Dijkstra, H (Hylke)

Prof. Dr. Hylke Dijkstra is Full Professor of International Security and Cooperation (Hoogleraar in Internationale Veiligheid en Samenwerking) at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. He is an expert in global governance, multilateralism and international organizations. He studies how increasing geopolitics and the deteriorating relations between states affect prospects for international cooperation.

Hylke Dijkstra is the Principal Investigator of an ERC research project on the decline and death of international organizations. He is also the Project Coordinator of the Horizon project ENSURED on how the EU and its members can transform global governance. At Maastricht, he serves as the Director of the Research Programme Politics and Culture in Europe.

Hylke Dijkstra is a member of the Standing Committee on European Integration of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken). He was previously Programme Director of the MA in European Studies, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Contemporary Security Policy, and member of the Board of the Dutch Political Science Association, the Advisory Council of the Netherlands Institute of Governance, and the Steering Committee of the OSCE Network of Academic Institutions.

Hylke Dijkstra holds a PhD in Political Science (cum laude) from Maastricht. He read Contemporary European Studies (MPhil) in Cambridge. He previously worked as a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Oxford, where he was also affiliated to Nuffield College. 

Hylke Dijkstra has published extensively on international organizations, including the European Union, NATO and the United Nations, in Cooperation and Conflict, European Journal of International RelationsGlobal Governance, Global PolicyInternational Peacekeeping, Journal of Common Market StudiesJournal of European IntegrationJournal of European Public Policy and The Review of International Organizations. He is author of International Organization (with Rittberger/Zangl/Kruck) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), International Organizations and Military Affairs (Routledge, 2016) and Policy-Making in EU Security and Defense (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Hylke Dijkstra is the winner of the 2008 prize for best article in European Foreign Affairs Review for scholars under the age of thirty-five. For his dissertation, he received the Otto von der Gablentz Academic Prize and the G.A. Van Poelje Prize.

Career History

Professional Experience

  • Full Professor in International Security and Cooperation (Hoogleraar) (2023-date)
  • Associate Professor, Maastricht University (2019-2023)
  • Assistant Professor, Maastricht University (2012-2019; tenure since 2015)
  • Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Oxford (2012-2014)
  • Non-stipendiary Research Fellow, Nuffield College (2012-2014)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Maastricht University (2011-2012)


  • PhD in Political Science, Maastricht University, cum laude (2007-2011)
  • MPhil in Contemporary European Studies, University of Cambridge (2006-2007)
  • BA in European Studies, Maastricht University (2002-2005)
  • BSc in International Economics, Maastricht University (2001-2005)

Honours and Awards

  • G.A. van Poelje Annual Prize for best dissertation in Public Administration (2013)
  • Otto van der Gablentz Academic Prize for best dissertation on European integration (2012)
  • Annual prize for best article published in the European Foreign Affairs Review by a scholar under the age of thirty-five (2009) 

Major research grants

  • Co-applicant, EU Horizon Europe, REUNIR (2024-2026)
  • Project Coordinator, EU Horizon Europe, ENSURED (2023-2026)
  • Co-applicant, EU Horizon 2020, Europe in a changing world, JOINT (2021-2024)
  • Principal Investigator, ERC Starting Grant (2019-2023)
  • Co-applicant, EU Horizon 2020 Secure Societies, EU-CIVCAP (2015-2018)
  • Applicant, EU FP7, Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (2012-2014)

Professional activities

  • Director of the Research Programme "Politics and Culture in Europe" (2020-date).
  • Member, Advisory Council on International Affairs (2019-2027).
  • Member, Advisory Council of the Netherlands Institute of Governance (2021-2023).
  • Member, Steering Committee of OSCE Network (2022-2023).
  • Member, CDA Commissie Buitenland (2022-2026).
  • Board member, Dutch Political Science Association (2019-2023).
  • Editor-in-Chief, Contemporary Security Policy (2016-2023).
  • Board member, Maastricht University Brussels Campus (2017-2021).
  • Director of the MA in European Studies (2018-2020).
  • Member of core planning team developing a new BA in Digital Society (2017-2019).
  • Admissions panel, MPhil in Politics, University of Oxford (2013)
  • Campus Brussels Steering Group FASoS (2010-2011).
  • Co-founder and co-chair of the European Studies alumni platform Brussels (2007-2010).
  • PhD Representative for the Netherlands Institute of Government (2008-2010).
  • Faculty Advisor EuroSim (2008-2010).

Research Profile

Prof. Dr. Hylke Dijkstra is an expert in international organisations as well as EU foreign policy. 

His research on international organisations focuses on the current crisis of liberal international order. He leads a large research project, funded by the European Research Council (2019-2023) which develops an institutional theory on the decline and death of international organisations. In addition, he leads the ENSURED project with 14 partners, funded by Horizon Europe, on how the EU can transform global governance. He is also the co-author of a leading textbook International Organization with a contract for a fourth/fifth edition with Bloomsbury. Hylke Dijkstra is mostly interested in the informal processes that take place behind-the-scenes including in the secretariats of international organisations.

His research on EU foreign and security policy is mostly concerned with how the EU member states collectively formulate and implement foreign policy, including through the EU institutions such as the European External Action Service and the European Commission. Hylke Dijkstra has acted as work-package leader in two recent Horizon 2020 projects on EU foreign and security policy (JOINT, 2021-2024; EU-CIVCAP, 2015-2018). 

Research Projects

Transforming and Defending Multilateralism: European Union Support for more Robust, Effective and Democratic Global Governance (ENSURED) (Horizon) (2023-2026)

The European Union (EU) and its members have long been key supporters of global governance. Yet the rules-based international order and multilateralism are widely believed to be in crisis. The emerging powers and populist forces have contested and put demands on global governance often resulting in a gridlock of international cooperation. The Russian war in Ukraine has further undermind the ability to address global problems. ENSURED, a project with 14 partners from the EU, US and the BRICS, studies how the EU and its members, in a contested world in transition, can transform and defend global governance to make it more robust, effective and democratic.  

Understanding and Strengthening EU Foreign and Security Policy in a Complex and Contested World (JOINT) (H2020) (2021-2024)

Challenges to EU foreign and security policy have been mounting in recent years. Systemic shifts such as the dwindling global engagement of the United States and the growing assertiveness of Russia and China hamper the ability of the EU and its member states to shape multilateral rules and compel them to rethink their role along new patterns of multipolar interactions. The collapse or severe weakening of state authority and governance in the EU’s neighbourhood and beyond create interconnected challenges extending into policy areas outside the traditional remit of foreign and security policy. Meanwhile, the emergence of nationalist forces often espousing Eurosceptic views complicates efforts to reach intra-EU consensus on international security matters.

Against this backdrop, JOINT, an interdisciplinary research project, combining research with public opinion analysis, innovative policymaker engagement and proactive public outreach, addresses the question: How to make EU foreign and security policy governance structures more joined-up and sustainable in a rapidly changing and contested international environment? 

Website: https://www.jointproject.eu

Who gets to live forever? Toward an Institutional Theory on the Decline and Death of International Organisations (ERC) (2019-2023)

Many international organisations (IOs) are under significant pressure. The World Health Organization was heavily criticized over its handling of the Ebola outbreak. The United States has not contributed to the UNESCO budget since 2011 and plans to quit in 2018. The United Kingdom is negotiating its exit from the  EU and Burundi left the International Criminal Court. The ultimate way for states to show their discontent is to disband IOs: no less than a third of the IOs, created between 1905 and 2005, has formally ceased to exist. While academics have analysed how IOs are designed and develop, we know virtually nothing about decline and death. This project addresses therefore the question why do IOs decline or die?

Website: http://www.nestior.eu

Preventing and Responding to Conflict: Developing EU Civilian Capabilities for a Sustainable Peace (EU-CIVCAP) (H2020) (2015-2018)

The European Union (EU) regularly sends policemen, rule of law experts, and monitors on civilian missions to other countries in order to prevent and respond to conflict. Among the 20+ civilian missions are recent deployments to Congo, Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine. This research project analyses the capabilities which these policemen, rule of law experts and monitors need to properly carry out their functions. These capabilities range from armoured vehicles, to training and communcation systems. In addition to carrying out research, the project also has a strong dissemination component to help EU officials in improving civilian capabilities.

This large-scale project, funded under Horizon 2020 Secure Societies, is coordinated by the University of Bristol and contains ten universities, think tanks and EU agencies from across Europe. Researchers at Maastricht University focus on the EU civilian capabilities needed to respond to crises in comparison to other international organisations such as the UN and OSCE. They also analyse interactions between the EU, UN and OSCE in terms of civilian capabilities.

Website: https://eu-civcap.net

Beyond Sovereignty: Delegation and Agency in International Security (Marie Curie) (FP7) (2012-2014)

The United Nations (UN), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) currently have a record number of 250,000 troops deployed – up from 11,000 in 1989 and 90,000 in 2002. From Afghanistan to Congo, Haiti and Kosovo, these soldiers monitor inter-state agreements, provide stability and even fight insurgency. They oftentimes perform their duties in difficult environments. In their day-to-day operations, they are supported by a plethora of international secretariats in Brussels and New York employing thousands of civil servants. These secretariats play a vital role in the success or failure of military operations.

This project investigated why sovereign states delegate such important functions to international secretariats in international security. It also analysed under which conditions international secretariats exert influence in policy-making. The project was based at the University of Oxford and funded by the FP7 Marie Curie IEF Programme of the European Union.



1) V. Rittberger, B. Zangl, A. Kruck, and H. Dijkstra (2019), International Organization, third edition, London: Bloomsbury.

2) H. Dijkstra (2016), International Organizations and Military Affairs, London: Routledge.

3) H. Dijkstra (2013), Policy-Making in EU Security and Defense: An Institutional Perspective, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Top-5 journal articles

1) L. Schuette and H. Dijkstra, ‘The show must go on: The EU’s quest to sustain multilateral institutions since 2016’, Journal of Common Market Studies, Advance online publication. [ERC project]

2) M. Debre and H. Dijkstra (2021), 'Institutional design for a post-liberal order: Why some international organizations live longer than others', European Journal of International Relations, 27(1), pp. 311-339. [ERC project]

3) H. Dijkstra, P. Petrov, and E. Mahr (2019), 'Learning to deploy civilian capabilities: how the United Nations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and European Union have changed their crisis management institutions', Cooperation and Conflict, 54(4), pp. 524–543. [Horizon CIVCAP project]

4) H. Dijkstra (2015), 'Shadow Bureaucracies and the Unilateral Control of International Secretariats: Insights from UN Peacekeeping', The Review of International Organizations 10(1), pp. 23-41. [Marie Curie project]

5) H. Dijkstra (2010), 'Explaining variation in the role of the EU Council Secretariat in first and second pillar policy-making', Journal of European Public Policy 17(4), pp. 527-544. [PhD]

All publications



Programme director

  • MA in European Studies (2018-2020)

Course coordination

  • Europe and the World, RMES (2015-2018)
  • Qualitative interviewing, RMES (2016-2018)
  • Negotiations Skills, BA-2 (2014, 2015)

Courses and skills training

  • Qualitative interviewing, RMES (2016-2018)
  • Europe and the World, RMES (spring 2015, fall 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • International Relations, BA-2 (2015)
  • MARBLE Honours Seminar 'Emerging Powers and Global Governance', BA-3 (2015, 2016)
  • Negotiations Skills, BA-2 (2007, 2014, 2015)
  • Research and Writing, BA-1 (2007, 2014)
  • MARBLE Honours Seminar 'Who Speaks for Europe?', BA-3 (2010-2012)
  • European Policy Process Skills, MA (2011)
  • External Relations of the European Union, BA-3 (2008-2010)
  • European History, BA-1 (2007)

Undergraduate/graduate theses

  • Thesis supervision, PhD (2015-date)
  • Thesis supervision, MA (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015-date)
  • Thesis supervision, BA-3 (2008-2012, 2015-date)
  • Thesis supervision, BA-2 (2009, 2011, 2012) 
  • Thesis supervision, MPhil Oxford (2012-2014)

Other teaching

  • Internships (2015)
  • Mentoring (2014)

Work for third parties

  • Member of the Committee on European Integration at Advisory Council on International Affairs
  • Lid van de Commissie Buitenland at Christen-Democratisch Appèl
  • Academic friend at European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Additional roles & tasks

Full Professor of International Security and Cooperation