Prof. J.A. (Jacob) v. Belzen enjoyed his academic studies. He enrolled in different programmes and obtained doctorates in
- social sciences (U of Utrecht, Netherlands)
- history (Free University Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- philosophy (U. of Leuven, Belgium)
- sciences of religion ( Åbo Akademi, Turku , Finland ).
In 1993 he accepted an invitation from the University of Amsterdam to take the position of a full professor for the psychology of religion, with a special request for research and international work. He has a long-standing interest in cultural psychology, an interdisciplinary field within which he is especially interested in the historical nature of the human being. Next to work in theoretical psychology, a major part of his many publications have been founded on extensive empirical research in psychohistorical, esp. psychobiographical studies and in the history of psychology. He has been active in many national and international organizations and in publication media in the history of the human sciences and in the psychology of religion. Besides being a member of the board of a number of professional organizations, he acted for some decades as Secretary-General of the European Association for the Psychology of Religion; he reorganized and is past president of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion. He was founding Editor-in-chief of the International Series in the Psychology of Religion, and is serving on the editorial board of a number of psychology journals.
An enthusiastic lecturer, he was distinguished by Amsterdam students and he has been internationally awarded for the quality of his teaching. At a number of foreign universities, he has been invited for lectures and other types of instruction, oftentimes repeatedly.
Prof. Belzen organized about 25 international conferences. Besides publishing well over 200 articles, mostly in peer-reviewed, impact factor assessed media, he authored and edited some 45 books and special issues of journals. He received several international awards and distinctions. In 2001, prof. Belzen was elected Fellow with the American Psychological Association; in 2003 he received its prestigious tri-annual William James-Award "for exceptional and sustained contributions to the psychology of religion". He lectured in a variety of countries and addressed numerous conferences. At a number of international universities, he acted as visiting (research) professor or as visiting Fellow.
Since 2010, he is greatly hindered by serious medical problems.