

Two awards were handed out at this year’s conference. Firstly, the annual Thesis Award for the best criminology master's thesis; this year's winner is Dyon van Velzen for his thesis supervised by Leiden Law School’s Jan de Keijser. The Willem Nagel Award, which is awarded every two years for the best criminology thesis, was also part of this year's festivities. Not only was Willem Nagel one of the founding fathers of criminology at Leiden Law School, but this year’s winner is Timo Peeters, who now also works at our Criminology department here in Leiden.

Next year’s conference

Overall, we can reflect on another very successful conference and are already looking forward to next year's event, which will also take place at the KOG Building. Pencil 12 and 13 June 2025 – the provisional dates for next year’s conference – into your diary now. The provisional theme will be ‘Fake Criminology: deceptive images and false stories’. More information will be announced shortly on www.criminologie.nl, the Dutch Association for Criminology’s LinkedIn page and the Leiden Law Academy website.

CoDe, the Leiden criminology study association, played a key role in this conference by providing technical support in the lecture halls and guiding conferencegoers around the building. The conference was organised on behalf of the NVC by Leiden Law School criminologist Ilse Ras in collaboration with Leiden Law Academy.

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