Thomas Spijkerboer

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+31 20 59 86274
faculteit der rechtsgeleerdheid/faculty of law ( staats- en bestuursrecht )
Professor of Migration Law
Curriculum vitae
  • 1982-1986: Rechtswinkel Amsterdam (legal clinic)
  • 1986-1993: Advokatenkollektief Zaanstreek (lawyers’ collective)
  • 1993-2000: Catholic University Nijmegen
  • 2000-present: VU Amsterdam
At the Rechtswinkel Thomas Spijkerboer worked at the Housing section, and specialised in rent control law. As a lawyer he specialised in asylum cases. In Nijmegen he taught courses in European Migration Law, Dutch Migration Law and International Refugee Law. His dissertation (Gender and Refugee Status, 1999) combines qualitative, quantitative and purely legal approaches. At VU University he initiated a research Group on migration law. He is one of the lecturers in the master’s track International Migration and Refugee Law.

Research activities

Thomas Spijkerboer conducts research in the programme Migration Law. This programme participates in the Migration & Diversity Centre of VU University Amsterdam.

At this moment, he heads the research project ‘Border Policies and Sovereignty. Human Rights and the right to life or irregular migrants’. As part of this, he is carrying out a subproject about the human rights aspects of this. This topic is closely related to the current crisis of migration and refugee law and policy.

In addition, he is the ad interim head of the research project ‘Migration Law as a Family Matter’, which was initiated by the late Sarah van Walsum.

Other research topics concern the role of the judiciary in Dutch migration law. In the past, he has also focussed on the relation between migration law, gender and sexuality (inter alia the research project 'Fleeing Homophobia'); the role of courts in migration law; and the legal position of undocumented activists in Amsterdam and other cities.


  • Structures and tensions in migration and refuugee law
  • Irregular migration

International, European en Dutch migration law; International, European en Dutch asylum and refugee law; Legal theory, in particular critical legal studies and queer theory.

Main publications

  • Coercion, Prohibition, and Great Expectations. The continuing failure of the Common European Asylum System, Common Market Law Review 53 (2016), p. 607-642   (Met Maarten den Heijer en Jorrit Rijpma)
  • Fleeing Homophobia. Sexual orientation, gender identity and asylum (editor), London & New York: Routledge 2013 (239 p.)
  • On The Morality and Legality of Borders: Border Policies and Asylum Seekers, in Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2013 (26), p. 1-38 (with Tally Kritzman-Amir)
  • Analysing European Case-Law on Migration: Options for Critical Lawyers, in Loïc Azoulai and Karin de Vries (eds): EU Migration Law. Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law, Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 188-218
  • Moving Migrants, States, and Rights. Human Rights and Border Deaths, in Law and Ethics of Human Rights 2013 (7), p. 213-242

See also the personal website

Postal address
VU University Amsterdam
Faculteit of Law
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam 

Ancillary activities

Jurisprudentie Vreemdelingenrecht - Unknown Den Haag, 01 januari 2010
European Journal of Migration and Law - Unknown Leiden, 02 december 2013
Rechtspraak Vreemdelingenrecht - Unknown Nijmegen, 02 december 2013
Last changes Ancillary activities: Amsterdam 27 januari 2017