Universiteit Leiden

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Kees Waaldijk

Professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law

Prof.mr. C. Waaldijk
+31 70 800 9593

Kees Waaldijk has been a staff member of the Grotius Centre since 1 May 2011 as professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law.

More information about Kees Waaldijk


In 1982 Kees Waaldijk obtained his Master Degree in Law ( cum laude) at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He got his Doctoral Degree in 1994, at the University of Maastricht, with the thesis Motiveringsplichten van de wetgever (The Legislature's Duties to Give Reasons, in Dutch with summaries in English and French).


In 1982 Kees Waaldijk LLM joined the then brand new law school of the University of Maastricht, where until 1995 he taught Public Law and Legal Skills. From 1987 until 1998 he was also part-time working for the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, first as researcher and lecturer in the Department of Gay and Lesbian Studies, later as researcher at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights. He was a guest lecturer for Sexual Orientation Law, Family Law and Legislative Drafting at various universities. In 1989 he spent a year in the United Kingdom, first as a senior visiting research fellow at the University of Edinburgh (Leverhulme grant), and then teaching British Constitutional Law at the University of Lancaster (ERASMUS staff exchange).

Since 1996 Dr Kees Waaldijk LLM works for Leiden University, until 2000 as a lecturer in jurisprudence , and from 1999 to 2001 as coordinator of the evening programme in law at the university's campus in The Hague. In Spring 2000, as visiting professor at Hastings College of the Law, University of California in San Francisco, he taught the course 'Human Rights Law in Europe - as applied to family, immigration and sexual orientation' (Leiden-Hastings exchange programme).  From  2000 until 2011, as Head of PhD Studies, he was responsible for the PhD programme of Leiden Law School, advising the PhD candidates, and teaching them about research methodology in law.

Since May 2011 professor Kees Waaldijk is holder of Leiden University's chair in Comparative Sexual Orientation Law. This sponsored chair, unique for Europe, is part of Leiden Law School's Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, at Leiden University's Campus in The Hague. His inaugural lecture, ‘ The Right to Relate: A Lecture on the Importance of “Orientation” in Comparative Sexual Orientation Law’, was published in English, in Dutch, in Vietnamese and in Italian.

In Spring 2014 he also held the McDonald/Wright Chair of Law of the Williams Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles, teaching Comparative Sexual Orientation Law at UCLA School of Law, and co-authoring with Lee Badgett et al. the report The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: An Analysis of Emerging Economies.

Research and social impact

Currently Kees Waaldijk is working on a Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation (GILRHO), covering (de)criminalisation, anti-discrimination and partnership recognition in all independent countries of the world for all years since – at least – the 1960s; first results were published in the 2014 report The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: An Analysis of Emerging Economies). He is also working on the creation of a FamiliesAndLaws Database (covering legal aspects of marriage, partnership and cohabitation for same-sex and different-sex partners in some 20 European countries); a first overview was published in 2014 under the title ‘ Great diversity and some equality: non-marital legal family formats for same-sex couples in Europe’. Thirdly, he is looking how international legal standards concerning sexual orientation have been or could be emerging in different sub-areas of international law.

Kees Waaldijk published his first article on the opening up of marriage in 1987. His later publications include the article ‘ Same-Sex Partnership, International Protection’ in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (updated version 2013). He is co-author of a number of books, including:

For all his publications since 1996, see the tab ‘Publications’ above. For his publications since 1981 (and up to 2010), see:

Kees Waaldijk has been acting as a formal and informal adviser on issues of law & homosexuality to many (governmental, non-governmental, international) organisations. These include the governments of Canada and Vietnam, COC Nederland, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, and the UN Development Program. He also had an active role in several test cases and legislative lobbies, spreading news and information about sexual orientation law as it unfolded. He has given trainings to activists and politicians from different countries.

He was a member of the Dutch Government's Commission of legal experts advising on the opening up of civil marriage to same-sex couples (1996-1997), and a member of the Dutch Council for Family Affairs (1994-1999). From 1999 to 2007 he was one of the editors of the annual collection of opinions of the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission. He has been advising on evaluation studies commissioned by the Dutch government about the workings of the General Equal Treatment Act (1999), of the Law on Registered Partnership (1999 and 2006) and of the Law on the Opening Up of Marriage (2006).

From 2002 to 2004 he coordinated the European Group of Experts on Combating Sexual Orientation Discrimination, which reported to the Commission of the European Communities, about the implementation of the Employment Equality Directive. He is a founding member of the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law.

Since 2011 he is an adviser to the editors of the annual report State-Sponsored Homophobia, a world survey of laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex loves, published by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association). And he is a member of the Committee of Recommendation of the LGBTI network organisation Leiden University Pride.


Professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law

  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Publiekrecht
  • Internationaal Publiekrecht

Work address

Wijnhaven Building
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP Den Haag
Room number 4.45



  • European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law (ECSOL - www.sexualorientationlaw.eu) Member for the Netherlands - and Member of the Admission Committee
  • Int. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (www.ilga.org) Adviser for the annual report "State-sponsored Homophobia - A world survey of laws"
  • Leiden University Pride (www.lupride.nl) Member of the Committee of Recommendation
  • Various non-governmental, governmental and international organisations Occasional ad hoc adviser on issues of sexual orientation law