Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology
VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Social Sciences

Are you an ambitious early career anthropologist? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


FTE:         0.8

Job description

The department of Social and Cultural Anthropology is looking for an assistant-professor (universitair docent) (per 1 October 2020) with a passion for Anthropology. Our ideal candidate is strong in ethnographic research and loves teaching in an international classroom. You have a track record of international publications, an appealing research agenda and the potential to acquire external research funding. You are able to inspire students to get the most out of themselves and you can explain to them to apply anthropology in their future careers. You have experience with, or clear ideas about online teaching, because we expect that the Corona crisis will have a lasting effect on our teaching. You will make an effort to disseminate your knowledge outside academia as well, and play a role in the co-supervision of PhD students. 70% of your time will be devoted to teaching (and admin) and 30% to research, but for the first two years of your contract, your teaching load will be reduced to 50% to give you extra time for writing research grant applications, while developing your research profile.

The position is open to a broad range of expertise in social and cultural anthropology, but given the focus of our departmental research programme MOBB (Mobilities, Belonging, Beliefs; Confronting Global Inequalities and Insecurities), the Institute for Societal Resilience of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and the content of our Bachelor and Master programmes we would particularly welcome candidates with expertise in mobility, religion, diversity, and law. Given the research interests of our students, it would be ideal if the candidate has research experience in Africa and/or the Netherlands. We seek a colleague who wants to become part of the academic life of a vibrant department.

Your duties

  • teach and develop various courses in the Bachelor and Master programs
  • supervise bachelor’s and master’s theses; co-supervise PhD theses
  • develop innovative research, both independently and in a team
  • disseminate research findings in international peer-reviewed journals and where possible disseminate knowledge to a wider public
  • write competitive applications for external research grants
  • participate actively and positively in the life of the department, including taking your fair share in the usual university chores


A suitable candidate has:

Essential requirements

  • a PhD in social or cultural anthropology or a PhD in another relevant discipline with  demonstrable expertise in anthropology
  • inspiring ideas about innovative research and an excellent, international publication record set against years of experience
  • demonstrable skills in writing competitive research grant applications
  • a basic teaching qualification (BKO in Dutch or an international equivalent)
  • experience with teaching in a way that it is appreciated by students too
  • a good reputation as a team worker
  • proficiency in both English and Dutch, or is willing to learn Dutch in two years

Desirable requirements

  • expertise in the anthropology of mobility, religion, diversity, or law.
  • fieldwork experience in Africa and/or the Netherlands

What are we offering?

A 0.8 fte challenging position in a socially engaged organization. The remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 3,637 (scale 11) and a maximum € 4,978 (scale 11), for a full-time appointment and depending on your education and experience. The salary is based on the university job ranking system. The initial contract will be for 50 months.

If the tenure track as Assistant Professor 2 is successfully completed within 50 months, the candidate is promoted to a permanent position as Assistant Professor 1. In the first two years the time devoted to teaching and research is 50/50.
Foreign candidates may be entitled to a 30% tax break, upon approval of the Dutch tax agency.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expense
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Social Sciences

The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.

About the department

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology is a vibrant and internationally oriented department. We do research in virtually all continents of the world, and attract staff, PhD, Master, and Bachelor students from all over the world. English is the standard language of communication within the department. In 2018-2019 we introduced an international bachelor program which is attracting many extra students from both the Netherlands and abroad. Our Master program has been international from the start. Our students are engaged and motivated and the international students have added to the social and cultural diversity that is characteristic of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and especially important for anthropologists. In our research and teaching we combine sound academic knowledge with a strong drive for applying anthropology outside the ivory tower. The department is proud of and treasures its collegial atmosphere.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae including an overview of your teaching experience (courses, level, role), teaching evaluations as well as the contact details of two referees and a cover letter (including your views on teaching and plans for future research), at the latest July 7th, 2020.

Job interviews are planned between 13 and 17 July, via an online communication channel or at our office face to face. A second job interview will be scheduled in the week of 20-24 July. Please take this timeline into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Freek Colombijn
Position: Head of Department
Telephone: +31-20-5986739

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