For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Dr R.H.M. (Roland) Pierik

Universitair hoofddocent rechtsfilosofie
Faculty of Law
Dep. Jurisprudence
Photographer: Liesbeth Dingemans

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: A8.02
Postal address
  • Postbus 15654
    1001 ND Amsterdam
Social media
  • Profile


    Roland Pierik is Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam.

    In addition, he is:

    Paul Scholten Centre

    The Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence (PSC) is the meta-juridical research institute in the Amsterdam Law School. We are the pivotal centre for the legal-theoretical, i.e. empirical, historic and normative study of the law. Our research revolves around our research program Law in Contexts.

    Health Council

    The Health Council of the Netherlands – de Gezondheidsraad – is an independent scientific advisory body whose legal task it is to advise ministers and Parliament in the field of public health. I have been appointed by Royal decree on 1 January 2018. I am actively involved in the Standing Vaccinations Committee and the ad hoc HPV Committee (human papillomavirus).

    Research interests
    My research interests revolve around the question of how liberal democracies should deal with cases of colluding fundamental rights or conflicts between fundamental rights and other central ideals within constitutional democracies: the rule of law or democracy. I study fundamental rights both as legal-philosophical concepts and as legally enforceable rights as they have been formalized in human rights conventions, especially the ECHR. 
    I have analyzed a myriad of such legal disputes and policy dilemmas: the discussion of the crucifix in Italian public school before the EC(t)HR; the role of human rights in the regulation of transnational clinical trials; The shared responsibility of nation states to protect fundamental human rights for all; and the tension between universal human rights and national identity.

    His research interests lie at the intersections of legal philosophy, political theory, law and public policy, especially contemporary liberal theories of justice and their application in plural societies. His recent work focusses on human rights, fundamental rights, the rule of law, religious diversity, and globalization.

    Since 2013, my research interests increasingly gravitated towards the legal regulation of childhood vaccination against infectious diseases. Several (conflicting) fundamental rights are pivotal in these discussions: the freedom of religion and conscience of non-vaccinating parents, the right to bodily integrity, but also the right to health of unvaccinated children – in particular Art. 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, stating that in all actions concerning children, their best interests must be a primary consideration of state agencies. Other relevant considerations are the responsibility of the state to protect public health and vulnerable citizens. 

    I am currently working on a monograph entitled Inducing Immunity: The Regulation of Vaccination  (with Marcel Verweij). In this book, we analyse the conditions under which a liberal-democratic government should make vaccination against infectious diseases such as such as measles, polio and whooping cough mandatory.

    Earlier appointments

    Before he came to Amsterdam, he taught political theory at Radboud University Nijmegen and legal theory at Tilburg University.
    In 2015 and 2016 he was affiliated as a ‘visiting fellow’ to the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Leuven. Before that, he was a visiting scholar at the Centre for the Study of Social Justice of Oxford University (2013), University College London (2005), Columbia University (2004) and Ottawa University (1997-1998). 


    Core publications:

    Full list of publications

    Supervision of PhD students:

    • Geoff Gordon (International legal theory, VU University Amsterdam, Innate Cosmopolitanism, (successfully defended on 22 April 2013).
    • Hadassa Noorda Thinking war in the 21st century: Introducing non-state actors in Just war theory (successfully defended on 27 Oktober 2016), with prof. Marc de Wilde.
    • Tamar de Waal Conditional Belonging: A Legal-Philosophical Inquiry into Integration Requirements for Immigrants in Europe. (successfully defended on 21 September 2017) with prof. Marc de Wilde and prof. Will Kymlicka.
    • Lars Nickelson (Political Theory, UvA, 2013 –) on the governance of religious pluralism, with dr Marcel Maussen.
    • Steven Kraaijeveld (Public health ethics, Wageningen University, 2018 –) on altruistic vaccination.



  • Publications


    • Pierik, R. H. M. (2019). Do nation states share a responsibility to secure the necessary conditions for a dignified existence? In L. Gunnarsson, U. Mürbe, & N. Weiß (Eds.), The Human Right to a Dignified Existence: Legal and Philosophical Perspectives (pp. 71-94). Baden Baden: Hart Publishers/Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.







    • Pierik, R. (2012). Burgerschap en inburgering. Recht der Werkelijkheid, 33(1), 20-40. [details]
    • Pierik, R. (2012). State Neutrality and the Limits of Religious Symbolism. In J. Temperman (Ed.), The Lautsi papers: multidisciplinary reflections on religious symbols in the public school classroom (pp. 201-218). (Studies in religion, secular beliefs and human rights; No. 11). Leiden, Boston: Brill. [details]


    • Gordon, G., & Pierik, R. (2011). Liberal political philosophy: the role of non-state actors and considerations of global justice. In B. Reinalda (Ed.), The Ashgate research companion to non-state actors (pp. 133-146). (Ashgate research companions). Farnham: Ashgate. [details]
    • Pierik, R. (2011). Because it is normative, stupid! Over de rol van politieke theorie binnen de politicologie. Res Publica, 53(1), 9-29. [details]
    • Pierik, R., & van der Burg, W. (2011). The Neutral State and the Mandatory Crucifix. Religion and Human Rights, 6(3), 267-272. [details]


    • Pierik, R. (2010). Mind the gap! Over het (vermeende) belang van de verschillen tussen common law en civil law voor de rechtsfilosofie. Recht der Werkelijkheid, 31(2), 49-53. [details]
    • Pierik, R., & Werner, W. (2010). Can cosmopolitanism survive institutionalization? In R. Pierik, & W. Werner (Eds.), Cosmopolitanism in context: perspectives from international law and political theory (pp. 277-289). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [details]
    • Pierik, R., & Werner, W. (2010). Cosmopolitanism in context: an introduction. In R. Pierik, & W. Werner (Eds.), Cosmopolitanism in context: perspectives from international law and political theory (pp. 1-16). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [details]






    • Pierik, R. (2013). Dan toch maar een vaccinatieplicht? Nederlands Juristenblad, 88(40), 2798-2807. [2362]. [details]
    • Pierik, R. (2013). De opvoedende overheid: ingrijpen in de ouder-kindrelatie. Idee, 34(4), 26-29. [details]


    • Pierik, R. (2012). Het EHRM en het Europese rechtsstatelijk deficit: een analyse van de Lautsi-zaak. Nederlands Juristenblad, 87(20), 1382-1389. [1170]. [details]


    • Pierik, R., & Werner, W. (Eds.) (2010). Cosmopolitanism in context: perspectives from international law and political theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [details]


    • Houwerzijl, M. S., & Pierik, R. (2006). Western Policies on Child Labor Abroad, Ethics & International Affairs (EIA). Ethics and International Affairs, 20(2), 193-218.

    Talk / presentation

    • Pierik, R. H. M. (speaker) (9-3-2017). Is liberal-nationalism an oxymoron? On the elusive character of national identity, Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen.
    • Pierik, R. H. M. (speaker) (10-9-2016). Religious symbolism in the public sphere: a post-nationalist critique of identity claims, ECPR General Conference, Prague, Hungary.
    • Pierik, R. H. M. (speaker) (2-7-2016). Between Public Health and Parental Discretion: The Legal Regulation of Childhood Vaccination., Annual meeting of the Society of Applied Philosopy, Belfast, United Kingdom.
    • Pierik, R. H. M. (speaker) (27-6-2016). On Religious and Secular Exemptions. A Case Study of Childhood Vaccination Waivers, Annual meeting of the Association of Legal and Social Philosophy, London, United Kingdom.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Gezondheidsraad
      Lid van de Vaste Commissie Vaccinaties van de Gezondheidsraad.
    • Gezondheidsraad
      formeel lid van de Gezondheidsraad.
    • Gezondheidsraad
      Lid van de tijdelijke commissie HPV (Humaan Papillomavirus)