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Willem Trommel awarded Instituut Gak Fellowship for study on future of the welfare state

Willem Trommel, Professor of Public Policy and Governance has been awarded the very first Instituut Gak Fellowship. Trommel will explore the future of the welfare state.

“There is a growing belief that welfare policy should be developed and organised on the local level, close to the manifestation of welfare issues. Very plausible,” says Willem Trommel. “However, it is also believed that the (globalizing) world would be better off with welfare policies ‘beyond borders’. Also very reasonable. Can we make sense of these paradoxical expectations by visualizing possible ‘glocal’ welfare landscapes?”

During his fellowship, Trommel will explore these future welfare landscapes by bringing together people from different societal spheres (scientists, artists, policymakers, businessmen). An important aim of this project is to pay homage to Abram De Swaan’s famous work “In care of the state”, which analysed the birth and development of national welfare states. The goal is to rethink De Swaan’s magnus opus in the light of globalization and localization of social policy.

About Willem Trommel

Willem Trommel is Professor of Public Policy and Governance at VU University Amsterdam and fellow at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS). His work focuses on policy, governance and politics in late modernity. He is the author of Crafting Local Welfare Landscapes (2013) and Manufacturing Civil Society (2014), amongst other. Trommel is also Chair of the Flemish/Dutch Division of the European Social Policy Association.



This is the first time the Instituut Gak Fellowship has been awarded. This fellowship stimulates advanced research in the fields of social security and labour market policy. “In times of welfare state restructuring and increasing insecurities, I very much welcome the first GAK-fellow to the NIAS community of researchers to investigate the various scales (local, national, European) relevant for the future of welfare and wellbeing,” says Jan Willem Duyvendak, director of NIAS. Willem Trommel will start his 5 months fellowship in February 2018.

Instituut Gak

Instituut Gak is a foundation that aims to improve the quality of social security and labour-market policy in the Netherlands by funding practical projects and scientific research. The Instituut Gak supports numerous research projects and has established sixteen endowed chairs at universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands.