Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award


In 1995 Tilburg University decided to introduce a Human Rights Award for academic publications in the area of human rights, with a view to draw more attention to this field of study in academic education and research. In 2002 the award was renamed the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award in honour of the Dutch Minister of State, first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and former UN Rapporteur on human rights in Iraq, Mr. Max van der Stoel. In 2019, it was decided that the Tilburg Law School and the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) will jointly organise the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award on a bi-annual basis starting in 2019.
Nominations for this award can be submitted by all faculties linked to universities in the Netherlands and the Flemish community, as well as the Asser Institute (as the coordinator of the NNHRR).

Eligible candidates
The award is conceived as an incentive award for young researchers, and the nominations are limited to graduate, pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. Senior academic staff cannot compete. Awards are presented in two categories:

  • Category 1 for the best doctoral dissertation; and
  • Category 2 for the best non-dissertation academic text (notably a Master thesis, or a paper published in an academic journal).

Each faculty can nominate only one candidate in each category. Different nominations coming from various faculties within the same university are also admissible. The total prize money is € 4,500, to be distributed as indicated by the jury.

‘Human rights’ are conceived of in a broad sense, to include such traditional human rights as the right to free speech and the right not to be tortured, as well as social and economic rights, such as the right to food, housing, education, and health care. Publications may also look at human rights enjoyment by specific groups, for instance through the lens of gender, age or ethnicity, or human rights in specific situations, such as emergencies and during or after violent conflicts. Studies can focus as well on human rights procedures, institutions and other forms of implementation, monitoring and enforcement. They may be theoretical in nature or based on empirical research.
To be eligible for nomination, doctoral dissertations must have been defended between 1 July 2019 and 1 June 2021; manuscripts in the second category, non-dissertation academic texts, must have been defended or published between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2021. Only manuscripts written in Dutch or English will be considered.

Candidates or nominators must inform their faculty board of their intended submission in due time. Each faculty can nominate only one candidate in each category and nominations will be made according to the faculty’s internal procedures. In their electronic application, candidates must submit a cover letter signed by a representative of their faculty confirming their nomination
There are two separate deadlines to submit the manuscripts:

  • For doctoral dissertations (category 1) the deadline for submission is 1 July 2021;
  • For non-dissertation academic texts (category 2) the deadline is 1 October 2021.

The manuscripts must be submitted electronically to and five copies of each text must be mailed by post to the Asser Institute (P.O. box 30461 2500 GL The Hague). The submissions should also include the contact details of the candidates and their supervisors.



Submit before

Doctoral dissertations

Between 1 July 2019 and  01 June 2021

1 July 2021

Non-dissertation text

Between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2021

1 October 2021


All manuscripts will be evaluated and the award winners selected by an international jury that has been composed by Tilburg University and the Steering Committee of the NNHRR. This year’s members of the jury are:

  • Dr Koen Lemmers, Professor at Human Rights Law at KU Leuven
  • Dr Jos Dute, Professor of Health Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Dr Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Professor of Practice of International Law at Maastricht University and Judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Hamburg
  • Dr Eva Rieter, Assistant professor of International and European Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen

The Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award 2021 will be presented at Tilburg University on 10 December 2021 (more details to be announced).

Additional information
For more information, please contact Ms. Hanna Thuránszky at

Coordinated by