Jan Pieter Beetz (he/him) is Assistant Professor in Political Theory and European Integration at the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG). 


Jan Pieter is fascinated by the political authority of liberal democracies and the contemporary challenges to their legitimacy, in particular European integration and the rise of the administrative state. His philosophical research reflects and draws upon cutting-edge debates and insights in the human sciences, in particular EU-studies, political science and governance.


His research revolves primarily around three themes:

  1. Realist philosophies of political authority. Jan Pieter draws insights from realist philosophy for theorizing political authority. He has a particular interest in the realist philosophy of Bernard Williams; theories of political authority and democratic legitimacy; and practice-dependent approaches in political philosophy.
  2. Political theories of the European Union. Drawing on practice-dependent methods, Jan Pieter studies the normative and conceptual dimensions of the EU’s democratic deficits. His research focuses on alternative theories of democracy beyond the state and their application to the EU;  and legitimate EU responses to democratic backsliding in member states.
  3. Democratic theories of the administrative state. Taking a realist perspective, Jan Pieter aims to determine  the legitimate authority of public administrations in contemporary democracies. His main interests are the possibility of administrative ethics, democratic legitimacy of international public administrations; and justifications for administrative resistance against undemocratic politicians.


Jan Pieter was fortunate to be awarded several prizes and grants, such as the Unilever Research Prize, Exeter Ph.D. bursary and IOS seed money. He has published articles in leading journals, such as Journal of European Public Policy, Political Studies, European Law Journal and Journal of European Integration. Jan Pieter is currently co-chair of the administrative ethics research colloquium of the Netherlands Institute of Governance (NIG).


Here at Utrecht University, Jan Pieter is a core professor in the new BA Program Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) and USG teacher in European politics and governance. In these roles, he teaches courses on power dynamics in modern governance, challenges to contemporary democracies, EU politics and governance, and interdisciplinary research methods in PPE. He also has the pleasure to supervise master theses in European governance. Jan Pieter has cemented his experiences in teaching philosophy, political science and public administration at several European universities with official teaching accreditations. He has recently been awarded several bursaries to both develop interdisciplinary PPE courses and evaluate their effectiveness.  


Jan Pieter believes that a philosopher should contribute to public debates on ethical issues, therefore he actively seeks to engage with a broader public. He regularly writes columns in the civil servants’ magazine Publiek Denken, op-eds for national newspapers (NRC) and blog posts for various national and international outlets. He has organized public events, such as movie-with-discussion on EU immigration policy, as well as being invited to participate in public events, such as the Philosophical Café.


Jan Pieter studied public administration and philosophy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and University of Sydney. He holds a Ph.D. in political theory from the University of Exeter. During his PhD, he was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley and University of Amsterdam. Before joining Utrecht University in 2018, he held academic positions at Leiden University (public administration), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (ACCESS EUROPE postdoctoral scholar), Radboud University Nijmegen (political science and theory), and Leiden University (philosophy).


Photograph by Ivar Pel