Arco Timmermans Professor of Public Affairs by special appointment

Dr Arco Timmermans starts on 1 September 2013 in his new function as Professor of Public Affairs by special appointment at Leiden University Campus The Hague. He is the first professor in the Netherlands to carry out research into the role and significance of lobbying in the Netherlands.

What does the lobbying field look like?

The chair was created on the initiative of the Professional Association for Public Affairs (Beroepsvereniging voor Public Affairs (BVPA)). In his function as professor by special appointment, Arco Timmermans will be focusing on lobbying in the Netherlands. Timmermans: ‘Here are some of the questions I will be asking: What does the lobbying field look like? Which interests are well represented, and which ones are less visible? How effective are the lobbying organisations? What determines their success, and how do they build their reputation?’

More research required

Marcel Halma, Chairman of the BVPA, views this appointment as a milestone. ‘We find it important, as a professional association, to have more structural scientific research on lobbying and public affairs in the Netherlands, and this exceptional chair makes it possible,' says Halma. The new chair has already attracted a lot of media attention, which comes as no surprise to Timmermans. He is repeatedly asked how he can remain independent in this position. Timmermans: ‘I emphasise that I am not a token professor who is supposed to make lobbyists look friendly. I have a neutral stance towards the parties involved. The fact that I am not a professional lobbyist myself is a great advantage.’


How is Timmermans going to carry out his research? ‘I will be speaking to many actors in the field: politicians, public servants and lobbyists. I will certainly not limit myself to the industrial sector. I will also consider the role of NGOs. I want to investigate how all the parties involved, including the media, frame a given topic; how they try to shape public opinion. I will also try to find out which strategies are successful and which have unanticipated adverse effects.’ Timmermans will be studying lobbying actions for large-scale political themes such as energy, cybersecurity and the housing market. In addition, he will also be looking at lobbying in other European countries, so that he can place the Dutch practices in an international perspective. ‘It’s interesting to compare, to see whether Dutch lobbying is above average or not.’

Teaching in the study programme on Public Affairs

Timmermans studied Political Science in Leiden and he completed his dissertation at the European University Institute in Florence on Dutch and Belgian coalition agreements. Since 2007, he has been working at the Institute of Public Administration of Campus The Hague, where he will also be teaching as part of the study programme on Public Affairs. In addition, since 2009 he has been Research Director of the Montesquieu Institute in The Hague.


The BVPA is the Dutch Professional Association for Public Affairs. The association represents the interests of all public affairs professionals in the Netherlands. The BVPA aims to increase the professional standing of its members by providing them with knowledge, skills, and information on recent developments in public affairs. The BVPA initiated, and together with insurance provider Achmea and consultancies Dröge & van Drimmelen, EPPA and FleishmanHillard also funded the Foundation for a Chair in Public Affairs which led to Timmermans’ appointment.

(26 August 2013)

See also

See also

Law, Democracy and Governance: Legitimacy in a Multilevel Setting is one of the six themes for research at Leiden University.

Studying in Leiden

Political Science

Political Science and Public Administration (2 specialisations)

Last Modified: 02-09-2013