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Prof. F.A. Nelissen (1960) has been appointed Professor of International Marine Environmental Law at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Law.

Dhr. prof. dr. (Frans) Nelissen

As Professor of International Marine Environmental Law, Nelissen’s work will take him to the juncture between international environmental law and the law of the sea, with a focus on the sustainable management of the oceans and the rights and obligations of parties, including nation states, with respect to oil and gas exploration and exploitation and the transportation of hazardous substances by sea. Nelissen’s discipline is of particular importance given the major threats facing the marine environment caused, in part, by the lack of supervision by national governments on large portions of the seas and oceans.


Nelissen studied Dutch, European and International Law at Leiden University. He earned his PhD cum laude with the PhD thesis ‘Shipwrecks and rickety ships: an international law perspective based on environmental considerations’ (Scheepswrakken en wrakke schepen: een volkenrechtelijke beschouwing vanuit milieu-perspectief) from the University of Groningen. From 1985 until 1997, Nelissen taught International Law at the University of Groningen, with a special focus on international environmental law and the law of the sea. In 1998, he was appointed deputy director of the T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague, the interuniversity institute specialised in international private and public law and European law in the Netherlands, of which the UvA acts as the lead organisation on behalf of the Dutch universities. Nelissen served as general director of this institute from 1999 until 2012. Since 1999, Nelissen has worked as a part-time professor of International Environmental Law at the University of Groningen.


Nelissen’s publications cover a range of subjects, including the law of the sea, international environmental law, the law of international organisations and The Hague as the world’s legal capital. Nelissen also works on consultancy projects and acts as a legal adviser, as when he advised the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management on the application of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) with respect to traditional shipping. Owing to his expertise in the areas of law and sustainability, Nelissen is also, for example, a member of the jury of the Dutch Union of Water Boards, which will award the national water innovation prize for the first time in 2012.