Ton Wilthagen
  • Warandelaan 2, Montesquieu Building, room M 420

    5037 AB Tilburg


1994 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My expertise relates to labour markets, labour market and employment policy, labour relatiions, labour law and social security: national, international as well as regional. I am specifically interested in the relationship between on the one hand labour market dynamism and flexibilization and social cohesion, inclusion, protection and (new) securities on the other. Is a labour market that is both dynamic and inclusive possible at all? What are sustainable labour market policies? One of the key concepts that I developed from this perspective is "flexicurity". Regarding dynamisim I also have an interest in how new technologies, such as robotization, influence the labour market and work. Besides research and education (among other things in the Master Labour Law and Employment Relations and the Research Master in Law Tilburg/Leuven) I am stronly engaged in generating societal impact from knowledge and science, as co-leader of the Impact Programme of Tilburg University.


 Current professional position

Professor Ton Wilthagen holds a chair in Institutional and legal aspects of the labour market at Tilburg University, Faculty of Law, the Netherlands. He is also co-leader of Tilburg University's Impact Programme ( Recently (2015-2017) Wilthagen served as Vice-dean of Research at Tilburg University.

Membership of professional bodies

Wilthagen is, among other things, a member of the International Board of the British Journal for Industrial Relations. He is a member of several academic networks and bodies, including the European Flexicurity Network, the network on Reconciling Work and Welfare.

Membership of European expert groups

Wilthagen was first to academically develop the concept of flexicurity. He was a member and the rapporteur of the European Expert Group on Flexicurity, established by the European Commission. He was also a member of the EU working group on self-employment and micro businesses and of the Working Group on the Reconciliation of Labour Market Flexibilization and Social Cohesion, established by the Council of Europe and hasacted as an expert to the European Parliament on the modernization of labour law. He has also served as an academic expert giving advice on flexicurity, labour market policy and labour law to many governments, social partner organisations and international bodies such as the International Labour Organisation.Wilthagen was a member of the Working Group on Social Innovation of the Socio-Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) and the Committee for the Future of young people in the labour market of the same Council. Currently Wilthagen is the Chair of the European Policy Centre Taskforce on Youth Unemployment.

During the years 2004-2007 Wilthagen headed a research programme on flexicurity, carried out by Tilburg University, Amsterdam University and Aalborg University (Denmark) and funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research N.W.O. From 2009 to 2012 Wilthagen coordinated large research programme on Employment Security (werkzekerheid), funded by the GAK Foudation (Instituut GAK).

Previously, Wilthagen was affiliated with OSA 0 the Institute for Labour Studies in Tilburg, the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, the latter two at Amsterdam University, the Netherlands. He has been a frequent visiting researcher at the Social Science Centre Berlin (WZB), where the transitional labour market approached was developed by prof. Guenther Schmid.

Wilthagen's research interest is in labour market and employment regulation, labour law, industrial relations and a variety of labour market issues. His main focus lies on the themes of flexicurity, transitional labour markets and life-course approaches on which has published extensively.


I teach within the Master Labour Law and Employment Relations and the course "An Interdisciplinar Approach to Law" within the Research Master in Law Tilburg-Leuven. I also supervise master thesises and give several guest lectures and courses, also outside Tilburg University.

Current courses

Click here for my courses.

External positions

City professor (Gemeente Tilburg)

1 Jun 2022 → …

Figure head Route Resilient Societies (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda)

1 Jan 2020 → …


  • Work Participation
  • Social Politics
  • Labour Law
  • Sociology
  • Social Exclusion
  • Sociology Of Law
  • Industrial/Labour Relations
  • Flexibility
  • Working Conditions
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Social Security
  • Reflexivity
  • Regional Economic Development
  • Innovation
  • Mobility Of Labour
  • Self-Employment
  • Labour Issues
  • Labour Market Policy
  • Europe
  • European Politics
  • Robotics
  • Regional Economics
  • Labour Market
  • Flexicurity
  • Regional Governance


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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