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The Executive Board has appointed Flemish academic and former politician Frank Vandenbroucke as University Professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). As University Professor Vandenbroucke will stimulate research into and debate on the social meaning of the European Union. His appointment is effective 1 November 2015.

Photographer: Jeroen Oerlemans

Vandenbroucke will combine insights from economic, social and political science research. A key question in this regard is: on the basis of which normative foundations can the EU legitimise and develop (social) policy. Vandenbroucke will collaborate closely with ACCESS EUROPE, a platform between the UvA and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) that is focused on teaching, research and public debate about Europe and the European Union. He will also work together with the UvA’s Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR).

‘Frank Vandenbroucke is a leading authority in the area of the European Union and the development of social and employment policy within EU member states. He combines a breadth of experience in both politics and academia, thereby enabling him to link both perspectives’, says Prof. Dymph van den Boom, Rector Magnificus of the UvA. ‘I am extremely pleased that Vandenbroucke will join the UvA as University Professor.’

Political and academic career

Professor Frank Vandenbroucke (1955) studied economics in Leuven and Cambridge, and obtained his doctorate at Oxford with a dissertation in the field of social and political philosophy. In Belgium he was a member of parliament from 1985 to 1996, and again from 1999 to 2011, excluding the periods in which he held ministerial posts. As minister in successive federal Belgian governments, he was responsible for social security, healthcare, pensions and employment (1999-2004). He was deputy prime minister within the Flemish government and responsible for education and employment (2004-2009). Vandenbroucke was closely involved in the launch of the Lisbon Strategy by the European Union in 2000, especially the strategy’s social dimensions. 

Vandenbroucke is currently professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business at KU Leuven. He also holds the ‘Herman Deleeck’ chair at the University of Antwerp (UA). He will continue to hold this chair alongside his position as University Professor and will retain close links with KU Leuven.

In 2011 Vandenbroucke was named professor by special appointment in the Den Uyl chair at the University of Amsterdam. He also gave seminars at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Vandenbroucke holds various advisory and administrative positions. In 2013 he was appointed in Belgium as chair of the Pensions Reform Committee 2020-2040 and more recently as chair of the Academic Council that will permanently supervise pensions policy. Vandenbroucke also has a seat on the advisory boards of various European networks as regards social policy and research. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the think tank Friends of Europe and an adviser on social policy at the Parisian think tank Notre Europe.

University Professors

University Professors are charged with giving impetus to academic developments that transcend the traditional disciplines and make an important contribution to the profiling of the university. University Professors are not aligned to one discipline or faculty. In addition to Frank Vandenbroucke, the UvA has another five University Professors: Robbert Dijkgraaf, Louise Gunning, Henk van Os, Alexander Rinnooy Kan and Patti Valkenburg.