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Joost van den Akker

Researcher / PhD student 2012-2018

Phone: +31 6 23199826
Fax: +31 20 890 1010
Email: Joost van der Akker


In September 2012 Joost started his PhD research on Governmental Action in EU-related referendums at the Public Administration department of the faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences at the University of Twente, supervised by Prof. Dr. Kees Aarts and as co-supervisors Dr. Henk van der Kolk and Dr. Eric van de Luijtgaarden. In July 2018 he successfully defended his PhD thesis Ruling the Referendum? European Integration Challenged by Direct Democracy.

Referendums on European integration play a prominent role in the decision-making processes in current European democracies. Between 1972 and 2016, 61 EU-related referendums took place across 28 countries. In his dissertation, Joost investigated under which conditions governments win such EU-related referendums. In 2015 he received a ‘PhD Scholarship for Teachers’ grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) to support his research.

Between 2009 and 2018 Joost has worked as a lecturer in European Studies at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht and the research group Preventive Law. Since 2011, Joost has presented several papers on academic conferences such as MPSA, IPSA, ECPR, Politicologenetmaal, and Euroacademia. In 2017, Joost van den Akker contributed to the study “Referendums on EU matters”, commissioned by the European Parliament. In 2008 Joost worked as a trainee account officer at the European Parliament's Information Office in The Hague. Commissioned by the City of Maastricht, in 2006-2007 he wrote the jubilee book “Maastricht the treaty” on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty.


  • EU-related referendums
  • Comparative (party) politics and regional government
  • European law (constitutional law / EU decision making process / competition law)
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)PUBLICATIONS


Van den Akker, J.P. (forthcoming 2019). The Dutch Referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. In Smith, J. (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook on European Referendums. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Van den Akker, J.P. (2018). Ruling the Referendum? European Integration Challenged by Direct Democracy. PhD thesis, defensed July 4, 2018.

Van den Akker, J.P. (2018). EU-referendum hoeft speelruimte regering niet te beperken. In: Nederlands Juristenblad – afl. 29 – 7-9-2018, pp. 2224-2225.

Van den Akker, J.P. (2017). The Netherlands: The Dutch EU referendums on the Constitutional Treaty (2005) and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (2016). In: F. Mendez and M. Mendez (Eds.) Referendums on EU Matters. Study commissioned by the European Parliament at the request of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, pp. 188-208.

Van den Akker, J.P. 2016). “Referenda in Europa beproeven verdragen en vertrouwen”, Artikel in Internationale Spectator 3 - 2016 (jrg. 70), 14 september 2016

M. van de Velde (scribent), J. van den Akker, C. van den Berg, P. van Schie, H. Zilverentand (2013). "De plicht der politieke partijen. Kiezers, partijleden en politici in een open partijendemocratie". Den Haag: Teldersstichting, geschrift 118. Samenvatting.


  • Artikel
    “Referendumfobie nekt vertrouwen in Europa”, De Volkskrant 14 juli 2016
  • Brief
    “Deal met Cameron vooral symbolisch”, NRC Handelsblad, 27 februari 2016
  • Opiniestuk
    "Oekraïne-verdrag is niet te lastig voor referendum", met Koen van der Krieken, Trouw, 23 januari 2016
  • Opiniestuk
    “JA!” over het GeenPeil-referendum, NRC Handelsblad, 3 oktober 2015 
  • Opiniestuk
    "Zwitsers referendum is Europees probleem", in de Volkskrant, 28 februari 2014

For more publications, please visit the research group Preventive Law.


2009-2010: LLM European Law School at Maastricht University
2007-2008: MA Analysing Europe / Europastudien at Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University
2004-2007: BA European Studies at Maastricht University
2006-2007: Erasmus-semester history/political science at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
1998-2004: Grammar School at Coornhert Gymnasium in Gouda