Universiteit Leiden

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Maartje van der Woude


Prof.mr.dr. M.A.H. van der Woude
+31 71 527 7552

Maartje van der Woude (1980) is Professor of Sociology of Law at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Development and Associate professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology.

More information about Maartje van der Woude

Maartje van der Woude (1980) is Professor of Sociology of Law at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Development and Associate professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology. With a background in Law and Criminology, in December 2010 Van der Woude successfully defended her interdisciplinary doctoral thesis “Legislation in a Culture of Control” (Boom Legal Publishers). With Dutch counterterrorism legislation as an ‘extreme’ case-study she successfully aimed to shed light on the politicized nature of the legislative procedure and the implications thereof for the legitimacy, necessity and effectiveness of the counterterrorism measures that were implemented in the Dutch Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure. Part of her thesis was written while Van der Woude was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society of the University of California in Berkeley. 


In her research, Van der Woude is interested in the interplay between political decision-making, decision-making by more street-level criminal justice actors and the boundaries set by the Rule of Law and international human rights. Within this broad spectrum she tends to focus on uncovering and understanding rationales behind decision-making processes as well as on the (un)intended effects of decision-making. She seeks these effects on a more theoretical and normative level by questioning the impact of decision-making on procedural justice, systemic inequality and the fundamental principles underlying criminal law and criminal justice. Based on her dissertation and research achievements, Van der Woude was recently (2015) awarded the Dutch-Belgian Ada & Paul Cornil Prize. 

Prof. van der Woude’s expertise lies with legal and social matters related to (counter)terrorism, (border)security and immigration, and the growing interconnectedness of all three. The latter is also referred to as the process of crimmigration or the securitization of migration. Her current research on border control and border communities in the EU, for which Prof. Van der Woude was granted one of the competitive VIDI grants as issued by the  Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), takes an interdisciplinary approach by focusing both on the legal normative questions as well as the empirical questions. By studying the political discourse and legislation on both the level of the EU as well as on the Member State level Van der Woude aims provide insight into the interaction and complex dynamics between the level of supranational decision-making and the level of national decision-making. Who are the responsible actors for border control decisions, and what are the political and humanitarian interests at stake? To what extent do the decisions on a supranational level leave discretionary space for the member states in further developing specific rules and regulations? And, while further descending, how do these rules and regulations on internal border control play out on the street-level and how do they affect border communities? Together with two PhD students she recently finished the case study of the Netherlands for which the team spent over 800 hours in the field with the Dutch Military and Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee). The results of this study have been published, in Dutch, by Boom Criminologie (Beslissen in Grensgebieden, 2016).

Van der Woude’s research takes place within the context of the University-wide research programme Criminal Justice: Legitimacy, Accountability, and Effectivity and Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights in a Pluralist World


Van der Woude teaches a variety of courses at both the undergraduate and the graduate level such as Criminal Law, Law and Society, Introduction to Sociology of Law, Discrimination in Law & Society and  Risk Security & the Rule of Law. She teaches both in English and in Dutch. In the Spring semester of 2014 Van der Woude was a visiting professor at UC Hastings College of the Law  in San Francisco where she taught Risk, Security and Crimmigration. As a visiting professor at the University of Maryland in the spring of 2016, where she taught Immigration Policy at and Risk & Securty. Maartje is also a highly active member of Leiden University’s Honours Academy: Since 2005 she’s involved in organizing and teaching honours courses and summer course. Since 2013 she’s mentoring honours students who are participating in the Leiden Leadership Program.

Ancillary positions

Van der Woude is on the Board of Directors of the Crimmigration Control International Net of Studies (CINETS) and on the organizing committee of the Collaborative Research Network on Citizenship & Immigration of the Law and Society Association. She’s editor in Chief of the Dutch Criminal Justice journal Proces, Tijdschrift voor Strafrechtspleging. Since 2014 Van der Woude is a deputy judge at the criminal court of Noord-Holland.

Photographer portraitpicture: Liesbeth Dingemans


  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Metajuridica
  • Recht en bestuur ontwikkelingslanden/VVI

Work address

Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number B 3.19



  • Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit Redactielid
  • Criminological Encounters Advisory Board Open Acces Journal Criminological Encounters
  • Rechtbank Noord-Holland Rechter Plaatsvervanger
  • Kluwer Auteur Tekst & Commentaar Strafrecht
  • Law & Society Association - Collaborative Research Network Citizenship & Migration Board Member
  • Crimmigration Control International Net of Studies (CINETS) Board Member