About Thomas

Foto: Bob Bronshoff

Foto: Bob Bronshoff

Thomas Spijkerboer (1963) is professor of Migration Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is one of the lecturers in the master’s track on International Migration and Refugee Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

He studied law at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. From 1982 to 1986 he worked as a volunteer at the Rechtswinkel Amsterdam (legal clinic), specializing in housing law. From 1986 to 1993, he worked at Advokatenkollektief Zaanstreek (lawyers’ collective), where he specialized in asylum cases. Between 1993 and 2000 he was a lecturer in Migration law at the Catholic University Nijmegen. In Nijmegen he wrote his dissertation Gender and Refugee Status (Ashgate, 2000; Praemium Erasmianum 2001), combining qualitative, quantitative and purely legal approaches.

Since 2000 Thomas works at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he established the research group on migration law, which is nowadays one of the largest research groups on the issue worldwide. From 2001 to 2006, he co-directed (together with Kees Groenendijk) the research project Transnationality and Citizenship: New Approaches to Migration Law, carried out with the Catholic University Nijmegen and funded by NWO (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). In 2010-2011, he carried out the research project Fleeing Homophobia. Asylum claims related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the EU, funded by the EU and initiated by COC Nederland. This project resulted in a report and an edited volume.

Since 2013, he leads the research project Border Policies and Sovereignty. Human rights and the right to life of irregular migrants, funded by NWO (see the migrant deaths page on this website). In addition, he functions as head of the NWO-funded research project Migration Law as a Family Matter, which was initiated by the late Sarah van Walsum.

You can contact Thomas at t.p.spijkerboer@vu.nl, Twitter @ThomasS_VU.