Leiden University gets ‘lobby industry’ prof, paid by lobby industry

Leiden University has appointed a new visiting professor of public affairs, whose job is to look into the work of lobbyists in the Netherlands and their role in influencing political decisions.

The new professor is Arco Timmermans, director of research at the Montesquieu Institute, which researches European parliamentary history. The new position, a first for a Dutch university, is being sponsored by the lobby industry itself.

‘We think it important that there is more structural academic research into lobbying and public affairs in the Netherlands,’ Marcel Halma, chairman of the lobby association BVPA, told the Volkskrant.


Timmermans told the paper his role is to develop an overview of the Dutch lobby industry and the success for different strategies.

‘The more I understand about the process, the more I can contribute to transparency,’ he said. ‘I am not here as a tame professor to show the lobby in a sympathetic light.’

The BVPA has 600 members. Parliament has had a compulsory register for lobbyists since 2012 and 75 lobbyists have a permanent pass for parliament, the Volkskrant said.

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