Photo of Merlijn Hulst, van
  • Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221, Montesquieu Building, room M 517

    5037 DE Tilburg



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Personal profile

Current courses

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Currently, I am an Associate Professor at Tilburg Law School (Tilburg Institute of Governance, department of Public Law & Governance). I have a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Utrecht University, and a PhD in Public Administration from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Over the last years, I have been a project leader on various projects, including a join research on smart urban intermediaries and on civil servants work practices. I live in Utrecht with my partner and our two daughters.  

Research interests

My research focuses on the work practices employed in the governance of public challenges. I have studied the practices of civil servants, police officers and intermediaries (we have also called them exemplary practitioners and best persons). In addition, I have studied storytelling in local government and at the police. Furthermore, I specialize in interpretive analyses, narrative and frame analysis in particular, and in ethnographic fieldwork. I have published about my research in a broad range of journals across the social sciences, including Public Administration Review; The American Review of Public Administration; Organization Studies; The British Journal of Criminology; Planning Theory; and Media, Culture & Society.  


In the Public Administration Bachelor I teach a course in Organization Science. The rest of my teaching focuses on doing (qualitative) research. I teach a beginner’s course in Qualitative methods for the Public Administration bachelor students and an advanced course in qualitative analyses for the join Research Master in Public Administration and Organisational Science. I am also co-teaching a course on conducting research for the Netherlands Institute of Governance (PhD students from political science and public administration). Finally, I am involved in methods courses for PhD students at the Tilburg Law School.  

Research interests

Merlijn van Hulst's general interest is in working practices and cultures in the public domain. He specializes in narrative analysis. He has been involved in a variety of research projects that focus on local governance and has also studied practitioners in urban neighbourhoods. In addition, he studies the Dutch police force.


Merlijn van Hulst worked as a consultant for Cap Gemini from 1999 untill 2002. In 2002 he was hired by the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In January 2008 he received his PhD and started to work at the Tilburg School of Politics and Public Administration (TSPPA). His general interest is in sense and meaning making in politics, policy making and public administration. He specializes in narrative analysis. He has been involved in a variety of research projects that focus on local governance and urban neighbourhoods. In 2012, Merlijn van Hulst was one of the organizers of the 7th conference for Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) which took place in Tilburg (300+ participants). At the moment his focus is on the police force and people who make a difference. He also acts as the research coordinator of the Department of Politics and Public Administration and he is part of the management team of that department.


  • Ethnographic Research
  • Police
  • Framing
  • Narrative Analysis
  • Cities

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Research Output

From what to where: A setting-sensitive approach to organizational storytelling

van Hulst, M. & Ybema, S., Mar 2020, In : Organization Studies. 41, 3, p. 365– 391 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access
  • Qualitative research in political science, Volume IV: Interpretive and constructivist approaches

    Blatter, J., Haverland, M. & van Hulst, M. (ed.), 2016, London: Sage Publications.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook editing

    Five ways to make a difference: Perceptions of practitioners working in urban neighborhoods

    Durose, C., van Hulst, M., Jeffares, S., Escobar, O., Agger, A. & de Graaf, L., Jul 2016, In : Public Administration Review. 76, 4, p. 576-586 11 p., DOI: 10.1111/puar.12502.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  • From Policy “Frames” to “Framing”: Theorizing a More Dynamic, Political Approach

    van Hulst, M. J. & Yanow, D., 2016, In : The American Review of Public Administration. 46, 1, p. 92–112

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Storytelling, a model of and a model for planning

    van Hulst, M. J., 2012, In : Planning Theory. 11, 3, p. 299-318 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Open Access


    • 1 Editorial activity
    • 1 Membership of board
    • 1 Membership of committee

    ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat (External organisation)

    Merlijn van Hulst (Chair)
    2019 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of committeeProfessional

    Het tijdschrift voor de politie (Journal)

    Merlijn van Hulst (Editorial board member)
    2019 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityProfessional

    Local Government Studies (External organisation)

    Merlijn van Hulst (Member)
    2015 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of boardScientific


    Multi Level democracy

    Karsten, N., Cachet, A., Schaap, L., Metze, T. A. P., Levelt, M., Hendriks, F., Boluijt, B., Frankowski, A., Geurtz, J. C. H. C., van Ostaaijen, J., Salet, W., van den Dool, L. T., Lupi, T., Boogers, M. J. G. J. A., van Hoorn, E., van Hulst, M., de Graaf, L., Bodd, J., van Zuydam, S., Daemen, H. H. F. M., Gianoli, A., Coulson, A., Ringeling, A. B., Aardema, H., Korsten, A. F. A., van de Wijdeven, T. M. F., Oude Vrielink, M. J., Drosterij, G., Ruano de La Fuente, J. M., Zouridis, S., Michels, A. M. B., Iancu, D., Klimovsky, D., Pinteric, U., Voerman, G., van Hulst, M., Verheul, W. J., Schulz, J. M., van Twist, M. J. W., Hendrikx, P. M. A., Verheul, J., Ensberg, D., Derksen, W., van den Brand, T., Verheul, J., van den Brink, G. & van der Pennen, A. W.

    1/01/09 → …

    Project: Research project

    Public private governance

    van den Brink, G., van Hulst, M., de Graaf, L., van der Pennen, T., Hendrikx, P. M. A., van Montfort, C., Metze, T. A. P., Ketelaars, S., Penning, L., Oude Vrielink, M. J., Bokhorst, M., de Koning, P., Peij, S., van den Dool, L. T., Karré, P. M., van Twist, M. J. W., Boogers, M. J. G. J. A., van de Wijdeven, T. M. F., van der Krieken, K., Zouridis, S., Wesseling, H., Bokhorst, A. M., Peeters, R. & Drosterij, G.

    1/01/09 → …

    Project: Research project