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The research

Marieke Hopman


20 mei 2019

E-book “Looking at Law Through Children’s Eyes”

20 mei 2019 | By | One Comment

Dear all,

I’m very happy to hereby freely publish the e-book of my PhD research “Looking at Law Through Children’s Eyes”, free and available for all! Below on the left you find the e-book, on the right the PDF. The e-book was made possible thanks to the sponsoring and support of  printing company

Please note that this research was made possible through the financial support of the Maastricht University Children’s Rights Research Fund. To enable future children’s rights research, especially impactful research that involves child participation, we need to raise further funding. So while the book is presented to you for free, please consider making a donation to the Children’s Rights Research Fund.














Marieke Hopman


26 februari 2019

Update: The PhD & everything after

26 februari 2019 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

It has been a while since I last updated you on the children’s rights research project, for which I apologize. This is due mostly due to the fact that I have been very busy finishing up the PhD. Last week, I finally sent it to the reading committee . The professors in this committee will over the coming weeks read the thesis and together decide whether or not they think it is good enough to award a PhD degree. If they do, I will have to publicly defend the PhD on 9 May 2019 (provisional date).

If you’re interested, here you can find the PhD’s table of contents, and here you can find the overview of social impact activities of the complete PhD project.

What else happened? I would say two major events deserve an update. First, intern Ambra Borne went to Geneva to tell the delegations of several countries about our research on the child’s right to nationality in the TRNC. You can read

at the UN in Geneva

at the UN in Geneva

about her experiences here. During this visit, Ambra met with many country delegations who she told about the rights of children in the TRNC, hoping that in January they would ask questions about this situation during the review of Cyprus. And during the January UPR session we found out that this had been very effective! Several countries recommended Cyprus to ensure non-discriminatory application of Cypriot nationality law, and some specifically referred to the rights of children.

A second major event is the following: as you may remember, last summer I decided to take some time to write a proposal for NWO funding for a four year research project. Last December we learned that this proposal, about the development rights of children living in conflict situations, has been awarded a grant!! In total, the sum for the project is € 788.666. In terms of theory and methodology, this project will be a follow-up of the PhD research, whereby in order to understand children’s rights violations, an understanding of all norms involved (legal & non-legal) will become part of the picture (see images below). Through this framework, children’s development rights will be researched in four different countries, together with several NGO partners and local research.


theoretical partThese changes of course mean that my mission of researching children’s rights will continue, while it will also change shape and form. I am hoping for more people to become involved, so that the project can grow, slowly, and more people will be educated and learn to research children’s rights by looking at law through children’s eyes. I believe there is a lot we can do in the world and it has only just started!

Some practical changes, for example in terms of finances as well as working with partners and other researchers, will have to take shape over the coming months. I promise to update you again soon. But first, I am going to enjoy my upcoming HOLIDAY :-)!

Marieke Hopman


7 maart 2018

Update: February

7 maart 2018 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

As promised, I intend to write a monthly update on the ups & downs of the research. So here’s February’s report! Some general developments: the Marble project ended and the Premium project, a new student research project on children’s rights, began. The Premium students will be doing research on access to education for undocumented migrants in the Netherlands. I am mentoring this research project, which I initiated together with NGO Defence for Children.

Other than that, February was mostly a month of writing academic articles (I wrote one completely and started two others), and of starting collaborations around sharing the research on the child’s right to nationality.


Premium students meeting Marble students for lunch, to share experiences of doing research on children’s rights


  • Spending a week in Denmark, having time to completely focus on writing an article. Sent it to a journal at the end of the month. Title: “Wait, What are We Fighting About? – Kelsen, Ehrlich and the Reconciliation of Normative Jurisprudence and Sociology of Law”
  • Started collaborative work on two other articles; one with Catalina Goanta on legal orders and blockchain, one with Dorris deVocht on the child/adolescent distinction in Dutch criminal law. So inspiring to work together! (Also I need publications to be able to continue the research I want to do after PhD…)
  • Had a very successful PhD event, “PhD stories” organized by my colleague Madalena Narciso. We came up with this idea because we wanted more senior researchers to share their struggles, ups & downs during their PhD.
  • Shared the research on child’s right to nationality at Tilburg University and ISS in the Hague. They came up with great ideas, feedback, we established future cooperation, and so lovely to see both Laura van Waas (TiU) and Jan Pronk (ISS) again!
  • Made good process on the proposal for a “Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research”. Added a few new people to the working group – which is definitely looking like an A-team now :-)!   

  • The video of my Pecha Kucha talk “Going Back, Sharing Research, Making a Difference?” was published online. Not sure if I’m happy with the result – looks like I wanted to say too much in too little time.
  • Premium project had a difficult start; one student dropped out before we first met due to personal issues, another fainted several times during our first meeting and had to be picked up by an ambulance. The difficulty is that these talented students do the project in addition to their normal courses, for which they also want to get the best grades. So it gives them a lot of stress. I told the people who selected the students, that maybe they should take mental health in consideration more when selecting. They told me as a mentor I should give them more trust…
    Selfie with Prof. Dr. Jan Pronk (also former minister / UN special servant)

    Selfie with Prof. Dr. Jan Pronk (also former minister / UN special servant)

Clearly, February was a good month!

Marieke Hopman


22 februari 2018

Update: January’s ups & downs

22 februari 2018 | By | No Comments

Dear all! I just wanted to write a quick message because I have not been sharing much lately. In my last message on New Year’s Eve, I told you about my plans for 2018. This was right before, while cooking dinner, I seriously cut my left middle finger, to an extent that I had to go to the hospital and even today I am still typing with 9 fingers. (Not that the finger had to come off! – I just lost feeling in the tip which makes typing quite difficult..). Also, I realized that I have a tendency of sharing only the good news around the research. Of course, especially since most of you also financially supported the research, I want to show you that your money is being put to good use! But in the interest of sharing, I would like to share both successes and failures more. So here’s January’s ups and downs:


  • teaching philosophy of law at the university of Hasselt for the first time
  • writing a first draft of a plan for a “society-engaged research platform” and finding others who are interested
  • rounding off the Marble project with all 5 students in a really positive way
  • getting more of a hang of my new role as PhD representative
  • sent in an article on legal orders in CAR and did not get a negative reply back (yet) 

  • scheduled three media interviews about the case study in CAR, did two and so far only one seems to get published..
  • had a difficult work conflict, that kept me up quite a few nights and made me feel very small
  • started teaching logic to MA lawyers, also for the first time – it seems to be going well, but I do feel quite insecure about it..
  • starting to feel stressed out about whether or not I will be able to stay in academia after the PhD

All in all, more ups then down! More soon. If you are not already, please follow the project’s facebook page for regular, shorter updates..!

Marieke Hopman


31 december 2017

2017-2018: looking forward & looking back

31 december 2017 | By | One Comment

Dear all,

A few hours before the new year kicks off is a great time to look both back and ahead. What happened for the children’s rights research project in 2017, and what should be the next step?

In short, 2017 was the year of trying to both creating a place at Maastricht University for children’s rights, as well as travelling for field research and sharing research results.
Some of the highlights:

  • Finished the research in the Central African Republic, published a research report ovoorkant rapport engelsthe child’s right to education in the CAR and traveled back to share these results
  • Gave a key note lecture for about 100 employees of the municipality of Amsterdam who are starting a program to get all children into schools
  • Gave lectures for UNICEF, African Study Center, SOAS London (among others) and taught a masterclass about children’s rights
  • Published the academic article “Lipstick Law
  • Created, together with artist Daan Draait and Maastricht University, a theater play about the case study in CAR
  • Recruited a team of students with whom, in 6 months, we conducted two field researches on the child’s right to nationality and hosted a successful crowdfunding campaign (if you still want to contribute, you can do so here!)
  • Won € 3000 in the action research competition

For 2018, the first plan is to write the PhD book and have a first draft ready at the end of the year. But of course that is not nearly enough. Ideally, I also want to:

  • Teach 3 university courses (to raise money and teach children’s rights and critical thinking)
  • Perform the CAR theater play in different schools and discuss the case with the students
    With the student team and guest speaker at the kick-off of the crowdfunding campaign

    With the student team and guest speaker at the kick-off of the crowdfunding campaign

  • Be a good mentor for a successful PREMIUM project on children’s rights to education in the Netherlands, in cooperation with NGO Defence for Children
  • Publish a research report and travel back to share the results of the third case study
  • Raise € 20.000 for the children’s rights research fund
  • Publish at least one academic article
  • Acquire my University Teacher Qualification
  • Start preparing the way for a continuation of children’s rights research after the PhD…

So those are (some of the) plans for 2018. But for now, I want to thank you for making all this work possible, and mostly I want to wish you all a very happy and ambitious New Year!!
– Marieke